Top Violin Pieces for Students: From Beginner to Advanced
If you’ve ever tried your hand at the violin, you know it’s not exactly a “pick up and play” type of instrument. The learning curve can sometimes feel more like climbing a mountain.
But here’s the thing: With the proper instruction, anyone can play the violin and develop their musical skills! And that’s where Trala comes in. With Trala’s online violin instructors, you can pick from a vast selection of songs tailored to your level — from beginner songs to complex sonatas.
Below is our handpicked list of the top violin pieces for students, whether you're a beginner or advanced violinist.
Best beginner violin songs to learn
Beginner violin pieces often feature simple melodies and harmonies, making them ideal for violinists just starting out. To truly master a piece, students need to pay attention to rhythm, intonation, and dynamics. Of course, you’ll also need a good beginner violin with quality intonation and a great sound.
Here are some pieces we recommend for the novice violinist.
“Amazing Grace” is one of the most iconic, beloved songs of all time. Written by English poet and Anglican clergyman John Newton in 1779, it is a beautiful, soulful hymn that speaks to redemption and the power of grace.
Newton wrote the poem from personal experience after miraculously surviving a near-fatal storm at sea. This heartfelt hymn describes his journey from spiritual darkness to the light of redemption, having found immense grace in his life.
The deep, soulful melody and lyrics evoke a sense of inner peace, making it a mainstay of the spiritual/hymnal repertoire for centuries. It has been performed by the world’s greatest artists, including Elvis Presley, Andrea Bocelli, Diana Ross, and Celine Dion.
Trala’s “Amazing Grace” sheet music has easy-to-follow chords and rhythm, making it an excellent choice for student violinists. This song will help them become familiar with the basics of playing the instrument, from basic counting, fingerings, and familiarity with using the bow.
Ode to Joy
“Ode to Joy” is a piece of classical music composed by Ludwig van Beethoven in 1824, as the final movement of his last completed symphony, Symphony No. 9 in D Minor. Written for a choral symphony setting and based on a poem by Friedrich Schiller, “Ode to Joy” is a brilliant expression of humanity and unity in the face of hardship.
Its uplifting sound has been used in countless films, commercials, and as part of the European Anthem. With its simple melody, moderate tempo, and well-defined rhythm, “Ode to Joy” is one of the most accessible pieces for beginner violinists to learn.
The repeating melody makes it easy to remember and practice, while the rhythm encourages students to work on their bow control.
Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without “Silent Night.” Written in 1818 by Austrian priest Joseph Mohr and set to a melody composed by Franz Xaver Gruber, it’s one of the most beloved Christmas carols. It speaks to the beauty of a night so quiet and the wonder and awe of the birth of baby Jesus.
Its gentle, peaceful melody serenades listeners, providing comfort and solace during the cold winter months. The slow, steady tempo and simple intervals make it a must-have in a beginner’s playbook.
It’s also an ideal piece to practice the basic techniques of bow control and finger placement. Your teacher can work with you on the subtleties of interpretation and dynamics to help you bring the song to life.
Best violin songs for intermediate violin players
Intermediate violin pieces demand greater skill than your average beginner songs. They require mastery of basic techniques, including vibrato, double-stops, and articulation. Students should be confident in their ability to take on more challenging pieces and develop advanced skills.
Here are some violin songs we recommend for the intermediate-level violinist.
When The Saints Go Marching In
“When The Saints Go Marching In,” also known as just “The Saints,” is an iconic spiritual hymn composed by James Milton Black in 1900 and made popular by Louis Armstrong in 1938. Today, it’s a popular jazz standard and a beloved anthem of New Orleans. It’s a cheerful, upbeat song with a jolly, march-like rhythm and catchy melody.
It’s an excellent song for intermediate violinists to build their skills and master the nuances of bowing patterns, dynamics, intonation, and syncopation. The intuitive rhythm and vibrant melody make it an exciting piece to practice and perform.
