Can You Learn to Play the Violin or Viola when You Can’t Read Notes (yet)?

by | Dec 2, 2013 | Music Theory | 0 comments

Many people think that you can’t start learning a musical instrument when you can’t read notes.

I want to learn how to play the violin or viola, but I cannot read notes yet. Is that a problem?

It is definitely possible to learn how to play the violin or viola when you cannot ready notes (yet)! In fact, it is recommended to start learning how to read notes after you have already played some tunes on your instrument.

There is absolutely no point in starting out with boring theory. It’s more easy, more efficient and more effective to start with that later. Get familiar with your instrument first and experiment with the sounds you can produce.

Learning how to play the violin or viola without being able to read notes

Learning how to read notes is not as difficult as it seems! You will probably find it easier than you might have thought.

An old-fashioned way to learn how to play an instrument, is by first learning theoretically about sheet music and notes. This way, it could take a lot of time before you would actually start playing the instrument.

Unfortunately, this can be quite boring and abstract as you do not really know what the notes sound like.

A more modern way of learning, is by first focussing on how to play the instrument and developing your ear. Developing your ear means that you learn to recognize notes and tunes. This is called the auditive phase. In this phase you are not reading notes yet.

After the auditive phase, the notes are added to what you can already play. This way it is much easier to learn how to read notes: you can recognize the sound and link it to the notes on your sheet music. You hear a sound and after that you can see it as well.

Notes on your sheet music are no longer an abstract thing, you already know what they sound like!

This way, anyone can learn how to read notes while playing!

Go ahead and start to learn how to play your instrument, not being able to read notes should not be a reason to hold you back! Have fun and please share your experiences in the comments.



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