10 Easy, Popular Songs for Beginners to Learn on Violin
The violin is a beautiful and versatile instrument that can produce a wide range of sounds, tones, and emotions for both classical music and contemporary songs. For beginner violinists, learning to play popular songs is a fun and rewarding way to develop bowing techniques, master fingering, and connect with the instrument on a deeper level.
But most beginners face one problem — finding the right songs to learn. Most popular violin pieces, like Beethoven's "Violin Concerto" or Bach's "Partita in D minor," have complex arrangements and require advanced skills.
Fortunately, there are plenty of songs beginners can learn and enjoy playing on the violin. The ten songs below are some of the most popular and accessible for beginner violinists, with additional tips to help you learn them with confidence.
Advantages of learning beginner violin popular songs
As a beginner, it's natural to feel overwhelmed and intimidated by the violin and its complexity. You may have doubts about your abilities and question whether you will ever be able to master more challenging pieces. Learning easy violin songs helps you build confidence and develop skills that will serve as a strong foundation for learning more complex pieces in the future. Some benefits of playing easier songs on the violin include:
Motivation and enjoyment
Popular songs are often catchy, upbeat, and fun to play, which makes practicing feel less like a chore and more like a creative outlet. You’ll likely feel a deeper emotional connection to the music and gain more enjoyment from playing songs you know and love, especially when you’re new to the instrument. As you start to see progress, you'll want to keep going and learn even more songs.
Most popular songs have simple melodies that are easy to learn and play. When you choose the right violin sheet music for beginners, you won't need to spend weeks or months mastering a piece before you can play it. This quick gratification gives beginner violin students a sense of accomplishment and can be a powerful motivator. Achieving early wins encourages you to continue learning and developing more complex skills.
Technique development and ear training
Despite their simplicity, popular songs can teach fundamental violin techniques and help develop a good ear for music. They often have repetitive phrases and easy-to-follow rhythms that allow you to focus on mastering specific techniques, such as bow control, intonation, and vibrato.
Popular songs also make for excellent ear-training exercises since you are likely already familiar with the melodies and can easily identify when you're playing them correctly or incorrectly. With time, you'll learn to rely less on beginner violin sheet music and more on your ears, a crucial skill for playing in ensembles.
10 popular songs you can try on the violin
Choosing suitable songs for your skill level, interests, and goals is critical to your success as a beginner violin player. Finding a balance between songs that are too difficult or too easy is key to stay engaged and motivated as you enhance your skills.
1. “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” by Judy Garland
Judy Garland's iconic rendition of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" from The Wizard of Oz is a timeless classic with a gentle tempo, simple melody, and evocative lyrics that make it an ideal song for beginners. The song's slow pace helps you develop bow control and master rhythmic counting.
You can play the melody in first position, making it easier to focus on producing a beautiful tone without the complexity of fast finger work. You'll also have fun adding expressive touches, like dynamics and phrasing, to your playing.
2. “Another One Bites the Dust” by Queen
If you're a classic rock fan, you'll enjoy playing Queen's "Another One Bites the Dust" on the violin. The song's iconic bass riff translates well to the violin and is excellent for practicing and mastering consistent rhythm.
The song's repetitive rhythmic pattern is perfect for honing your bowing articulations and developing a steady hand. It's also a great tune for practicing shifting between the first and third positions, a vital skill for playing more advanced violin solo pieces.
3. “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz
You probably listened to Jason Mraz's "I'm Yours" countless times on the radio, but have you ever thought about playing it on the violin? The upbeat, catchy tune is perfect for practicing bowing techniques and string crossings.
Its cheerful rhythm and repetitive melody reinforce pitch recognition and finger placement, making it a great song to improve precision and accuracy. The song's structure also provides an excellent opportunity to practice smooth transitions between strings in a melodic context. This critical skill will come in handy when playing more complex pieces in the future.
4. “Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars
“Uptown Funk” has an energetic beat that helps beginners learn how to maintain a consistent tempo while playing on the violin. The song's catchy tune and repetitive rhythm are perfect for practicing staccato bowing, a technique that produces short, sharp notes often used in funk and pop music. You'll also have fun creating lively, rhythmic grooves that are foundational in many music styles, making this song an excellent choice for developing musical versatility.
5. “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds” by The Beatles
The Beatles’ classic song, “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds,” features flowing melody lines perfect for practicing legato bowing, which creates smooth and connected notes. Its dreamy and psychedelic soundscape encourages creative expression and interpretation, allowing you to add your unique touch to the piece.
