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Can I Afford for My Child to Learn to Play the Violin?

When your child expresses an interest in learning to play a musical instrument, most parents are thrilled. Knowing how a music education can improve scholastic, social, and physical health, it’s natural to want to support such a beneficial activity. However, when your child says that he or she wants to learn the violin, many parents wonder if they can afford to support what’s commonly perceived as a very expensive undertaking.

While the answer to this question is highly subjective, you can get an idea of the cost as it relates to your family’s budget by understanding what’s involved. Because with the right information, you can ensure that you make the best decision for your student and your family.

Advantages of a Music Education

Learning to play the violin has the power to generate an immediate improvement in grades. Indeed, recent studies support the idea that music training helps build enhanced comprehension, reading and mathematics skills. However, new research also suggests that music training develops life-long cognitive benefits, helping prevent memory loss in the aging brain.

Furthermore, learning to play a musical instrument develops the skills sets that college admissions boards and future employers look for in candidates.

Common Misconceptions

Many people mistakenly believe that you have to pay thousands of dollars for a quality beginner instrument, or that the time commitment will interfere with other activities. However, there are now quality brand violin outfits available for under $600 (an outfit includes a hard case, bow, and rosin). And, since it’s important for music students to stay the course as long as possible, these instruments offer superior craftsmanship, rich tones, and excellent playability, which is perfect for encouraging beginner students.

Cost Considerations

Making a decision about choosing violin training involves considering all of the possible expenses involved. With careful deliberation, you can make the best choice for your family and for your musically inclined progeny by calculating things like:

Lesson options—Does your child’s school offer a string program that will provide the initial instruction, or will you need to arrange for private lessons? Many schools do include strings as a part of their music curriculum, but you should take into account how long your student will be enrolled. If necessary, you may want to start putting some funds aside to cover private lessons later. However, if the school does not offer a string program, talk to your local instrument dealer about instructors in your area. And although rates vary according to location, frequency, and other factors, you can expect to pay around $40-$100 per month for private violin lessons.

Buy or Rent—As was mentioned, you can purchase a quality violin outfit for less than $600, but before making such a large commitment, many parents want to ensure that their child will stick with it. Rental instruments are a great way to provide your child with a quality violin without incurring huge up-front expenses. Most dealers offer flexible rental plans for about $15-$35 per month. Check with your local provider for specifics. Also, keep in mind that instrument insurance may or may not be included in the monthly rental rate. If it isn’t, you may want to contact your home-owners insurance about adding the violin to your list of assets in case of an accident. Also, be sure to support your child’s proper care and maintenance of the instrument.

Repairs and Maintenance—Don’t forget to factor in the time you’ll need to spend commuting to lessons and the costs for any possible repairs. Violins are susceptible to changes in temperature, so occasionally, you’ll need to order minor adjustments. These costs are fairly minimal, usually under $20.

By taking the time to consider all of the costs and benefits of learning the violin, you can make a decision that will fit your family’s budget and support your child’s interests. Indeed, you may discover that learning the violin is less expensive than you thought.Parent resources