Printer-friendly version

Interview with Emily Williams: Violinist, Teacher and Author of 'The Beginning Violinist'

Zlata Brouwer

Written by
Published: September 25, 2014 at 8:10 AM [UTC]

There are hundreds of violin method books in the market and it’s almost impossible to find something that is really really new and different. Although there is so much high quality material available, violin teacher Emily Williams noticed some gaps:

  • People who are taught strictly classically, often can’t play anything without sheet music

  • People who are taught very strictly in the Suzuki method, often can’t read notes well and can’t figure out a piece from sheet music themselves

  • Violin method books focus on the A and E strings, while there aren’t many pieces on the G and D string

  • Violin method books are almost entirely focussed on major keys and classical chord progressions, which makes it difficult to play in other modalities and keys

  • Books look like they are made for children, with lots of illustrations and a childish layout. Children can get distracted by it and loose their focus on the music. Adults are ashamed to show their violin book to friends

  • Students often don’t develop musical and technical independence

  • These gaps can cause that students ‘hit a wall’ and are demotivated to continue playing the violin or viola

Filling these gaps creates more fulfillment and enjoyment for students and makes it more likely that they continue playing for the rest of their lives.

beginning violinist bookEmily realized that it wouldn’t make sense to write another violin method book. Instead she wrote companion book that can be used in combination with any method book.

This companion book, ‘The Beginning Violinist - A companion book for children and adults’, fills in the gaps mentioned above and gives students a solid foundation.

Her husband Dr. Benjamin Williams, being a professional composer, created musical accessable pieces that are fun to play and widen the tonal horizon of students.

With seven hours of time difference I interviewed the author via Skype just as I teach Skype lessons to students worldwide. In the interview she shares a lot about her background, what she missed in her violin education, her motivation to give her students a solid foundation, the philosophy behind the book, music education and violin education in general.

The interview is interesting to watch for teachers AND students.

“My goals as a teacher is to make myself obsolete. My desire is that my students gain independence.”

Would you like to read more about violinist and teacher Emily Williams, her violin studio in Missisippi and her other musical activities? Would you like to order the book ‘The Beginning Violinist’? Or would you like to contact Emily? Find all about it on Emily's website:

Is this useful to you? Please let me know in the comments below!



PS: Have you invented a product or service that violin and viola players can benefit from? Have you invented an accessory (mute, chinrest, case, whatever), written a book, recorded a CD or made something beautiful that serves violinists and violists. Just e-mail me at

If I think your product or service is interesting for the viewers of Violin Lounge TV, I might invite you for an interview. Being interviewed on Violin Lounge TV will get you visibility and sales. In this way I hope to support innovation in the area of violin and viola playing.

PS2: Take a look at more interviews I did here!

This entry has been archived and is no longer accepting comments.

Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram Email is made possible by...

Shar Music
Shar Music: Check out our selection of Celtic music

Pirastro Strings
Pirastro Strings

JR Judd Violins
JR Judd Violins

Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra
Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra

Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases
Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases Summer Music Programs Directory
Find a Summer Music Program Shopping Guide Shopping Guide

The Wallis Presents

Metzler Violin Shop

Southwest Strings

Bobelock Cases

Johnson String Instrument/Carriage House Violins

Jargar Strings

Bay Fine Strings Violin Shop


Los Angeles Violin Shop


String Masters

Nazareth Gevorkian Violins

Laurie's Books

Discover the best of in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews. Interviews Volume 1 Interviews Volume 1, with introduction by Hilary Hahn Interviews Volume 2 Interviews Volume 2, with introduction by Rachel Barton Pine