Learning a musical instrument is a dream held by many and learning to play the violin is a particularly popular aspiration.
Sadly, however, the majority of these dreams are never realised.
But why is this the case for so many people?
Unfortunately, regardless of your level of enthusiasm, motivation and passion for music, the cost of musical instruction can be too big an obstacle for people to overcome.
Learning to play a musical instrument has a reputation of being pricey, but thankfully, there are plenty of routes into violin playing that don’t cost the earth.
With plenty of research and willingness to study the violin, you can become the performer you always dreamt of becoming!
Of course, your options will vary depending on your starting level, personal objectives and your level of self-discipline.
It’s no secret that violin lessons from highly-qualified musicians will be costlier than lessons from university music students, but if you’re a complete beginner on the violin, you will have the most choice when it comes to choosing a teacher to train you.
However, regardless of the price you pay for your music tuition, value for money is key – if your teacher isn’t a good match for you, there’s a high chance you’re wasting your money.
So, whether you’re a complete beginner trying to get a feel for the price of violin tuition, or you’re a curious advanced student looking at what other violin teachers generally charge, putting the cost of violin instruction under the microscope can make for some interesting findings.
This is Superprof’s guide to the cost of violin tuition and how to find the best deal for your needs as a budding violinist. But first, how much does the equipment cost as you’ll need a violin before you start doing lessons?
As you’d expect, there is no one-size-fits-all model of violin, so the prices of buying this instrument do vary.
The most obvious differences you’ll notice are the variation in price of violins for beginners to those for advanced players and, of course, the gap between acoustic and electric equipment (mainly due to craftsmanship).
Also known as ‘student violins’, all violin makers produce models aimed at budding violinists.
Some of the most popular violins for beginners include:
When it comes to beginner violins, tone quality is less important than value for money so be sure to check the main differences between each model before you buy. As long as you have an instrument which is good enough for learning to play Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, then you should be able to learn the fundamentals of musicianship!
Violins for intermediate players offer a higher level of quality which translates into a richer overall tone.
Although better-quality materials usually make for a large increase in price, someone who is developing their skill does need to sacrifice a few more pounds for better sound quality. See some examples below:
For those who are serious about developing their musical skills to a high level or perhaps even making a career out of music, purchasing a violin to suit their advanced level can be a major investment.
See these models as a guide:
Electric and electro-acoustic violins (all known as acoustic-electric violins) represent the most recent evolution of the classical acoustic violin and prices generally start at £130. Yet, in addition, aspiring electric violinists must also take the added cost of amplification into account which they can expect to pay upwards of £100 for.
Finally, it’s good to know that you don’t have to buy a violin right from the start if you aren’t sure that you’ll stick to the instrument for the long term.
Violin rental is a good option for parents of young violinists, who may require a small-size violin once they start learning because there is no need to purchase the next size up as the child grows. It’s also good for adults who just want to get a feel for the instrument and what it’s like to start playing the violin.
‘Try before you buy’ schemes offered by music shops are aimed at beginner musicians who intend to learn a musical instrument but are unsure about committing to buying an instrument without having had any violin lessons. Instead of purchasing a fiddle before meeting their violin teacher and being sure of their goals in learning how to play the violin, students are able to rent their violin for a period of a few months before the instrument is offered to them to purchase at a reduced cost.
Generally, depending on the type of violin as well as your location, prices can range from £8-£20 per month with a minimum term of 3 months.
Superprof is an online platform where teachers and tutors from all over the globe can offer their services – and this includes musical instruction!
So, if you’re looking for a violin teacher, all you have to do is visit Superprof.co.uk then enter ‘violin’ as your chosen subject and specify your location (so Superprof can find violin teachers in your area).
You can increase or decrease the radius of your search according how close you want your teacher to be, however, there are also plenty of tutors who offer violin lessons online via Skype – so you don’t have to worry about the logistics of your tuition!
At first glance, you’ll notice the wide range of hourly tariffs.
