Conventional wisdom says that, if you’re going to learn the violin, you’d better go the classical route. Get proper training. Learn the right technique. Play the works of master composers. All else is not as useful for one’s tutelage.
This perspective is valuable, but many teachers and students alike are starting to figure out that incorporating pop and rock songs, nursery rhymes, TV, and movie themes, and even video game music into their development makes the process of learning exciting and fun.
So, here you will find a mix of easy violin songs well suited to beginners – pop, rock, classical, nursery rhyme, film music, and more. Let’s get into it.
“Another One Bites The Dust” by Queen
Queen’s “Another One Bites The Dust” features a bass line packed with swagger. The rhythm section, in fact, carries most of the song as singer Freddie Mercury vocalizes the aggressive lyrics. The funky guitar is just there for texture and color (but the right kind of color for sure).
The melody, however, isn’t that hard to replicate on the violin. And let’s face it – much of what you will find yourself playing on the violin are melody lines. So, this is excellent practice.
There are easier songs on this list, to be sure, but this is a fun one to undertake.
“Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” by The Beatles
Beatles songs have memorable melodies that are deeply ingrained in pop culture and form the foundation of most if not all popular music generally. And oftentimes, the more you’ve heard specific songs, the more likely you are to be able to play them with ease. Meaning – Beatles songs are, in a way, part of your musical lexicon already.
Again, your focus here will be on the melody. The video above is an excellent demonstration of what’s possible, but it’s obviously being played by someone with more experience, as it contains looping, double stops, and other modern approaches and techniques. Start simply, and don’t attempt this version first.
“Lean On Me” by Bill Withers
Bill Withers’ “Lean On Me” is an R&B singalong classic. It features an easy groove and a great, ascending-descending riff. The melody is straightforward and repetitive, and that, not surprisingly, makes it great for the beginner violinist.
The video shows a beginner playing “Lean On Me,” so this is a good level of playing to aspire to, especially if you’re just getting started. The violin takes time, so take it one day at a time!
“Firework” by Katy Perry
Katy Perry’s infectious, bright, and colorful bubblegum pop caught on like wildfire in the late 2000s and its popularity continues to this day. And all this was in no small part thanks to her strong light lyric soprano vocal performance.
Of course, amid the party anthems, love songs, and scandalous scorchers, there had to be an inspirational ballad, and in due course it took the form of “Firework.” Although it’s almost like a spin on the snowflake, “you’re a unique individual” sentiment of the late 2010s, it still seems genuine in its message.
Either way, its melody is beautiful, and a slightly challenging but rewarding one to learn on your violin.
“I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz
Beach bum vocal virtuoso Jason Mraz has graced our ears with plenty of ear candy over the years, and the easy, cutesy pop love song, “I’m Yours” has come to represent his very career. Although, knowing Mraz, I’m probably underexplaining what the song really means to him.
But it should not come as any surprise that the melody would prove straightforward and repetitive. Just be sure to inject the playfulness and whimsicalness of the original, and you will have captured the feel of the song to great effect.
“My Heart Will Go On” by Celine Dion
Even violin teachers sometimes teach Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On” (of Titanic fame) to their pupil as their first song! That tells you a lot already.
Canadian singer Celine Dion is an acquired taste, for sure, but the melody to the dramatic “My Heart Will Go On” is a perfect match to the resonant sound of the violin. It’s a great way to give another expression to the wistfulness already present in the song.
“Hedwig’s Theme” by John Williams
We all know of the explosive and enduring popularity of the expansive fantasy world of Harry Potter. And if you are a fan, you will probably remember this dramatic piece from the films.
It was expertly composed by none other than the legendary John Williams, whose work includes Star Wars, Superman, Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park, E.T., and many, many others. In many ways, films would not be what they are today without Williams.
Having listened to this theme myself, I can’t imagine that all of it is easy, but if you’ve gained some confidence on your instrument and you’re ready for more, this would be a great project to undertake.
“Can You Feel The Love Tonight” by Elton John
You’ll remember this iconic tune from Disney’s The Lion King, the 1994 musical family film. “Can You Feel The Love Tonight” is sung by the illustrious Elton John, whose influence on expert piano playing and raucous rock and roll is undeniable.
Here we have a more subdued, ballad-oriented tune with a slow, gentle, contemplative, and distinctive melody.
Playing it with skill and finesse will take time, but all good things do take effort. Start slow, and gradually build up to speed.
“Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen
Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” may not be the most covered tune of all time, but it’s certainly up there. That may have something to do with its poetic lyrics and simple beauty, built off just five easy chords. There’s plenty of room for the melody to shine.
Cohen’s songs all tended to feature a gentle tempo, and “Hallelujah” is no exception. That makes the melody easy to follow along with.