As you play, you'll learn to control your bow speed and pressure, creating a variety of dynamic and expressive effects. You'll also have an opportunity to experiment with different bowing techniques, like spiccato (bouncing bow) and martelé (hammered strokes), to add texture and depth to your playing.
6. “Shape of You” by Ed Sheeran
Nothing lights up a party like Ed Sheeran's "Shape of You," and now you can bring that same energy to your violin lessons. Its catchy, repetitive beats are easy to learn and play, making it great for practicing timing and developing a solid sense of rhythm.
Since you’re likely already familiar with this song, trying to match its rhythm and pitch will strengthen your ear training skills and help you play more accurately by ear. It's also a fun song to improvise over, encouraging creativity and experimentation in your practice sessions.
7. “Lean on Me” by Bill Withers
"Lean on Me" has a soulful melody perfect for learning about phrasing and adding emotion to your violin playing. The song's dynamics range from soft to loud, providing a practical way to explore and apply dynamic markings to put your individual mark on this classic tune. You'll also learn to play with a steady, consistent rhythm while incorporating subtle variations in tone and volume to add interest and depth.
8. “Smooth Criminal” by Michael Jackson
“Smooth Criminal" is one of Michael Jackson's signature songs. On the violin, the song's fast pace and rhythmic drive offer a fun challenge for beginners ready to step up their tempo control.
You can practice string crossings and quick finger movements in an interesting and engaging way while trying to match the song's catchy beat. You will also learn about syncopation, a rhythmic pattern that accents off-beat notes, a technique often used in pop and rock music.
9. “Firework” by Katy Perry
Katy Perry's "Firework" is a powerful, uplifting, and infectious tune perfect for beginners looking to practice their shifting skills and different positions on the violin.
It has a wide range of pitches, challenging you to move your hand smoothly up and down the fingerboard while maintaining a consistent tone and intonation. Its powerful chorus will inspire you to play with more volume and confidence, helping you develop stronger bow control and projection.
10. “Despacito” by Luis Fonsi
Closing our list is "Despacito," the perfect tune to help beginner students learn about Latin music rhythms and work on speed control. The song starts with a moderate tempo and gradually increases in complexity, which is great practice for more advanced pieces.
Playing along to the song's catchy beat and trying to match its varying rhythms will improve timing, finger dexterity, and coordination, improving your overall musicality and versatility on the violin.
Tips for learning new songs as a beginner on the violin
Chances are, you may not be able to play these songs perfectly on the first try, and that's okay. Learning a new song takes time, patience, and practice, so don't beat yourself up if you don't get it right away. You can use these tips to accelerate your progress:
Listen to the song several times
Familiarize yourself with the song's melody and structure before attempting to play it on the violin. Listen to the song several times, paying attention to its rhythm, tempo changes, dynamics, and chord progressions. This will help you internalize the melody and understand how it should sound on the violin.
Start slowly and break it down
It's helpful for beginners to learn at a reduced tempo for focused practice. Segmenting the song into smaller phrases or bars and mastering each section before moving on to the next will help you learn the song more efficiently and accurately.
Work on finger placement and bowing techniques
Precise finger placement and bowing techniques are crucial for playing the correct notes with proper intonation and sound quality. Practice placing your fingers in the correct position on the fingerboard and making smooth, controlled bow strokes.
Practicing a little bit every day is more effective than longer, sporadic practice sessions. Set aside a specific time each day (like during a lunch break, after work, or before bed) to practice and stick to it, even if it's just for 10-15 minutes. This will help improve your muscle memory and violin skills, helping you progress faster.
Get help from a violin teacher
Trala teachers are highly qualified and experienced, making them the perfect resource for beginners looking to learn popular songs on the violin and improve their overall skills. They will assess your skill level and create a customized learning plan to help you achieve your musical goals.
Learn more easy songs like these with the help of Trala’s expert teachers
Learning popular songs through tutorials or practice can make playing the violin fun and rewarding, especially for beginners. You can learn these songs through free violin sheet music or online tutorials, but there's no substitute for personalized instruction from a skilled violin teacher.
Taking lessons with Trala teachers is a great way to improve your skills. You will enjoy personalized feedback, a structured learning plan, and expert guidance to help you reach your musical goals. Trala's interactive app also makes practicing fun and convenient, allowing you to learn at your own pace and track your progress.
Do you have a specific song you’d like to learn? Trala teachers can help you get there — sign up for your first lesson today and learn violin the right way.