I have always wanted to play Pirates of the Caribbean and other beautiful melodies on violin. For me, it is a nightmare to play anything on it.

I have a musical background (Electronic Producer). I know basic music theory and play the keyboard (beginner).

But when it comes to violin, I feel exhausted. Finger placement is my biggest issue: how to press a string without touching other, as the space between them is so small. I can't touch only one at a time except E and G, because they are first and last of course.

Bowing is not so difficult, but sometimes my bow jumps or bounces automatically.

I'm looking for some expert who can explain their journey, guide me and correct me, if I'm doing something wrong.

When I have time, I watch tutorials and stuff online. I do this sincerely and seriously, but either my fingers are too big or the space between the strings is too small.

I have 4*4, in case I didn't mention it before.

How long does it take to learn to play the violin to an intermediate level?

  • 2
    Violin is one of the hardest instruments to learn well and though I think it's possible to learn many instruments without a teacher, I'd strongly recommend a teacher for violin, at least for a few months or so, to get you started with the right habits. Apr 29, 2018 at 9:00
  • 2
    You're looking for an expert to guide and correct you. That would be a teacher. They'll tell how long it will take you (anything between three years and never)
    – PiedPiper
    Jan 23 at 13:16

3 Answers 3


Each person's journey in learning an instrument is unique, so there is no standard answer to your question of how long it takes to learn intermediate level violin. It would most likely take years of dedicated pratice. If you do not have a teacher, then you might be picking up some bad habits that could be hard and frustrating to 'undo' at a later stage. It is highly recommended to have a teacher.

That said, if you think your fingers are too big for the violin, have you considered playing the viola?

  • Hi, thanks for your answer. I think you're right but i really don't have time for it on regular basis so i can't have teacher. Secondly, about flingers, I'm 25 years old regular body, my fingers are normal but the point was, i have seen 60 years old guy playing it nicely. So is it just practice? And a teacher. Viola I don't want to play. Apr 29, 2018 at 7:34
  • Yes. Committed practice and a good teacher would give you a good chance of achieving your goal. Your fingers will, with time, learn to make the tiniest adjustments to find the correct position of each note. I strongly recommend doing lots of slow scales - slow enough that you can hear each note and adjust it if needed to be in tune, and also slow enough to hear the quality and evenness of tone that you are producing. You have to train your ears just as much as train your fingers. Good luck and have fun with it.
    – Jomiddnz
    Apr 29, 2018 at 8:04

Well, take a look at the sausage fingers on basically the only available portrait of J. S. Bach. Still he was good enough on violin to write four-part solo fugues on it, and it's quite obvious that this wasn't a mere passing acquaintance: for most of the really complex passages, fingering instructions (added in modern editions) are redundant as there is just one execution making significant physical sense.

For much of violin music, touching unrelated strings is not much of an issue since it is mostly monophonic and you can make space "strategically" for phrases changing strings in a legato manner, using double stops, or relying on sympathetic vibration.

Of course, finger tip angle also plays into it: it tends to be more vertical than with, say, guitar, and the quite narrower finger/fret-board accommodates this.


I would strongly recommend having a course to help you out. The Suzuki method is great, and you don’t have to keep doing it forever if you don’t want to, but it will certainly help you get started. All you have to do is buy the first book and work through it. The front of the book also has many helpful tidbits for beginners.

I would also recommend putting tapes on the neck of the violin to help with finger placement -at least until you develop muscle memory in your fingers to the point where you don’t have to constantly look at your hand to know where they’re supposed to go. This is something that just takes time, so keep working at it. It’s really much easier to play the violin when you have developed fingers.

Also, make sure that you’re touching the strings with just the tips of your fingers to avoid touching other strings. I know you may feel that your fingers are too big, but I know several excellent violinists with big fingers -my teacher included!

How to help your bouncing bow: try to evenly apply the pressure -you might have to apply more at the tip because the lower half is naturally pulled down by the weight of your hand.

Also make sure that your bow-hold is correct -this is a major part of learning how to play any string instrument and can be very heard to undo if you originally learn the wrong one.

Another thing to put into practice is to make sure that you are always keeping your bow straight. Practising in front of a mirror can help with that. Also rosin your bow frequently and make sure that it is the right tightness level.

One more thing -I’m not really sure what your definition of “intermediate” is, but I’ve been playing the violin for about 5 years, and I’d say it took about 3 to become intermediate, but every musician is different, so I can’t really say how long it will take you.

Violin is something that comes with time, so just remember that it will get easier as your fingers become more agile. Just keep practising, and don’t quit! A big thing to remember is to stay motivated and keep pushing yourself, because if you never try harder pieces of music, you won’t get any better. Good luck!👍

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.