First Notes you Learn on the Violin as a Beginner
Start playing the violin with these easy finger patterns to play your first notes and scales
(sheet music and finger chart included)
On every instrument, certain scales are easier to play than others. This is because some scales involve more complicated finger patterns. For violinists these finger patterns are called hand frames, meaning where the fingers are in relation to each other (in other words, whether there is a whole step or a half step between each finger). When starting violin, it is easiest to learn your first notes in the context of scales, because then you learn to understand the patterns and not just random facts. Beginner violinists start by learning three one-octave scales that all have the same hand frame: A major, D major, and G major (see below). Most beginner violin pieces, including all of Suzuki Book 1, are in one of these keys. Practicing them will prepare you to play dozens of different songs!
What Hand Frame are we Using?
If you have tapes on your violin fingerboard, they’re probably set to the notes required for these three scales. Violinists start by learning high 2 first, meaning second finger touches third finger. Later on you will also learn low 2, which touches first finger.
In case you are not sure which finger number is which, index finger is first, middle finger is second, ring finger is third, and pinky is fourth. You do not have to use the fourth finger for these three scales. In first position, 4th fingers are the same as the next highest open string (i.e. fourth finger D is an A) so you can just use open strings.
One-octave A major, D major, and G major all use the exact same pattern, but on different strings. A major uses A and E, D major uses D an A, and G major uses G and D.
First scales you learn on the violin in sheet music
Here’s how to play these first scales on the violin
and how they sound, so you can play along
First notes on the violin in sheet music
The one octave major scales above have the same finger pattern. Here’s a summary of the first notes you learn per violin string:
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Finger chart for the first notes on the violin
Now that you know which strings and notes to use, you can work out the finger placements from this chart:
This is just the tip of the ice berg when it comes to scales. Check out my free book Sensational Scales for lots more scales, arpeggios, and exercises for beginner through advanced players.