How Many Hours a Day should you Practice the Violin?

by | Aug 9, 2019 | 54 comments

What progress and level of violin playing can you expect at 10 mins, 1 hour or 5 hours a day?

Read all about it and discover how much YOU should practice

After teaching hundreds of students offline and online, it’s easy to see that students who practiced most got the fastest progress.

These days talent is overestimated and practice is underestimated

Yup, that nine year old virtuoso you see on YouTube, probably practiced for thousands of hours already.

When you practice enough, you get good progress, get motivated, join fun ensembles and orchestra’s, enjoy your own playing and you just can’t stop playing anymore.

If you’re practicing starts to slack, you feel frustrated when playing, you don’t see the progress you want, you can’t get in that orchestra you like and you feel like giving up.

Practicing daily is more important than practicing a marathon

The students who get good results in the long run are consistent. For your brain and hands to remember what you learn, daily repetition is very important.

It’s way better to have a short practice session every day when you’re fresh and focussed than that you leave your violin in it’s case for days and have practice marathon. You’ll lose your skill in between those marathons and will not build up your technique.

Whatever practice length you choose, pick something that you can manage to do daily. Yes, you can always practice longer, but this daily routine is most important.

Here’s the violin progress you can expect related to your daily practice time

10 to 20 minutes

Not so fast progress… 20 minute daily practice time would be suitable to very young (5-8 years) beginning students or adults in the very beginning.

When 10 to 20 minutes feels like ‘enough’ to you, consider carving out time in your schedule for a second practice session in each day.

Of course there are days that you’re busy or tired. If you don’t have time, just put the violin under your chin for 10 minutes and at least you keep up with the so important daily routine.

20 to 40 minutes

Great for young or beginning students. You can split up the 40 minutes in two 20 minute sessions with a break in between or at the beginning and end of each day.

In my violin studio I’ve noticed that ‘over 30 minutes’ makes a big difference

Here you can already make a practice schedule like the one Itzhak Perlman recommends: 10 minutes of scales, 10 minutes of etude or exercise and 10 minutes of pieces.

1 hour a day

This is really the minimum you need when you want to maintain your current level and want to improve in the long run.

Very young children or adults with some physical challenges should practice less or divide up the hour into two or three chunks divided over the day.

1,5 to 2 hours a day

Great to get good progress on your instrument. You can do scales, exercises and etudes and have enough time to work on your repertoire and orchestra scores.

Serious teenagers who prepare for a professional career, but are still in school, can practice something like this.

Lots of great concert violinists, like Janine Jansen don’t practice more than 2 hours a day, but please note that they probably don’t count concert and rehearsals as ‘practice time’. Their ‘play time’ is probably longer.

“Practice with your fingers and you need all day. Practice with your mind and you will do as much in 1 1/2 hours.” – Leopold Auer

Auer was the teacher of Milstein, Heifetz and more great violin soloists. Yup, that’s a big disclaimer that practice time only ‘counts’ when it’s quality focussed practice and your brain is fresh enough to correct yourself and learn.

Mindless practice can even make your playing worse

Don’t just count hours and don’t feel guilty if you had a short, but super intense, practice session.

Hi! I'm Zlata

Classical violinist helping you overcome technical struggles and play with feeling by improving your bow technique.

3 to 4 hours a day

Heifetz, probably the best violinist who ever lived, practiced no more than 3 hours a day and said excessive practice is just as bad as practicing too little.

Perlman, one of the best violinists of our time, advices a 3 hour practice schedule and advices against practicing more than 5 hours.

Average conservatory students practice 2 to 4 hours a day. Often they say they practice more of course ;).

When you’re practicing as long as this, it’s even more important to:

  • Take breaks so you refresh your brain and body to learn faster
  • Have a good practice schedule, where your scales, etudes and repertoire are related to each other
  • You’re fresh enough to analyze your mistakes, correct yourself and be creative in the ways you practice something. Not only endless mindless repetitions that will just make your mistakes more permanent. Be your own teacher!
  • You’re not hurting your body! In conservatory I sometimes practiced so long that things just got worse, because my brain and body were exhausted.