“La Vie en rose” by Édith Piaf
“La Vie en rose,” or literally translated, “Life in pink,” was the signature tune of French singer Édith Piaf and was originally popularized in 1946 and released the following year. It rose to popularity in the US in 1950 with multiple versions ranking in the Billboard charts.
The song features an iconic, memorable melody and listening to it, you really do feel like you’re seeing life in happy hues.
This is an excellent tune for every violinist to take on.
“Scarborough Fair” by Simon & Garfunkel
Folk duo Simon & Garfunkel struck a chord with their audiences, in no small part thanks to their stunning harmonies. “Scarborough Fair” is a traditional English ballad, whose exact origins are unknown, but Simon & Garfunkel’s version, is quite possibly the definitive version.
On the violin, it sounds just as mysterious as the original if not more so. It’s haunting and beautiful, and it’s another beginner essential.
“Ode To Joy” by Ludwig van Beethoven
There are both easier and harder renditions of Ludwig van Beethoven’s “Ode To Joy,” but that should not come as a surprise. Classical composers were often musical geniuses, virtuosos and multi-instrumentalists unto themselves, writing for multiple instruments, and entire symphony orchestras.
Learning classical music isn’t everyone’s thing, but there’s no denying that “Ode To Joy” is an excellent starting point for most instrumentalists, a tool worth adding to your kit.
“Spring” by Antonio Vivaldi
Vivaldi’s “Spring” is from The Four Seasons, one of our violin concertos composed by Italian composer Antonio Vivaldi. If the name doesn’t immediately ring a bell, don’t worry – just have a listen to the song. You should recognize it.
“Spring” moves at a quicker pace than “Ode To Joy,” and is therefore a step up from the same. You should not take this on as your first song, but once you’ve gained some confidence on the violin, you should begin work on it. Of course, anything is possible if taken one note at a time, so if you’re eager to work on it, begin slowly and build up from there.
“Amazing Grace” by John Newton
John Newton’s Christian hymn, “Amazing Grace” is revered as a thing of musical, lyrical, and spiritual beauty, and whenever skilled vocalists and musicians take to it, they seem to elevate it to new, soulful heights of wonder and inspiration.
At core, it is not a difficult song, and it is a melody every musician should know inside and out. This is a fine song to learn in your early development too.
“Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars
Funk has always been one of my favorite styles of music. I like most things with a danceable groove, and let’s face it – music with a good groove is just so much fun to play!
Funk music hasn’t exactly been in the mainstream consciousness as of late, but at one point, it was consistently hitting the top of the charts. Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars played a big part in bringing it back to the attention of the masses, with swagger and great success.
As the video demonstrates, the violin brings a bit of a different flavor to the song, but in a good way. Have fun with it!
“Stairway To Heaven” by Led Zeppelin
Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway To Heaven” is largely held as one of the best classic rock songs of all time. And probably what gave it that status is the fact that it’s so different. The lyrics are mysterious. The tempo gradually builds throughout the song, and it is made up of so many different sections that gradually build into an intense crescendo.
Is it the easiest song ever written? Certainly not. But it is in the key of A minor. And that is one of the most common keys to write in.
On the violin, it’s obviously a shoo-in. Such an epic, minor key song should lend itself nicely to string instruments. The video demonstrates a relatively easy arrangement, and that gives you a sense of instant gratification. Just don’t expect it to be short. There is obviously a lot to a song that totals eight minutes in its original form.
“Hotel California” by Eagles
Here’s yet another classic rock epic. The Eagles’ “Hotel California,” like “Stairway To Heaven,” is a little different. Its message isn’t quite as mysterious, but it features an epic arrangement, complete with twin guitar solos. There are also layers of rhythm guitars supporting and complementing each other, and of course, the song comes complete with those lush, layered, trademark Eagles harmonies too.
The deep resonance of a violin plays nicely with this evocative tune. And thankfully, it isn’t too hard to play!
“Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” by Jane Taylor
As noted in the introduction, nursery rhymes are almost universally easy to play across most instruments. “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” is an excellent tune for anyone to start off their musical journey with, and the above tutorial takes you through the paces, nice and slow.
While it might seem a little silly to work on a children-oriented song, the skills you learn will translate well over to other areas. If you can play one melody, it usually opens the door to more melodies, and so on. So, never despise small beginnings.
“Shape Of You” by Ed Sheeran
For those of you who can’t get enough of modern pop, you’ll probably want to give Ed Sheeran’s “Shape Of You” a try. There are both simple and more complex versions (the video above represents a more complex version), so be sure to start with something nice and simple. Don’t over-complicate things.
That said, “Shape Of You” is very repetitive, as is the case with most pop music. So, you have that going for you even if your skills are still developing.
“Viva La Vida” by Coldplay
Bold statement: The post-U2 strains of Coldplay is universally easy. Okay, that might be a slight exaggeration. But it would be fair to say that most of their songs are built around a few simple chords.
