Free Video Violin Lesson 5

  1. Thom
  2. February 18, 2008 2:13 pm

Before you begin!

Review Questions

1. Can you place your finger on and name each note on the D and A strings?
2. Are you playing all of your notes with the correct finger, or are you getting lazy and moving your fingers around? Pay attention to where you fingers go!
3. Are you practicing your bow hold/exercises?
4. What is an Octave?

Lesson 5

Hello and welcome to Violin Lesson #5! In the last lesson we introduced notes on the A string, some bow hand exercises, and asked you to figure out a few songs on your own. Today we will review one of those songs and begin learning some familiar tunes!

Part 1

Part 2

An easy way to figure out these songs when first starting out is to go through one by one and name the note names on beat. Whenever you hit a rest, you say rest.

| D D E E | F# D r F# | A A G F# | E r r r |

| E E F# F# | G E r E | A G F# E | F# r r r |

|A F# A F# | A F# r F# | A A G F# | E r r r |

|G E G E | G E r E | A G F# E | D r r r |

Next we do the same thing, but this time name the finger names:

| 0 0 1 1 | 2 0 r 2 | 0 0 3 2 | 1 r r r |

| 1 1 2 2 | 3 1 r 1 | 0 3 2 1 | 2 r r r |

| 0 2 0 2 | 0 2 r 2 | 0 0 3 2 | 1 r r r |

| 3 1 3 1 | 3 1 r 1 | 0 3 2 1 | 0 r r r |
Now we go ahead and play this. Remember to keep a finger down when you see a bracket! If you have been taking this on a week-by-week basis, you should be able to hold down a note and pluck it, allowing it to ring fully as an open string. If you cannot, this is something that needs to be worked on!

Do you remember when I told you that you need to learn your notes because they would soon hit a point where they are no longer written in? Well we have hit that point, so hopefully you have in fact been taking this week-by-week and learning your notes instead of just blazing through the lessons. I have here a quick little self-test you can fill out to see how well you know your notes.


Self-Test Answers (Check your self!)

Edit: Thank you to user nadia27oct for catching an error. Note 7 “D” should be played with the 3rd finger on the A string, not an open D!

If you do well then you can continue on. If you are having a lot of trouble, I suggest going back and reviewing lesson 3 and lesson 4. Make sure are you are playing through these that you are in fact watching the music and not your fingers! Make the mental connection from what you see on the page to what you do with your fingers.


  • Review Pages 4-13
    • Do you know your note names?
    • Are you watching the music or staring at your fingers?
  • Teach yourself #44, 45
  • Complete Self-Test
  • Review bow hold
  • Practice bow hold practice techniques:
    • Finger taps
    • Thumb flex
    • Rosin rap
    • Up Bow Upbow
    • Down Bow Downbow

Back to Lesson Index
Back to Lesson 4
Foward to Lesson 6


  1. Lyndsey says:
    Posted September 13, 2008 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

    Thank you so much for making these lessons available, they have helped me very much. I am learning on my own and coming along nicely, but I am having some trouble and would like to ask if you have any recommendations that could help me.

    I am having a great deal of trouble playing open strings when I have to leave my fingers on the string ( for example, leaving my fingers on the D string, while playing an open A, such as in the song “Dreidel” in the Essential Elements book). The A never plays the note the first time I pluck it, because my fingers on the D string are touching the A string. I get it play, but it slows me down a great deal when I move my hand over towards the G string, also it never sounds as nice as when my fingers aren’t touching the strings at all. I’m sure practise would make this a faster process, and maybe this is a problem all violin students face, however I was hoping you may be able to give me a tip or technique to do this more efficiently. At any rate, your lessons are very helpful and much appreciated.

  2. Hi Lyndsey!

    Keep working at it, it will take some time. You can revolve your arm and hand around the neck of by swinging your elbow to give yourself more of an angle over the strings. Also check that your fingers are rounded/curled and not flat on the string as demonstrated on Lesson 3.

    In the later lessons I will be talking more about moving with the left elbow to help your hand change between strings while playing.

    Thanks for the great question! Don’t be afraid to ask any more if you need to- the more questions asked on the site, the better it gets!

