Learn How to Play a String Instrument on Your Own

During uncertain times, it could be tempting to let practice take a back seat. But learning to play a string instrument can help to increase memory skills, teach perseverance, improve coordination and mental clarity, encourage responsibility and self-expression, and foster a sense of achievement — there are clear benefits to staying the course.

But anyone attempting to learn to play a string instrument right now could be experiencing some tough times. So to all of you at-home learners: we understand your dilemma, and we are here to help.

String Instrument Learning Resources

Get in touch with your current instructor and see if they are offering a modified form of learning. Trying to find a way to continue working virtually with your instructor could be best. You have likely already forged a good working relationship and have a certain level of comfort that can help with transitioning from in-person to remote learning. But if this just is not an option for you or them and they cannot recommend another instructor or organization, here are some viable alternatives:

  • Lessonface. Connects students with inspiring teachers for live online lessons and classes
  • ArtistsWorks. Provides anyone, anywhere, with affordable and interactive access to some of the world's best music teachers and thousands of online lessons.
  • UdemyConnects students the world over with top instructors and an astounding array of subject matter and class options.
  • Violin LabBlending the art and the science of violin playing to create a sequenced curriculum that builds on learners' knowledge.
  • StringPedagogy.com. Free online videos featuring instruction by renowned Indiana University Professor of Violin, Mimi Zweig.
  • StringPedagogyConnect.comA way to find and connect with violin instructors trained in Mimi Zweig's techniques.
  • Live Music TutorAn online and interactive platform to connect with music instructors from around the world.
  • Musika. Premiere, independent music teacher referral network for at-home learners.
  • TakeLessons. Bridging the gap between the music-learning student and the ideal teacher.

By now, you might have developed a personal schedule to keep you on track. But we all know that disruptions abound and it can be difficult to stay focused. One way to cope is to view the upset to daily life as an opportunity to flex some learning muscles you could have neglected. Beyond paid or virtual instruction, music-related topics like composition, music theory, and others can be additional avenues of learning to stimulate and excite your musician's mind.

Take advantage of your current circumstances to emerge a more well-rounded musician. The Great Courses is one key resource for this type of instruction. And if you're looking to learn from the best in the business about everything from film scoring to music production and performance, MasterClass has something for you. Reinforce what you already know about music theory and expand your knowledge with free, online content from MusicTheory.net. TEDEd is also a wonderful resource for music-themed learning to enhance and develop your knowledge base, along with free live streams spearheaded by Carnegie Hall's Weill Music Institute. LinkedIn Learning is yet another option, as are Berklee Institute's massive open online courses.

YouTube is also another unending source of information and inspiration, but beware: not every search result will yield high-quality help. So search for well-known instructors or your favorite musicians and composers and then organize favorite lessons or examples into a handy playlist. Facebook Groups are another option for music students and teachers to gather and share valuable information and resources. If you are looking for new music to try, The Mutopia Project offers thousands of pieces for free download. And to fine-tune your musical sense, EarMaster has developed music learning software for musicians of all stripes.

Keeping busy with your mind in the music will retain your connection to the space, the people, and the frame of mind you need to stay enthused about your craft. And remember: if the first one or two methods or instructors you try are not what you need to learn your best, you can always try another. Find what works for you and stick with it.

Realistic Music Notes

Whether you are new to learning an instrument or if you are continuing in a lifetime of instruction, distance learning can be tricky to master. So carve out a dedicated space that works best for your own learning style. Creating an atmosphere conducive to concentration and inspiration with everything you need close at hand is key. You might also need some gear to get started, such as a traditional or digital metronome or tuner, a music stand, and spare strings.

Warming up can also help you to prepare both your mind and body for a practice session, and having a focused goal can break otherwise repetitious work into smaller, more manageable pieces. Taking time to understand historical context and style can also help you to get the most out of each piece. Lastly, enjoy the process. Don't be afraid to write on your scores, give yourself a break if need be, and reward yourself for a practice session well done. If you focus on playing around with your instrument and not just learning to play, your craft will be all the better for it.