There are many factors that come into play when teachers decide on their asking price. For example, teachers with a high amount of professional experience in their field of instruction generally charge more than undergraduates offering tutoring services for their degree subject.
Taking up any musical instrument is a great way to become more confident as you develop your performance skills and musicianship ¦ source: Pixabay – hmcreativos
You’ll also find that prices vary according to the levels taught by each tutor. If they specialise mainly in classical training for grades 5-8, they are likely to charge a higher rate than someone teaching beginner music classes.
Another factor that can affect tutor rates is location. Prices for violin lessons near me vary from city to city, but the average rates in the capital are the most elevated.
Let’s look at a few examples from the violinists at Superprof:
|City||Average Hourly Tariff for Violin Lessons|
In general, the higher the population of the city, the higher the average price for violin tuition – but this does not necessarily mean that you will pay more for violin lessons in bigger cities.
The high average prices in large cities can be explained by the fact that a greater population makes for a higher chance that a city will have a higher number of violin teachers. The more violin teachers, the wider the range of their expertise; so more experienced teachers can charge a higher rate, driving the average price up.
So, if you’re a complete beginner violinist looking for a tutor to get you started and teach you the fundamentals of playing the violin, the price you pay will likely be at the lower end of the scale, as you can be taught by university music students who teach in their spare time.
If you’re already a seasoned musician looking for someone to coach you through your grade 8 exam, you will require someone with an appropriate amount of expertise and who will likely charge rates at the higher end of the scale. They will expect more of you, too, such as regular violin practice so you can advance more quickly.
Let’s have a look at the variation in the prices charged by Superprof’s violin teachers in different cities:
So, there is some obvious variation between cities, but the bigger variation is in the prices charged by individual tutors. Hourly rates align well with professional experience and the ability to teach advanced-level students.
But why is this the case?
Although teaching musicians of any level requires a lot of talent and skill, it’s not as simple as helping students tackle tougher pieces as they advance.
In the beginning, new violinists need the most help with handling their instrument, learning how to read music, learning to hold the bow and hold the correct posture while playing – in other words, playing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star perfectly is less important than becoming familiar with the violin itself.
Violin lessons for youngsters are especially focussed developing musicality and musical ear training ¦ source: Visualhunt – juhansonin
As students progress through their music education, the techniques they use in their playing become more important, so teachers need to have a well-trained musical ear and expertise in techniques such as vibrato as well as a fantastic knowledge of music theory.
The cost of private violin lessons can add up quickly, so, are there any other options?
Taking violin lessons in a group is a fun and engaging way to learn the violin for less, especially violin lessons for beginners.
There are many ways to find group music classes.
From violin group to philharmonic orchestra: music centres are a great place to learn to perform! ¦ source: Visualhunt – cseeman
For instance, Superprof offers an option of searching for lessons in a group.
For budding musicians, there is also the option to register with a music school or music academy.
Music schools are independent organisations which offer teaching services as well as opportunities to participate in musical ensembles such as a symphony orchestra or string quartet outside of school hours.
Here are some guide prices for music centres around the UK:
|Music School||Prices for Group Lessons in Violin|
|Kent Music||£9 per 30 mins|
|Sutton Music Academy||£13 for 40 mins|
|Allegro Music Academy (Chelmsford centre)||£17 per hour|
Performance experience is invaluable for developing musicians. Whether you’re in a concert band, rock group or you’re into jazz and improvisation, no matter whether you play the piano, guitar, trumpet, cello or you’re a vocalist, performance experience gives you brilliant transferable skills for the future.
Enrolling in group lessons and music schools is a great way to get more for your money as an aspiring violinist, but is there anything else you can do to learn for less?
Here are some top tips to make your money go further:
Violin apps, just like apps for any other genre of music and style of instrument, have been on the rise over the years as technology advances at a super fast rate.