As soon as you notice you’re not improving things, but getting stuck or worse, just stop. Maybe it’s enough for the day or maybe you can continue after some stretching and a cup of cofffee.

Over 5 hours a day

Just let the quotes from Auer, Heifetz and Perlman above sink in and probably you’ll see you’ll have to work on the quality of your practice over the quantity.

Practicing longer doesn’t mean you’re working harder

You can do an extremely intense two hours session, where you thoroughly analyse your problems, make specific exercises for yourself and are super focussed on what you’re doing. You might be completely tired after those two hours.

You can also mindlessly repeat stuff you know without a clear purpose for five hours, post a picture of your horribly looking finger tips on Instagram and celebrate how ‘productive’ you’ve been.

Is your practice really focussed? Are you really stopping and correcting yourself while practicing?

When you have more time to spend, you can also listen to recordings with the sheet music at hand and work on your interpretation without your violin at hand.

What do you count as practice time?

Sometimes I have a day where I do my practice routine in the morning of two hours, have a three hour orchestra rehearsal in the afternoon and a two hour concert in the evening. Have I practiced for seven hours that day? No, I just count the two hours.

Of course you gain important experience in orchestra rehearsals and concerts, but you’re not really improving your own technique. You’re actually applying what you’ve learned in your practice sessions.

How much do YOU practice?

Share in the comments below how much you currently practice every day! Is something going to change after reading this article?


  1. Leah

    I pactice between one and two hours a day. But I find my practice is only effective if I start by doing specific exercises rather than just launching into trying to play a piece I’m working on.

      • Lerui

        I usually do 3 to 4 hours a day! It’s a bit hard for me to keep a practice plan, for example to only warm up and play scales for half an hour, I often accidentally go for 1 hour. I also feel like I lack a good structure on working on my pieces, I hope I can get more focused.. Anyways, thank you for the article!

      • Zlata

        Sounds like a great routine!

    • Matthew Andrews

      For me: 1 hour

      Probably should increase practice regimen

      • Zlata

        Good routine!

    • Irina

      Very true and recommended, but my son runs on impulse and we are working on building a routine of: check rosin, check tune, tune, scales, etude, piece… He has giftedness and special needs, plus he’s a teenager, so still trying to help him with this.

  2. Kaiden Samuel

    I tend to practice 1 hour a day. I usually focus on the quality of my playing, keeping tempo, and making mental notes to help improve my playing. I will do about 15-20 minutes of scales and practicing my technique. Then, I will focus on the pieces I have to play and then will break them down into smaller chunks that I need to really focus on. When I practice my repertoire I will try to focus on making sure my bowing, placement of my fingers, and the tempo are all correct when I play so I don’t make it a bad habit of playing incorrectly. When I don’t have a lot of time, say 30 minutes, I will try to warm my fingers up and then figure out what I need to work on and then correct it in the time frame that I have.

  3. LingLing

    40 hours

      • TwoSetMoon3

        LOL I know right! Practice goals…

    • Jamie

      omg your name is lingling

      i love it

      i swear i find twosetters everywhere

  4. Jamie

    I practice around 1 to 1.5 hours a day. It usually takes about 10 minutes of playing until I really get into the “zone” and am really paying attention to my playing. I will do around 10-15 minutes of scales and exercises. Then, I will work on etudes and other technique building pieces. After that, I will then spend time working on actual pieces my teacher assigned me. Lastly, I’ll binge watch TwoSet haha.

    • Violinist Zlata Brouwer

      That sounds like a great routine! And yes, Twoset can’t miss from your practice routine, haha!

  5. bluegreenguitar

    Great article – thanks! For violin/viola practice, I try to do intonation, scales and bowing, then technique (mostly intonation) from a piece, then play a bit. Usually 10-20 minutes a day. When I just started, I practiced 5-10 minutes a day, and it was pretty cool to see improvement!

