Lorrie Gunn - children's lessons & play-along videos expert

Learn to play La Cucaracha with your violin

Play the popular Mexican song with your violin

In this video, Lorrie teaches you how to play "La Cucaracha" in an easy-to-learn violin arrangement. Perfect for Cinco de Mayo!

Released on May 5, 2021

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DISCLAIMER: The views and the opinions expressed in this video are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Virtual Sheet Music and its employees.

Video Transcription

Hello, fellow violin lovers. I'm here today to teach you how to play a great Mexican song called La Cucaracha, otherwise known as The Cockroach. And at the end, I'm going to go over two problems with the song. There's one spot in the song that we will be using three different strings plus a low second finger on the A string.

And I would like to go over that spot right away so that when we get to it in the song, you will have already worked on it. The fingering is going to start on the third finger on the A string. We're going to play a three, then lift up your left hand and move your bow to the A string to play open E, come back to the A string, put down your third finger, play that, and then you're going to use a low second finger, so move it back by the first finger, play the two. Good. Lift up the second finger, play the one, play no fingers on the A string, and come right over to the D string and play three fingers. So, this is a really nice area of the song where you will learn three strings. You will play three strings and it's a great spot.

Let's go to the beginning, and what we're going to do is start with no fingers. And I like to start on an up bow and play three open D strings. So, let's try that. We're going to play O, O, O. Next I'll put down three fingers on the D, and then a first finger on the A. Excellent. What we'll do here is go back to the D string, and we're going to do another up-bow. So, we play three more open Ds. And we play the three on the D again, and go to the A; first finger.

Go back to the D string, put down all three of your fingers carefully on the D, and we're going to play each one twice. Three, three, two, two, one, one, O. Going on, we'll play three open Ds. O, now two, and move your bow to the A and play just the A string, and now go back to the D. O, O, O. Two on the D. And then A. Now, here is the spot we warmed up. We're going to use all three strings, starting on the A. Three, go to the E, back to the three, make a low two, one, O, and three.

That is the first section. And we have one more section to go. We're going to play two open Ds. O, O. Two third fingers on the D. Two first fingers on the A. A three on the A. A one on the A. A three on the A. An E zero. Back to the three. A low two, one, three, low two, open A. Roll your bow to the D, open D. Two fingers on the D, go to the A string, open. And now, here's a low two, and a open A. Here we have three fingers on the A. Go to the E string. Back to the A three, low two, one, O, and a one on the A, and over to the D string three.

That is it. That is the whole song. And you want to keep practicing it until it's smooth. Now let's talk about the problems quickly. The cockroach in this song could possibly be scary, but he's not because he's missing legs. Yes. Some of his legs are gone. He's having trouble dancing and doing all the things he needs to do in the song. So, do not worry about that anymore. But, the other problem is this song is often played by mariachi bands, which have wonderful violinists bowing away, and they wear a great costume, which includes a hat.

So, here I have my mariachi hat, okay? Now here's the problem. I cannot bow with my hat. Watch this. Even my special spot we warmed up. Uh oh. I can't. Uh oh. This is a problem. So, if you're going to perform this piece with a hat, you better practice ahead of time. Let's give a little try at the beginning here. Uh oh. I better not look this way. Maybe I'll tip my head. Okay. Woo! Get away. Well, I hope you do a better job using your hat and playing this song.

If you want, there is a free sheet music download for the music in this video from virtualsheetmusic.com.
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