Are You Making These Mistakes When Teaching a 3 to 5-Year-Old Violin Beginner?


Are you making these mistakes when teaching young violin beginners?

Keep reading to find out what these mistakes could be and what steps you can take to fix them.

mistakes when teaching violin beginners

Routines develop consistency. At this age they need the security of feeling that they know what’s coming and what they’re supposed to do.

This is also the age of play. Everything can be learned through play. Sitting for more than 5 minutes in one spot might be a very big challenge for the 3-5 yr old.

Choose activities that can be taught through play – kids love catching ball, hopping, pretend flying, crafts, cutting, painting, drawing, gardening, stacking blocks.

How can you incorporate some of these fun activities, that are a natural part of their daily experiences, into the student’s musical journey? The best activities will includerepetition and simplicity. 

Do you need more ideas specific to violin? I’ve got you covered! Download 20 fun activities that you can use with your young violin beginners and keep your students engaged through fun and games.

mistakes when teaching young violin beginners

The 3-5 yr olds are learning to become self-sufficient at this age, and are learning how to interact with their peers. They’re developing their imagination and they’re learning to participate and cooperate with others. They’re also learning about patience, and are learning how to follow rules and manage emotions.

We tend to fall into the trap of believing that kids are being uncooperative when they’re really just being a kid their age.

When you see that your 3-year-old student is looking for more independence, becomes frustrated when disappointed, or is constantly repeating the word ‘no,’ or might refuse to share, don’t fret. It’s normal behavior for this age!

Take these opportunities to help them develop as persons. If they make a mistake, treat them gently, and take it as an opportunity for new learning. Avoid having so many rules, but be consistent with the few that you have. Limit choices, and create rituals.

The 4 year-olds will continue testing their boundaries and might become defiant or bossy if they don’t like something. Take advantage of the fact that they like to help out, and enjoy playing with others. Set rules but be gentle when they get it wrong, and let them know how much you believe in them. Just be consistent.

The 5 year-olds will have a longer attention span, but will still feel exhausted after long activities that require extended attention spans. Give the 5 year-olds chances to move around, opportunities to take turns, work together with others, and learn how to win and lose.

mistakes when teaching 3 - 5 year old violin beginner

Education has really changed since I was a kid. How many countless hours did I spend in a classroom looking at a board, or just listening to the teacher’s lectures? I can safely say that I remember the teachers’ face and voice, but I remember nothing of what was being taught.

The best learning happens when you engage all the senses, not just vision or auditory.

In Multiple Intelligences” by Howard Gardner you can read strong reasons why including many ways of teaching one thing will cater to the strengths of all your students. 

Integrating Gardner’s theories into your teaching will allow for the success of all your students when you help them learn in ways that they are good at.

Many music methods incorporate multi-sensory learning, such as Suzuki Method, Kodaly, Dalcroze, and Orff.

Sing, clap, play it on an instrument, use body solfege, walk the rhythms, write them, cut them out, keeping the beat on different parts of the body, showing physically high and low sounds.

Don’t forget to download 20 fun activities that you can use with your young violin beginners.

 mistakes when teaching pre-twinkle violin students

Having students take ownership of their learning is an amazing way to allow discovery to happen. Much has been said about discovery learning, and the benefits are endless.

When students are encouraged to find the answers and are gently guided along the way, they feel happy and confident in their abilities.

In music, applying the discovery principles can help students understand musical concepts, such as note reading, dynamics, rhythm, beat, and so much more.

Use different ways to incorporate this into your teaching. Instead of saying what it is, have students experience it first, and then you can give it a name.

For example, a rest. How can you help your students experience a rest? After they have assimilated it, they can learn that it’s called ‘rest.’

mistakes when teaching 3 - 5 year old violin beginner

Children learn so well by singing! When a tune is attached to words, it just makes more sense to a child.  It really sticks more easily in their brains. Even for an adult, the power of singing helps information to remain for longer.

At this stage, kids love to sing and see it like a game. Teachers use singing to teach math, spelling, difficult concepts, etc.

We have an advantage as music teachers – as violin teachers, we have wonderful beginning repertoire to use with our students that incorporate lyrics to the melodies.

If not, you can make up your own, and encourage the child to help you create something as well. They come up with the funniest things!

mistakes when teaching pre-twinkle violin

Through laughter and even silliness, you can encourage the desired behavior. You can help students along by using humor and creating a relaxed and fun feeling during your lessons.

Little kids especially love playfulness, and thoroughly enjoy learning this way. Voice inflections, funny words, silly faces – all can bring the joy of learning into your lesson.

One of my favorite ways to teach correct posture on the violin is to use the idea of a troll playing the violin. Just imagine how badly he holds the bow, and how terribly he moves the bow across the strings. I even imitate the troll and kids love it, and it really brings the point across!

If you’d like more fun words to reinforce posture points in your lesson you can read about my 16 Catchy Phrases to Teach Posture to a Violin Beginner to get more ideas! 

And don’t forget to check out 20 fun activities that you can use with your young violin beginners


Teaching a young violin beginner requires an important dosage of skill. But if you apply the concepts of play & fun, and incorporate age appropriate activities into your teaching you’ll be able to engage the young student’s attention and accomplish all the tiny step-by-step goals that you set for your beginner.  


Now tell us, what are you doing in your lessons with 3-5-year-olds to engage their attention?

Write in the comments below and share your experiences with us.

We’d love to hear about your ideas! 


Did you forget to download 20 fun activities that you can use with your young violin beginners

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