|When Should A child Start to Play the violin|
We are often asked, "What age should my child start to learn to play the violin?". The optimal age for children to begin learning the violin is often debated among teachers, but the answer is fairly simple.
You should start teaching your child violin as young as possible. 3 years old is very common, but children can start getting the feel of the violin even earlier.
Why start your child on violin so early?
We encourage kids to start playing violin very early. It is widely known that young children are like sponges, but you should also know that young children have very good natural pitch for singing. This instinct should be nurtured as early as possible before it fades, as it almost always does if not nurtured. Of course, it is not to late to start at 5 or even 7. These 10 year old child prodigies you see playing the violin on YouTube are not exactly born with a supernatural talent for the violin. they have just been playing for 7 years, every day or so. Just think of what you might be good at if you did it every day for 7 years. This could be your child with just a little effort.
DVD and Books, or Private Violin Lessons?
Hopefully we have motivated you a little. You will need to decide whether you want your child to start learning with a professional violin teacher, or if you would like to get started with a violin lesson DVD and/or a violin lesson book and CD . My daughter started with a DVD at 6 years old and then started taking lessons from a teacher about a year later. You will need to be involved either way. The DVD will be cheaper but at some point your child will need private lessons.
Music lessons from a private teacher start at about $35 an hour or $20 a half hour. They go up from there. The cost of the lessons do not necessarily indicate the quality of the teacher. One hour per lesson, once per week is standard. Daily practice is mandatory. We recommend finding a violin teacher who has experience teaching young children. Check their references and do your due diligence. Just like with school, you are ultimately responsible for your own child's education.
How to choose the correct size of violin for your young child
Violins come in more variety of sizes than any other popular instrument. You may have seen fractions next to the selections of violins in stores. These fractions, such as 4/4, 3/4, 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/10, 1/16, and sometimes even 1/32 are the scale length (size) of the violin . 4/4 is a full size adult violin and the sizes get smaller from there. In order to find the correct size of violin for your child you will need to measure your child's left arm from the base of his neck to the center of the palm of his hand. We have a violin sizing chart on our website. Using this method of measurement, the length of your child's arm should be somewhere between 14 and 22 inches depending on the age of your child.
a 3 year old will usually need a 1/16 size violin
Naturally, children are different sizes and grow at different rates so you really need to do the arm measurement technique first.
My child playing the violin is going to cost me a fortune!!
I know what you must be thinking after reading about the private lessons and all of the different violin sizes. You will need a new violin every couple of years. But it doesn't have to break the bank. As mentioned before, lessons on DVD and books are a terrific value. Your child can learn so much from these, especially in the beginning. You'll learn too. And it will cost a fraction of private lessons. They are not a replacement for a teacher, but you can find out if your child is cut out for it (you will be pleasantly surprised, I think) and get him used to the instrument before spending the money on an instructor.
Buying a Violin
Violins can be very expensive. And I'm not just talking about the million dollar Stradivarius sold at Christie's of London. The average European-made violin starts at about $1,200. If your child starts at 3 years old and you purchase standard quality European-made violins along the way, by the time your child is 12 you will have spent over $10,000 on violins that your child has outgrown. These instruments do not rise in value like their 17th century counterparts. So while you should be able to sell them on Craigslist for 1/2 to 3/4 of their original value, it is still an expensive proposition. Child size or short-scale violins are not cheaper than full size violins. The effort to make these small violins is the same or more than the full size ones and the materials used are not significantly less.
Renting a Violin
Renting a violin may seem like a good option. it is usually not. Instrument rentals are one of the musical instrument industries dirty little secrets.
Get a quality violin at a discount price
Ok, so the first two options are not for you? You child can still learn the violin. European violin designs are now being hand-made in China and some other Asian countries. These violins also come in a variety of price points but are significantly less expensive. Korea and China make the best affordable violins. Indonesian violins are not up to par in our experience. The Korean violins tend to cost more than the Chinese violins, mainly because Korea's economy is stronger than China's, not necessarily because of the quality of the violins. China is a country that is mad about the violin. Introduced to China in the 19th century, the violin is the most popular western instrument in China and they have been making them for over 100 years. So buying an affordable Chinese-made violin based upon a European design and luthier techniques is what we recommend
Here is a CBS news story about the quality of Chinese violins
Either way, don't let cost be a barrier to starting your child playing the violin from a young age. If you can afford to spend money on the best teachers and most expensive instruments then go for it. If you need alternatives, that is what we are here for.