5 Ways To Start ROCKING The VIOLIN This 2017

Rocking the violin

You, crazy fiddler! Are you ready to stop day-dreaming and start ROCKING the VIOLIN? Then, you’re in luck, because today I’ll show you how to get in the right track. Make this your New Year’s resolution!


Allow me to read your mind: “I thought this was supposed to be fun!?“. I know, scales! Booooring! Now, not playing classical music doens’t mean erasing all knowledge, and pretending your music abilities are barely above that of your untalented second cousin who thinks he’s Johnny Rotten. Or something.

Exercising and playing scales will always be a great way to start and get more fluid in any music genre. When you’re trained in classical music, you will usually neglect the pentatonic scale, which happens to be the #1 scale for rock and roll. So if you want to start rocking the violin, you must be comfortable with it. Once you got it under your belt, it’ll make things easier for you to jam and do all that cool stuff you have in mind.

You can get started with this Gm pentatonic bow exercise. It’ll help you with your bow, your fretting hand, and to practise a pentatonic scale

Want to learn more? Treat yourself and get our Rock+Violin book.


This is fundamental. It doesn’t even have to be rock music with violin. It can be anything that inspires you. The idea is to really listen to it – what instruments are playing? What’s it role? Notice how bass and drums interact, and create a groove foundation. Guitars and vocals work on top, with the melody, which is where you’ll be with your violin.

In case you’re not really sure where to start, I recommend going for the guitar riff-ridden bands. AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix,… Listen to them, get inspired, grab your violin and play around. For instance, go for a tunewith a very clear riff, like Deep Purple’s Black Night, and play on top of it. When you’ve mastered it, and using those scales we were talking about earlier, you’ll be ready to jam along the crazy guitar and organ solos.

See? I promised it was going to be fun!

On a side note: in case you haven’t already (cello..?), go watch School of Rock. Trust me on that one.



Now that you’re comfortable with the scales and you know what you want to sound like, it’s time to put it into practice! Let your creativity flow with backing tracks. You can download software, or find tracks on YouTube, or even create your own!

You’ll see most jams repetitive and work around few chords – it’s all about giving you the freedom to improvise, and not learning complicated structures or long chord sequences. After a while, you might start getting bored of them, so perhaps it’ll be time to move into step 4…

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  1. Yeah, thank you for your tips, Mariana!

    Getting into the rock music world is a journey full of discoveries and even some frustration, especially when you need to find your own ‘rock sound’ and style through a instrument as classical and defined as the violin. At least, that has happened to me, hehe. For some gigs, I use a certain effects and settings, and then change them for other presentations, and so on. Anyway, these five ways to start rocking with violin are pretty much useful in any level and what’s more important: to have fun with music!

    I’ve been fortunate to have ‘rock friends’ who have invited me to play and jam with my electric violin, and that’s a great experience. However, I find more comfortable to play and jam alone with backtracks, some downloaded and other made by me. Maybe, because I’m more focused on electronic music and that’s also a great field for experimenting with many sounds and effects through the violin. I like all your tips in this article, but the last one is definitely my favorite: the gear and effects! Fuzz, overdrive, amp simulators, delay… 😀

    Well, I’ve been reviewing the sheet music that I won in your contest, everything is fine and I’m really enjoying them! Thanks again! RockTheViolin is a great website and I wish it continues to grow this year that is starting. My best wishes for you and all your projects in this 2017, Mariana!


    1. Thank you for your kind words! It’s people like you, who support us, that makes it all worth it 🙂

      I’m glad you’re enjoying the songs, keep on rockin’ 😉

      Everything you say is true: even if you’ve already “started” playing rock on the violin, it’s good to think of all the ways you can practise.

      Electronic music is also cool, I love it too! Like you said, it gives you a lot more room to experiment – specially if you’re a gear nut 😉

      Have fun, try new things, jam , expand those horizons and rock on, my friend! 😉

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