Guidance for Beginners

If you are a beginner (through Suzuki Book 1), start here

If you are just starting out, or have been playing for only a few years, use this guide to learn the fundamentals. These lessons will get you set up with good technique, practice skills, and a repertoire of beginner pieces and etudes!

If you’re not yet a member, click here to start your free trial! Your free trial is the best way to get to know the Peckins Studio Online. You’ll have free access to all the lessons in this beginner guide and more for two weeks, and you’ll see for yourself how these lessons can help you achieve your goals!

Beginner Plan: Follow These Steps


Getting Started: Position & Set-Up

Learning to hold the instrument correctly is vital. On the “Position & Set-Up” page, start with the lesson on posture, then watch the lessons on left hand position and bow hold. Take the time to master these lessons, and keep them in mind as you progress. Many future bad habits can be avoided by following this important advice - this is literally the foundation for your future success as a violinist!

Going Deeper: Playing with a Straight Bow

You will learn more advanced lessons later, but first master playing with a straight bow. Watch the lesson on playing with a straight bow, and practice it every day until it becomes second nature!

Essential Elements: A Popular Beginner’s Method Book

Essential Elements for Strings is often used in schools and group classes. If you are studying this book at school or in a group, you will benefit from the video demonstrations and explanations of selected, critical lessons. (You will need to purchase the book, Essential Elements for Strings Violin Book 1, separately.) . If you are not using this book in a group, we recommend you skip this category. You can always watch a few of these lessons just to see if you would like to add it to your studies, but you will find many of the same skills in Suzuki Book 1 and Kinsey Set 1.

Learn the Notes and Basic Playing: Scales

Scales teach many skills: note reading, intonation, sound quality, correct position, and more. On the “Scales” page, go through all seven lessons in the “Progression of Scale Studies from Beginner to Intermediate.” These lessons will teach you the music theory behind keys and key signatures, and will walk you through how to practice scales correctly. When you get to lessons four and five, be sure to print out the PDF to make flashcards and memorize the key signatures!

First Pieces: Suzuki Book 1

You should begin these lessons once you are comfortable holding the instrument and playing a few basic scales. These pieces are progressive, and should be practiced in order. Go through all 16 lessons, and always keep in mind the principles of beauty, correct position, and relaxation - the lessons will remind you of these things, and teach you many new skills, as you progress. You should start Kinsey Set 1 (below) around the same time you start Suzuki Book 1. (You will need to purchase the book, Suzuki Violin Book 1, separately.)

Technical Development: Kinsey Set 1

The 24 etudes in Kinsey Set 1 teach you much about note reading, rhythm, and technique. Go through the lessons in order, and print out the PDF’s to help you stay focused. Be especially attentive to the instructions about how to practice - practicing correctly saves time and leads to better results. You should work on these etudes at the same time as Suzuki Book 1. (You will need to purchase the book, Kinsey Elementary and Progressive Studies for Violin Set 1, separately.)

Always Keep in Mind: Practicing

Watch the lessons on slow practice, repetition, scales, and general advice. Learning to practice more efficiently and more effectively makes all the work you do in your pieces and etudes possible - these are the “tools of the trade,” and are important to master!

Keep Learning: Explore Technique

When you are ready, you can get a taste for shifting and vibrato by watching those beginner lessons.

Next Steps: Intermediate and Advanced Lessons

Once you have completed Kinsey Set 1, Suzuki Book 1, and all the scales/technique/practicing lessons above, give yourself a hearty congratulations! You have completed our beginner program and are now ready for more advanced lessons! By now, you have a good idea of how the sight works and all the more advanced lessons here. You have access to everything, so keep practicing and your Peckins Studio Online membership will grow with you!