How To Jump-Start Your String Instrument Journey: A Beginner's Checklist
Congratulations on beginning your journey to becoming a fully fledged violinist, violist, cellist or bassist! Simply for Strings are here for every step along the way on your exciting musical journey.
Starting a string instrument can be a daunting task. What do I need to start? What book will work best for me? What the heck is rosin? We can answer all of these questions and more for you!
First things first: buying or renting an instrument. Simply for Strings has an extensive range of instruments to suit any budget. Our beginner outfits include the main necessities: a professional setup, case and bow. Our extensive range of professionally setup instruments can be viewed online here.
Not sure which instrument is right for you or your child? Worried they may not pursue it? Maybe you're not looking to invest in an instrument just yet.
Renting is a cost-effective solution to getting a high-quality instrument and sound for a simple monthly fee. Learn more about our rental program here.
Once you have an instrument, there are lots of fun extras available for purchase from Simply for Strings. These extras will help you begin your musical journey on the right foot.
Some of the essentials you'll need straight away include rosin, a cleaning cloth, a shoulder rest or rockstop, a music stand and a beginner method book.
Rosin is hardened tree sap which provides friction between the bow and the string, which in turn creates sound. We love Berndardel Rosin, which is manufactured traditionally in France. This low dust, all-purpose rosin, is suitable for violin, viola, or cello, and is very popular with beginner students and professionals alike because of its precise attack and reliability in all kinds of weather.
A cleaning cloth is a life-long essential in your musical journey. A cleaning cloth ensures your instrument remains spick and span, and prevents sweat and rosin build up on your instrument. We have created a cleaning guide for string instruments, which you can view here.
Another life-long essential for most violinist and violists is a shoulder rest. A shoulder rest allows the instrument to be comfortably sat on your shoulder, eliminating pain and tension so you can practice for longer! As everyone's shoulders and bodies are different, shoulder rests do need to be individually fitted for each player. All of our Simply for Strings team members are able to help you find a shoulder rest which will suit you and your instrument the most. Our top recommendations include Kun and Everest shoulder rests.
A rockstop or endpin stop is a handy practice accessory for cellists and bassists alike, as it stops the instrument from slipping and sliding around on timber or tiled floors. Just don’t forget to label yours – those pesky things can go walk-about at home and school!
We're often asked if you really do need a music stand, and the answer is yes! A music stand is an absolute essential for any beginner musician – you definitely don’t want to develop bad posture. A music stand ensures you have your instrument in the correct position, and you're not looking down at a table or bed. Having a dedicated practice area with a music stand encourages regular practice, even if it's just five minutes a day. We have a large variety available at Simply for Strings, with colourful collapsible music stands remaining a firm favourite for beginners and professionals alike.
A wide variety of beginner method books are available, with all of our Simply for Strings team available to provide personal recommendations. Below are some of our top recommendations for new musicians.
Essential Elements for Strings Book 1 offers beginning students sound pedagogy and engaging music, all carefully paced to successfully start young players on their musical journey. Essential Elements features both familiar nursery rhymes and songs and specially designed exercises, created and arranged for the classroom in a unison-learning environment, as well as instrument-specific exercises to focus each student on the unique characteristics of their own instrument.
Fiddle Time Joggers (also available for Viola and Cello) is a first book of very easy pieces for Violin. Packed with lively original tunes, well-known pieces, and easy duets, the Fiddle Time series is carefully paced and organized to build confidence every step of the way. The series features fun cartoons, a modern design, instrumental backings and a fantastic play-along CD.
Encore on Strings is a popular beginners series (available for all instruments) and provides a solid foundation for learning and progression. Kids love the CD and this provides a powerful motivation to practise from day one. Fabulous backing tracks that feature all musical styles - classical, jazz, rock, baroque and many more. The book integrates movement activities and games to facilitate flexibility, which in turn stimulates visual, aural and kinaesthetic learning domains. The series is uncluttered, easy-to-read layout with action packed, high energy illustrations. Ideal for both private and group tuition.
Tricks to Tunes offers beginning students engaging music, all carefully paced to establish a strong sense of basic rhythm and a solid understanding of beat. The Tricks to Tunes series is often used for group tuition of mixed string instruments.
String Basics: Steps to Success for String Orchestra is a comprehensive method for beginning string classes. Utilizing technical exercises, music from around the world, classical themes by the masters, and original compositions, students will learn to play their string instruments in an orchestra. Step-by-step sequences of instruction will prove invaluable as students learn to hold their instrument and bow, finger new notes, count different rhythms, read music notation, and much more.
Have more questions? Get in touch with our friendly team today.