The melody to “Viva La Vida” does sound nice when transferred over to the violin. And while there are some faster note changes, if you start off by taking it at a slower tempo, with tenacity, you should enjoy great success.
“Happy” by Pharrell Williams
I can’t say I’m a big fan of current pop trends. It’s all music, but much of it is missing artistry. Pharrell Williams’ “Happy” is still a little grating to me, but I can’t deny its appeal, and it does have a very danceable groove. It took artistry to create, as well, and I can acknowledge it for that.
On the violin, it can quickly turn into a very fun number. As the video shows, there’s plenty of room to add your own flavor to it. Just don’t attempt anything that complicated yet. Start with a simplified version and focus on the melody. That goes for all the songs here, okay?
“Blank Space” by Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift is a pivotal figure in the music industry right now, and from brokenhearted lonely girl, angsty pop-country to “I’ve earned it already” entitlement gloss pop, Taylor’s music is almost thoroughly rooted in the fundamentals of music, with very few surprises or anything out of the box. It’s safe.
“Blank Space” is mostly made up of four chords, but the melody is memorable and nicely written. No surprise, then, that it should sound great on the violin as well. Even better, it’s not too hard to play.
“Moves Like Jagger” by Maroon 5
Pop-rock / funk-rock outfit Maroon 5, at least to me, is a love it or hate it situation. What I love about their songs is the presence of groove, and what I don’t like is generally the vocal stylings of Adam Levine. “Moves Like Jagger” has groove, but the whistled hook is a little too pop even for my tastes.
My opinions aside, “Moves Like Jagger” has a simple and repetitive melody that’s relatively easy to play on the violin. So, have fun learning it!
“La Bamba” by Richie Valens
Technically, the origins of Mexican folk song “La Bamba” is unknown, but Richie Valens’ 1958 adaptation is the most popular. What we do know is that the song came from the state of Veracruz in Mexico. It’s nice to have that clear.
Either way, you will probably remember it for its catchy, three-chord structure. If it sounds like fun to sing, trust me when I say it’s just as fun, if not more so, to play it on the violin. I don’t know how you can not have fun playing “La Bamba.”
“All Of Me” by John Legend
Simple piano ballads are apparently back in vogue. John Legend’s “All Of Me” is just as dramatic as you would expect from the title, but for those quiet, evocative, “rainy night” moments, it might offer some worthy company.
Since the song is already at a slower tempo, you shouldn’t stress over the melody lines too much. Give it a try on that violin of yours!
“A Whole New World” by Alan Menken & Tim Rice
Yes, that “A Whole New World” from Disney’s 1992 animated musical fantasy-comedy, Aladdin.
I occasionally burst out into this song with it’s over-enunciated nice-guy male vocal, just for fun. You probably didn’t need to know that, though.
The melody is well-written and beautiful. It’s meant to evoke emotion, and if you let it, it will. Another great ballad to get under your fingers.
“Over The Rainbow” by Harold Arlen & Yip Harburg
You will either know this song from Judy Garland’s performance in The Wizard of Oz as Dorothy Gale, or Hawaiian vocal-ukulele legend Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwo’ole’s equally compelling “island” rendition. Either way, it’s a masterfully written song with amazing dynamics and a wonderful, longing melody.
No surprise, then, that it sounds equally amazing on the violin. Even more amazing that you can learn a song like this as a beginner!
“She Loves You” by The Beatles
Holly May (seen in the video above), sure makes this look like a fun song to play. And since it is a cheery Beatles pop classic, it’s easy to understand why.
“She Loves You” has a repeating melody hook that’s easy to grab a hold of, but there is enough movement in this song to keep your interest. As with all songs, there is always headroom for personal expression and deeper mastery too, though.
“We Will Rock You” by Queen
Queen’s “We Will Rock You” is another one of their classic, anthemic signatures, and its usage at sports arenas across the country is a thing of marvel. But given its lyrical content, it’s understandable that it would find its way there.
The original was minimal in terms of arrangement, with the stomps and claps making up the “rhythmic section,” and the closing guitar solo adding some triumphant color. The vocals, then, take center stage for most of the song.
Kimberly Hope’s rendition (seen above) is wonderfully performed and is an excellent example of what to work towards as you’re developing your skill with this classic rock tune.
Easy Violin Songs For Beginners, Final Thoughts
And now you’re set up with everything you need to get started on the violin. I can’t guarantee anything, but if you manage to learn all the above, from top to bottom, you probably stand a great chance at graduating from a beginner to intermediate violinist. How long that takes will vary a lot based on the individual. So, take your time, don’t get discouraged, don’t give up, and enjoy the process as much as you can!
There is nothing quite like the beginner experience because it’s your greatest and fastest growth period. You will keep improving if you keep going, but no one absorbs material like a beginner does.
The violin may prove a challenge at times, but it is wroth everything you put into it. Practice lots and you will go far.