Violinist and Teacher in Tucson, AZ

Violin Sheet Music

Saturday, May 15th, 2010

Back when I was studying violin as a teen, the way you got sheet music was to go down to the local music store, usually with the name of the piece that your teacher just told you to get written down on a piece of paper, and look it up. If they didn’t have it in stock, you would go to one of the clerks in the store, and ask to have it special-ordered for you. Over a period of about 15 years, I spent over $1000 on sheet music, most of which I still have, although it’s not in very good shape after all these years. That would be the equivalent of about $10,000 in today’s money, if not more.

To replace nearly all of that sheet music today would cost — about $100. That’s not a typo, and I didn’t accidentally leave out a couple of zeros. In fact, I have bought a collection of sheet music that not only replaces about 80% of my paper collection, but more than triples the number of pieces in my collection, all for about $80, from an outfit called These folks sell public domain music (in collections that they have copyrighted, licensed, and made a bit cumbersome to access, which I regard as a bit tacky) on CDROMs, for about $20 each (plus shipping). For all of the tacky trappings, just a few of those CDROMs will furnish you most of the material you will need to study for decades — for practically any instrument. So, I regard that as a pretty good deal, and I recommend those folks to all of my violin and viola students once they get close to the end of Essential Elements 2000 Book 2 for violin or Essential Elements 2000 Book 2 for viola. I don’t get any commission for recommending, although if you get the Essential Elements books through my link at Amazon, I do make a little commission from that.

As good a resource as is, I have recently found one much better: Virtual Sheet Music – Classical Sheet Music Downloads. For $38, you can download as many items from their collection as you want — for a year, after which they want $25/year. While they don’t have everything that CDSheetmusic has, they do have some things that doesn’t, and they are adding new stuff all the time. In addition to the PDF of the sheet music you are after, you can also get an MP3 recording, and MIDI files. You can use those MIDI files to get your computer to play accompaniments for you, and vary the speed to your needs. For me, that’s a BIGGIE.

I signed up last week, and I really wish I’d done it a couple of months ago. I did the 1st movement of the Bach Double along with Leann Cupp (who I am currently recommending as a teacher because my own teaching schedule is completely full) at my last recital, and due to our busy schedules, we didn’t get as much rehearsal time together as we really wanted. One of the first things I downloaded was the Bach Double. The MIDI files would have enabled both of us to practice along with the complementary part on our own schedules. Oh, well… We plan to do all three movements of the Double at my Fall recital, and those MIDI files will help us a lot. Disclaimer: If you buy anything from via my link, I get a commission. But I joined their affiliate program because I like the product, not the other way around.

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