The Violin Lesson Plan

Instructor: Suzanne Rose

Suzanne has taught all levels PK-graduate school and has a PhD in Instructional Systems Design. She currently teachers literacy courses to preservice and inservice teachers.

Activities in this lesson plan will support your students' learning of the parts of the violin as well as vocabulary related to bowing and playing the violin. Students will use music-related vocabulary to discuss the history, sound, and playing of the violin.

Learning Objectives

As a result of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • identify a violin
  • identify and label the parts of a violin
  • give a brief history of the violin
  • identify and understand terminology related to string instruments and the violin


60-90 minutes

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.1

Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.1

Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 9-10 topics, texts, and issues, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.9-10.4

Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grades 9-10 reading and content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies.

Materials Needed

  • Projector or SMART Board
  • Computer
  • Internet access
  • The Violin: History & Facts text lesson
  • A violin or picture of a violin
  • Pictures of a viola, cello and bass
  • 'Parts of the violin' handout (1 per student)
  • Vocabulary words, written one word per sticky note
  • Whiteboard or blackboard
  • Vocabulary word cards (vocabulary words and the names of the parts of the violin, written one word on each index card)


  • Bartok Pizzicato
  • Bass
  • Bow
  • Cello
  • Chromatic
  • Détaché
  • Harmonics
  • Legato
  • Microtones
  • Pizzicato
  • Ponticello
  • Scordatura
  • Soprano
  • Snap pizzicato
  • Staccato
  • Strumming
  • Treble clef
  • Viola
  • Violin



  • To introduce the lesson, play a piece of violin music, such as the fifth movement of Bach's 'Partita No. 2 in D minor.'
  • Ask the students if they know what instrument is playing. Write their guesses on the board.
  • If possible, hold up a real violin. If one is not available, hold up a photo of a violin. Circle the word 'violin' on the list of student guesses written on the board.
  • Ask students what they know about the violin to activate their prior knowledge on the topic.

Text Lesson

  • Display the text lesson, The Violin: History & Facts, using a projector or SMART Board.
  • Ask a student to read aloud the first section of the lesson, 'What Is A Violin,' while the other students read along silently.
  • Discuss this section of the lessons by asking questions, such as:
    • To what family of instruments does the violin belong?
    • What are some other members of that family of instruments? (As the students name the other instruments, show photographs of each one.)
    • How are the other instruments similar to a violin? How are they different?
    • The lesson provides a quote that says, 'the violin represents one of the greatest triumphs of instrument making.' What evidence from this section of the lesson supports that statement?
  • Continue with the text lesson, having another student read aloud the 'Where Did It Come From?' section while the other students read along silently.
  • Discuss this section with questions, such as:
    • When was the first violin made?
    • Why isn't it possible to know when the first violin was made?
    • When were the first violins that look like the modern violin made? Where?
  • Continue with the text lesson, having another student read aloud the 'How is it Played?' section while the other students read along silently.
  • Draw the students' attention to the image in the lesson of the man playing the violin. Discuss how the violin is held and played using this photograph.
  • Discuss this section with questions, such as:
    • Which hand controls the bow?
    • What are some different kinds of bowing techniques that can be used?
    • What are some different variations of plucking techniques that can be used?
    • Why is it important that there are so many different ways to play the violin?
  • Return to the lesson and read aloud the rest of the lesson while the students follow along silently.
  • Point to the image of the treble clef in the lesson.
  • Ask the students to define the words 'scordatura' and 'harmonics' based on the context of the lesson.
  • Show the students the photograph in the lesson that shows the parts of the violin. Give each student a copy of the 'parts of the violin' handout, which you have created or obtained online. Show the violin and all its parts, but do not put the names on the handout--just blank lines.
  • Have the students write in the names of each part of the violin as you point to it in the photograph and describe its role/usage.

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