    I’m interested in playing multiple instruments. My main instrument is guitar (30 years). But I’ve been slowly studying piano, drums, voice and bass for many years as well.

    I started learning violin and viola (spring 2020) after many years of “procrastination”. I basically study violin and then try to apply what I’ve learned to viola as well.

    I would be very happy to play well – for example, someday (in 2-4 years?) I would love to play the 4 Seasons and some of the Bach solo violin works but don’t need to play Paganini Etudes, etc.

    What are your thoughts/what would you recommend for someone studying multiple instruments?


    • Violinist Zlata Brouwer

      Awesome routine! If you manage to give each instrument some regular attention, it’s perfectly possible to play multiple. I’ve played piano and viola in the past.

  6. Reyhan

    I play kamancheh for 3 years now. First I started 15 – 30 minutes a day, now it has became 0.5 to 1.5 hour a day. For a long while, I was thinking about raising my practice quantity and quality!
    I was thinking to play more than 4, 5 hour a day, after reading this page, I am going for 2 hours peacefully! Thank you! 🙂

  7. August

    I’ve been logging an average 30 min a day as a beginner, but I have made the decision to increase to 1 hour a day 😀 This article is very helpful! Maybe in a year or two I’ll work up to 3 hours as well. Thanks!

  8. Irina

    One year ago, I was practicing around 2 times a week, and never more than 30 min.
    Since the lockdown, I decided to practice every day, and now I can see the progress : last year I was playing La Folia by Corelli (Suzuki arrangement), and now I started learning the concerto number 5 of Vieuxtemps
    I’m usually playing 2 to 4 hours a day.

  9. Anonymous

    This is sort of unrelated, but what exactly is a repertoire?

  10. notlingling

    i have to practice 40hrs a day, but a have school, so i practice just 39!

    • notlingling

      support twoset!!!

  11. Ketan Karkare

    Hi! Everyone!
    I usually practice for around an hour, though I take a break sometimes, to relax my hand and brain.
    I believe that should be good as an adult beginner for me.

    • Zlata

      That’s a great routine, Ketan!

  12. Allyson

    My practice time varies depending on my life at the time. October to mid June is insane, so I try to get a quality half hour. Summer months, about an hour or more a day. I play piano, guitar, mandolin, bodhran, tin whistle, fiddle/violin.

    • Zlata

      Good routine!

  13. Musiclife

    Actually I was wondering how I could get into a good study habit? But anyways, for me I like to start with a little technique like bow circles, weight, speed and length of bow, etc. plus a rhythm thing I do as well. Then I like to dive into scales maybe with shifting, arpeggios, Majors, minors… you know, the usual. I’ll then go into my rhythm book (different from the rhythm thing I do in the beginning) do some of that, then etudes trying to really work on those and perfect those, last I’ll go into my song for the week and work on that. And sometimes I’ll play an extra fun piece, or my school pieces. But yeah, that’s what I do. Every so often I’ll take an extra ten minutes to do some care work on my violin. Making sure it’s in tune (my violin’s pretty stable so I don’t need to use my tuner often), rosin, etc.. I kinda follow the routine that my private teacher and I do in lessons. It’s a pretty good one. Who else is in a school orchestra or lessons?

    • Zlata

      That sounds like a great routine you’ve got there! Lessons and an orchestra certainly keep you on track.

    • lingling

      I’m in orchestra too!!

      • Zlata

        Yay, you’re so welcome!

  14. lingling

    I practice for about 1 hour and a half each day but I get easily distracted. Sometimes I just play my pieces over and over and don’t really practice them. What should I do?

    • Zlata

      Try to practice in small chunks of 15 to 20 minutes, but be hyperconcentrated in them and focus on a couple of bars instead of the entire piece. As soon as you notice that the concentration goes away, refresh, do some stretching, drink something and go back in a few minutes.

