Getting Started with Violin

Method Books

String Builder Violin Book One by Samuel Applebaum

I Can Read Music, Vol 1: Violin (For Violin) by Joanne Martin


Suzuki Violin School: Violin Part, Vol. 1 by Shinichi Suzuki


After the student reaches Minuet I in Suzuki, Vol 1, I introduce students to All For Strings Theory Book 1: Violin by Robert Frost and Gerald Anderson

Instrument Purchase/Rental

For beginner students, there are a large number of options for a starting violin.  In my experience as a teacher and parent of violin students, if your student plays for at least 10 months, it can be more cost effective to purchase a quality student violin online compared to renting.  There are many rent and rent-to-own options at most local music stores as well as online shops, if you don’t want to make the up-front commitment.

The violin outfit that I recommend for purchase is the Bunnel Pupil Violin Outfit from Kennedy Violins (available via or the Kennedy Violins website).  They are well-made instruments that look and sound good.  The instruments are professionally setup in Washington and include everything necessary to get started in the package.

Kennedy also has affordable violin rental options, if you aren’t ready to purchase.  Rental payments can go toward the purchase of an instrument.

If you purchase via their website, you can use code “JPAUTZ” for a 10% discount.

Let me know if you need help sizing the instrument to your student.


Music Stand

There are many options out there, but I can recommend this CAHAYA one for home use and I use the Peak Portable Music Stand for home and travel.


I recommend a chromatic tuner.  This Donner one works well and also has a built in metronome. It also has a setting for violin specifically along with other instruments.  I also have had great luck with this Korg one. It’s just a tuner, but it is well made and has served me well for 15+ years.

Many students are also happy with free smartphone apps for tuning and metronome.

Shoulder rests

I have tried a few different brands and Kun is clearly the best option. It’s not that expensive, so this is the only brand I can recommend. Generally the collapsible version is easiest because it fits well in most violin cases.

Kun 4/4 (and 3/4) Original collapsible (On Amazon, you may need to click “See all buying options” for this one…not sure why.)

Kun 1/2 and 3/4 Collapsible (Colors): Blue Moon, Razzle Dazzle, Papaya, Atomic Green

Kun Collapsible Mini (1/16-1/4)