  3. Rebecca says:
    Posted January 14, 2009 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

    am I missing a part about rosin (sp?) and the bow — how tight should the hairs be? The center of my bow seems to pull a nice sound when pulled across the strings. However, near the top and bottom, no sound comes. What’s up with that? am i not pressing the bow down hard enough? too hard? not holding it just right? Not enough rosin on the bow? not tight enough?
    Thanks for helping!

    • Hello Rebeca!
      Yes, its definitely an issue of rosin. Rosin is actually a form of hardened sap, that when rubbed on the bow hairs allows the hairs to become sticky and PULL on the strings. Without rosin, the hairs will simply glide across the strings and not pull- thus not making any sound.

      Go ahead and work the dead areas on the bow with some more rosin. If you still aren’t getting any sound you may need to have it cleaned. A local violin shop can clean the bow for you, or there may be some articles on the web on how to clean your hairs. If you opt for the Do-it-Yourself, work at your own risk!

      Hope that helps!

  4. Asmodai says:
    Posted February 3, 2009 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

    Hi Thom! I really thank you for having these basic lessons on the net! I havent seen these helpful tutorials from other sites which is always NOT FREE. I really appreciate your lessons cuz you teach slowly but carefully and properly unlike other online violin lesson instructors! Umm.. I kinda have a request.. If only possible.. Can I ask you to play “Viva la Vida” by Coldplay in violin? Well, its just a request, its up to you if you wanna play it for me! Its ok since Ive been learning alot from you! Thank you very much, Thom. Doomo arigato gozaimasu! Godbless.. ^^


    • Hey Asmodai! I can’t promise anything but perhaps in the next month I can put up a video of that song 🙂

  5. KH says:
    Posted March 4, 2009 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    Hello Thom,
    I have been enjoying your online lessons very much. Thank you for doing them for free! I have a quick question. When I started the lesson today, none of the videos would show up. Would there be something up with my computer or stringsavvy? Thanks for your help!

    • Hello KH,

      They should be up and working now. I currently use Youtube to host my videos to keep bandwidth costs down, unfortunately that means sometimes they go down due to Youtube server maintenence, Though when the site gets bigger I’ll be hosting them on my own server. 😀

  6. Micha says:
    Posted May 12, 2009 at 7:32 am | Permalink

    Hi Thom! Thanks for all the tutor! And could you please email me the sheet music for Do-Re-Mi? And that’s all thanks!

  7. nadia27oct says:
    Posted June 2, 2010 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

    Hi, Thom.

    I find your lessons awesome!! Step-by-step instructions are exactly what I was looking for =)) I used to play piano until I seriously injured my right hand. So now my pinky doesn’t work at all. I am having problems holding the bow but I’m working on it.
    I can read notes and I noticed a mistake in self-test answers. I could be wrong but it looks like an upper D (note #7) should be played with a 3rd finger on A string.

    Thanks again for all your help,

    • Great catch on the self check! Thank you, I’m glad you’re getting benefit from the lessons! I’m actually going to be re-filming the beginning lessons and creating more beyond them starting end of this summer, keep an eye out!

  8. Grace says:
    Posted April 29, 2011 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    Hi Thom, it’s great to find your videos in the web, although they’re from 2008, still, they are helpful to a beginner. Where have you been in all my life ? Only joking. Right, I actually live in France, and people here treat playing violin as a rich people’s game. Everything related to violin is so pricey. All I can afford was to buy a second hand violin through the net and changed the four synthetic strings to the Warchal silver ones. Although the seller kept persuading me that the sound will be better once I change them, I found them actually worse. It’s kind of like a scratching sound when I play. Why’s that ? have you got any idea ? I had learnt violin for a short while 20 years’ ago and gave up after I broke a string. But I always call myself a beginner. And thanks a million for uploading these wonderful videos.

    • I apologize for such a late response. I’ve been a bit absent. Often times when putting on new strings your instrument may not sound as favorable as the old strings. This is usually due to the strings requiring a bit of a break-in period in which you need to play with them a bit before their sound opens up. I’ve noticed that Dominant brand strings, for instance, are very popular among students and performers, but sound tinny and cheap at first before they open up. Play on them for a bit and they’ll begin to show their true colors!

      I hope that helps

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