In the Pines 1
Folk songs have a long tradition in the U.S., dating back to the 18th century. “In the Pines” or “Where Did You Sleep Last Night?” is a traditional folk song of unknown origin, tracing its roots to early Appalachian music. It is a haunting, sad ballad about the agony of lost love and unrequited longing.
Since then, it has been adapted and covered by numerous artists, including Lead Belly and Nirvana, who injected their own emotions and style into the timeless classic.
It’s a great piece for intermediate violinists to practice and develop their repertoire. Its slow tempo allows careful attention to bowing patterns and intonation, while the minor key creates an intense atmosphere of grief and longing.
“Spotted Pony” is an old-time American fiddle piece played in the key of D Major. It’s attributed to Lyman Enloe and has become a popular staple for bluegrass musicians and fiddlers worldwide. Its fast-paced rhythm, catchy hook, and syncopated melody make it an excellent piece for intermediate violinists looking to hone their skills.
It develops speed and dexterity with rapid bowing patterns and optional double stops. The cheerful melody encourages a confident, lighthearted attitude, making it an excellent performance piece. Performing “Spotted Pony” for friends and family is sure to bring out the smiles and toe-tapping!
Best advanced violin songs to learn
Advanced violin pieces require immense skill and technical proficiency to master. Violin virtuosos like Paganini, Itzhak Perlman, and Johann Sebastian Bach have pushed the instrument’s boundaries, dazzling audiences with lightning-fast bow work and intricate fingering. Their works require a mastery of technique, emotional range, and musicality.
Here are some of our favorite advanced masterpieces to challenge and inspire.
Oh, Bright Stars 3
Katie Jacoby’s “Oh, Bright Stars” is a modern classic. Released in 2019 for solo violin and orchestra, the piece was praised for its lyricism and sweeping melodies. It captures the beauty of nightfall with ethereal melodies and a sweeping orchestration of strings, flutes, horns, percussion, and lush double-stops, creating a sense of wonder and awe.
The piece features fast-paced bow work, scales, and intricate rhythms that demand technical proficiency for successful performance. It showcases Jacoby’s unique blend of classical and folk influences, with an emotionally charged narrative driving its powerful melodies forward.
Advanced violinists can use this piece to develop their speed, agility, and technique while developing a greater appreciation for the nuances of modern composition.
Written by French composer Erik Satie in 1888, “Gymnopedie” is a delicate solo piano piece considered a hallmark of the classical repertoire. Its gentle, melancholic melody paints a picture of somber beauty and introspection. It has been transcribed for solo violin, allowing violinists to explore its delicate nuances.
Gymnopedie’s slow tempo allows careful attention to dynamics, intonation, vibrato, and bowing technique. The mellow tones of the minor key create a peaceful atmosphere of sadness, while the hypnotic melody invites listeners to contemplate and reflect. Advanced violinists can use this piece to practice their articulation, finger control, and phrasing.
Sheep May Safely Graze
Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Sheep May Safely Graze” is one of the most beloved Bach pieces ever written. Composed in 1713 for a secular cantata, “Was mir behagt, ist nur die muntre Jagd, BWV 208,” it is a beautiful aria showcasing Bach’s mastery of counterpoint, harmony, and musicality.
The piece is a pastoral hymn celebrating the beauty and serenity of nature. Its lyrical melody is juxtaposed against challenging counterpoint and intricate bowing patterns.
It requires considerable technical skill to master, particularly in the complex ornamentation and runs that require precise finger placement. Violin teachers often recommend this piece for advanced violinists to test their agility and finesse and to explore the depths of Bach’s compositional genius.
Learn violin online with Trala
Violin music encompasses various styles and genres, from folk songs to classical masterworks. Whether you’re a beginner, intermediate, or advanced violin soloist, there is a wide variety of violin pieces to explore and practice.
If you’re seeking guidance in learning or mastering violin music, Trala will help you hit the right strings on your journey from novice screecher to seasoned strummer. We offer structured violin lessons geared toward adult learners with expert guidance from professional violin teachers.
So pick up your bow, tune up your strings, get matched with a Trala teacher, and join over 400,000 students learning violin with us today!