Tonebase Violin Lessons: A Comprehensive Review of the Popular Platform
We take a look at the tonebase violin lessons offer, discuss the platform’s other features, pricing, as well as read some user reviews.
Thanks to the recent emergence of online music lessons platforms, music education’s got an exciting new dimension.
Offering a more convenient (and often much more affordable) alternative to traditional in-person lessons, these websites allow people to pursue their musical interests more easily. With a wide range of instructors and a diverse choice of materials, the options for music students and lovers have never been more accessible.
The tonebase platform, founded in 2017, is the most polished product of this kind yet, offering lessons for violinists of all kinds: casual players, students, and the pros.
In this tonebase review, we’ll be taking a look at the platform’s violin lessons, extra features, subscription options, and read some user reviews.
Tonebase was founded by classical guitarists Christopher Garwood and Igor Lichtman, together with developer Abhi Nayar.
The trio met during their studies at Yale, where Lichtman and Garwood started discussing the idea of a more decentralized approach to quality music education.
This idea eventually became the core of tonebase. The platform’s founders believe that everyone should have access to great education, regardless of their location or budget.
This approach, in the end, also made tonebase stand out from the rest of the competition. Tonebase’s instructors are not your everyday music teachers — the platform is home to first-class performers and professors from some of the most prestigious U.S. schools.
As Igor Lichtman summed up tonebase’s mission for Classical Guitar Magazine: “At the end of the day we hope to create a platform with educational content from the best artists in the world, tailored to the needs of our global user base, within an engaged, beautiful, and interactive environment. We believe technology can be leveraged effectively to open access, and Tonebase’s mission is to democratize high-level music education around the world.”
Tonebase Violin Lessons: Features and Benefits
Tonebase’s violin lessons are one of the website’s newer additions — this side of the platform was only just launched in July of 2022. Before that, tonebase specialized as a classical guitar and piano lessons platform.
And unlike the platform’s piano lessons offer, which focuses mostly on intermediate and advanced players, tonebase’s violin lessons library includes a large amount of instructional videos that center on technique basics. This makes it a very helpful tool for beginners or those who want to iron out the finer details of their playing.
For example, here are some great violin lessons for beginners you can find on tonebase:
a walkthrough of Dounis’s core left-hand and right-hand exercises (by Nancy Zhou);
the basics of bowing in 14 steps — for those of us with especially rigid right wrists (by Giora Schmidt);
and an elementary practice toolkit (by Eric Silberger).
In addition to these core technical skills, there are also plenty of insightful videos dedicated to the nuances of interpretation. You’ll be able to find talks and demonstrations of how to play some repertoire essentials: from audition staples such as Accolay’s Concerto no. 1 in A minor, to crowd-pleasers like Tchaikovsky’s Concerto in D major.
The lesson library also ventures outside of classical repertoire. Gilles Apap talks about the violin’s role in Celtic, Irish, and Indian music, while Aleksey Igudesman covers the interpretation of more contemporary, eclectically-styled pieces.
This variety of skillbuilding and repertoire-focused lessons gives the user plenty of options. You can use tonebase for a variety of purposes: iron out your technique, learn new pieces from scratch, or discover something new about the music you thought you already knew well.
It helps that the platform’s interface is extremely user-friendly. The lesson videos blend the teachers’ presentations with additional information, and are interactive to an extent, allowing the user to zoom in on the score, add bookmarks, or even take notes.
However, while the platform’s design is very impressive, tonebase’s best asset remains the quality of its teachers. The impeccably produced and edited videos just help the website stand out from the rest of the online music lessons market.
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Quality of Tonebase Violin Teachers: Violin Greats
As the library of tonebase’s violin lessons is still being built, you’ll see a lot of “upcoming” announcements of cool things to come. For now, tonebase’s violin teachers are still a small ensemble.
But, we can already say that the website is host to a bunch of fresh faces and exciting personalities, like Nancy Zhou, Charles Young, and William Hagen.
There are also other notable figures that will instantly stand out when you look over the lesson library: David Kim, concertmaster of the Philadelphia Orchestra, Vijay Gupta, Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra alumni, and Yale’s own Ani Kavafian and Augustin Hadelich.
Each of these internationally renowned musicians brings something unique to the table. In their videos, they discuss their individual approaches to the violin and the lessons they picked up during their careers — revealing entirely new layers of meaning in violin repertoire standards.
Some of our highlights include David Kim’s insider look at orchestral parts of Mozart’s Violin Concerto no. 4 in D major, Grigory Kalinovsku’s lecture on tone color as a means of expression, and Vijay Gupta’s dynamic approach to Bach’s Adagio from his Sonata No. 3 in C Major.
Complementary Resources: Scores, Notes, Workbooks and Community
Since it’s still the early days of violin lessons on tonebase, there is a limited amount of supplementary material the platform provides in addition to their video violin lessons.
On the Resources page of the violin lessons’ section of the website, you’re currently only able to access tonebase’s violin blog. There you’ll find plenty of useful written material on playing the violin, like discussions of the finer points of right- and left-hand technique and lesson previews.
Other resources, such as the score library and workbooks, are reportedly in the works — but not yet available.
Tonebase Violin Lessons: Reviews and Testimonials
You don’t have to take just our word for it.
In addition to the 5-star reviews you’ll find on tonebase’s website, we’ve also compiled some testimonials from other corners of the internet:
“Tonebase channel has been an amazing recent discovery. The amount of musical insight available here is astounding.” – sehetw, Twitter
“Tonebase has some really good videos. As a professional, I’m constantly revisiting basics and always honing in on little issues – and a lot of the basics videos are really great – especially as my teaching career gets deeper and deeper.” – Astrnougat, r/violinist
“Listen to Augustin Hadelich’s instructional videos on here. And of course his performances. He is phenomenal on both levels.” – Benji Toumekiyan, YouTube
Tonebase Violin Lessons: Pricing and Value
Tonebase’s pricing comes in 3 subscription packages: Monthly ($49.95), Yearly ($24.95), and Lifetime (one-time payment of $695). There is a 14-day free trial available.
Subscriptions can be canceled any time. However, the platform currently does not offer partial refunds on Yearly or Lifetime memberships after the 14-day free trial period.
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Final Thoughts: Are Tonebase Violin Lessons Right for You?
Tonebase is a great music education platform — and we’re very interested in seeing how their violin lessons offer is going to further grow and develop in the future.
While the number of lessons, teachers, and other violin-related assets currently available is a bit smaller than what tonebase’s guitar and piano students have access to, they’re still very impressive.
Tonebase’s virtual violin lessons are insightful and well-produced, covering a broad range of topics. They can be used to go back to basics and check up on any technical issues you might have, or discover new perspectives on how to make your playing more expressive and intentional.
If you’re a violin hobbyist seeking guidance that doesn’t require excessive commitment on your end, or a professional player that doesn’t have time to attend pricy masterclasses, we recommend trying tonebase violin lessons.