  15. joanne

    normally try to i practice an hour for violin, 2 hours for piano, half an hour for french horn (twice a week), and sometimes 15-30 minutes for choir, but on school days i also have homework and some days i have classes so i dont have a consistent “everyday” schedule 🙁

    but i have made it my 2023 goal to start practicing more, so im going to work hard

    • Zlata

      Wow, busy girl!

  16. Jim Bruno

    I’m both vocalist and multi instrumentalist professional vocal instructor and guitar instructor. My instruments include EVI, aerophone 30, Morrison digital trumpet, guitar, piano,/Keys, Chapman Stick, 4 string, 5 string, 6 string electric violins. I have made a Living both performing and teaching music all of my life.

    To make sure I play all of these instruments most days… I play to background track arrangements. I sing, play at least one of the electric horns and one of my violins to every track that I am practicing too. I always run through scales and chords on all of the instruments daily. All 12 keys. That really doesn’t take me very long because I’ve been playing for so many years. 10 to 20min maybe? The bulk of my time is going through many songs all the time every day. And using various different approaches to the same songs over and over again.

    Hour to hour and a half daily. I also make it a point to Play the melody lines to the songs on all instruments. As well as implied improvisation. Even on the days that I’m teaching my whole day is always music I’m either teaching music or playing music. My teaching days are anywhere from 4 to 6 hours a day. So I’m always doing music! I’ve been singing all my life but got interested in the violins in a serious way over the last 20 years.

    Music has been my passion all my life and I feel extremely blessed that I’ve been able to make a living at something That I love so much.. of course I do have a life outside of music and make sure I have me time as well. also it’s obvious I’m a professional musician. but I thought I would still share with you and students what kind of dedication it takes to make it happen. I hope that’s OK?

    • Zlata

      Thanks for sharing 🙂

  17. Omer

    I practice about 3 to 4 hours a day. I started a bit late (at 11) and started lessons at 13. I want to be good enough to play in serious orchestras, and competition is harsh! Hopefully i will succeed.

    • Zlata

      You are not old at all! There are soloists who started at 14 years old. I’m sure with your hard work you will succeed. Good luck and have fun!

      • ling ling

        Hi! I’m searching for any compitions near me. I’m 15 years old and i live in kasserine, Tunisia. Do you have any ideas?

      • Irina

        Hello, how are you fairing after COVID19? Making a living to some, seems to be not making a living to others… Curious how you are doing with students? Are many of them serious? Is it all for fun, do you find? Is it still possible to make a living, if you aren’t well known nor super young? Which state or country are you in? I have a very musically inclined child, who is into several things & trying to direct him… I also have a dear friend/significant other, who is a professional. He seems to be too serious a teacher for current times.

      • Zlata

        I think the most important question here is if your son really wants to pursue a professional career or just play for fun. Certainly in teenage years this would be very different in terms of which teacher to choose and how much to practice. Most students are playing for fun. I’m in Holland and it’s hard to compare my ‘career’, because I online sell online courses and am home with five kids under five ;). I don’t work outside the house or in any offline/live teaching or performing anymore, but that’s a choice I made. However I do make a decent income from this in a few hours a week and I don’t even offer 1-1 live lessons. If your son is into teaching and willing to hone some entrepreneurial skills it’s perfectly possible to have a successful violin studio. Whether he’s into performing depends on his level. If he’s a top tier student, he might get an orchestra job or even perform as a soloist. It’s all still possible!

  18. Chen

    I practice 2hours- 3hours a day

    • Zlata

      Great routine!

  19. Jocelyn

    I a. A 16 year old teen that needs advice, I try and practice at least an hour on top of all the homework and there are days we’re I just don’t want to do anything. What can I do to motivate myself to practice and make it to the two hours.

    • Zlata

      Maybe in the days that you are tired, just practice ten minutes or so. That will get you a regular routine. Also take enough breaks. In the end we all do what we can. Instead of focussing on the hours, maybe try to get more of the hour that you have.

      • Jocelyn

        Thank you, I will try this

      • Jocelyn

        Thank you, I will try this today

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