Not only are there apps out there helping you to maintain your string instrument, like tuner apps, but free of charge apps have also been developed to teach you how to play the instrument (some are even aimed at learning the violin as absolute beginners!) with tutorials on how to hold the musical instrument, wrist placement, what to do with your left hand, how to maintain good posture while you play stringed instruments and, of course, how to read music.
Did you ever think that learning the violin could be done so easily and for no financial outlay at all? Well, that’s if you forget about the cost of the violin you’ll need in order to try out these apps for a moment, of course.
If you can’t quite believe it, you can download one of the digital tuition apps yourself (for either a small or no fee at all) via the Apple App Store, Windows App Store or your Android App Store. Even if you just download a few for fun, you might be surprised by what they can do for you and what you learn.
That said, you don’t want to risk developing bad habits from trying to copy others, so how do you balance the pros and the cons?
BandBlast is a modern app which provides learners with free beginner violin video lessons developed by some of the world’s best Philharmonic musicians. As well as these tutorials, there are some character-based games that help to teach beginners and intermediates alike learn about rhythm, notation, and pitch.
The app flows very well because it follows the first year curriculum normally taught during music classes at academies or orchestra programmes so you can rest assured that the content will be engaging and will support your needs as a pupil.
The app is currently available on Apple and Android devices.
Alyaka’s violin app is not for time-wasters. This is a serious app for people who are motivated and dedicated in how to learn to play the violin. Interestingly, it teaches you to practice playing violin without an instrument in hand, offering a virtual violin and a multi-touch feature that enables you to play chords from your device. It is designed for Android mobile phones and tablets.
This app by JellyNote is inspired by violinists of all levels and offers access to thousands of free, high-quality violin sheet music. It’s fiddle music at its best!
Tuanis Apps has developed this app for advanced violin players or those wishing to get into composing. The app transcribes what you play into sheet music, so you can easily write your own melodies with the help of this automated reader. Could you be the next Bach or Mozart? Get onto your recital and just wait and see!
Some apps can transcribe the sounds you are playing into sheet music. Photo credit: photosteve101 on Visualhunt.com
Real Oriental Violin Simulator
NAVA Apps has set up this resource for learning the violin on the go. The sounds are authentic and it offers 36 rhythm styles, vibration variation adjustment, and 2 octaves and pitch. You won’t be able to stop putting together a violin concerto with the help of this app, no matter how good you are!
Jameasy Inc has produced an app that makes it easier to learn to play the violin. The app contains lessons on finger placement, reading music and identifying a violin string, and gauges how accurately the player plays their instrument. This is a brilliant tool for children as it can be played like a game, all the while maintaining concentration on the subject and encouraging them to use it again and again. As well as classical music it also offers modern artists’ melodies like Coldplay.
Learning to play musical instruments does have a reputation for being pricey, but with a good amount of research and plenty of practice, you can learn for less!
Okay, so going to a concert or to see an orchestra play isn’t classed as free, but you can easily watch videos of professional violinists doing their thing on stage and get a feel for how they perform.
To be in with the best chance of picking up habits and skills that will suit your desired style of playing, be sure to watch someone you aspire to be like so that you can analyse and examine how they play, the type of music they make, and much more.
YouTube is a great place to find free content in the form of concert streams, video tutorials, instrument reviews and so on, so we would suggest this as a great place to start your learning journey. You can sign up to YouTube channels dedicated to the violin or even follow relevant hashtags or accounts on Instagram so that you can be notified when a new video is uploaded.
Even if it is just other novices displaying things they’ve learnt from a beginner’s point of view, this could very well teach you something new too!
Another great idea is to get yourself down to the local charity shop and see if there are any useful resources in there for budding violinists, like an old book with sheets of music in it or even an old cd with step by step instructions on how to play simple melodies. (I remember being given a Bert Wheedon video and book by an older relative when trying to learn guitar which taught me some of the fundamentals!).
Obviously, it is far better to hire a professional to teach you how to play if you are serious about developing at a good pace, but we hope that you can see there are many ways of learning how to play the violin, ranging a great deal in price!