How Can I Help My Child Enjoy Playing The Violin?
Learning to play the violin is an excellent tool for heightening child development. It has the ability to improve academic performances, build social and group communication skills that are crucial for future success, and enhance upper body strength. Plus, playing a musical instrument like the violin gives children the opportunity to express their emotions, which may be difficult to verbalize, in a healthy way.
Yet, with all of the benefits that can be gained by learning to play the violin, many children, after an initial enthusiasm, eventually view practices as a chore. Indeed, a chore that becomes boring and ends-up being just another part of school, rather than a fun escape from their studies. Therefore, many parents wonder how they can help their child enjoy playing the violin.
If that describes your situation, you’re not alone. These tips, techniques, and activities can help you encourage your child and provide the impetus to continue practicing despite any little discouragement or natural antipathy.
Provide the Proper Tools
One of the most common complaints about playing the violin stems from the quality of the instrument used. Very inexpensive beginner instruments (less than $400) are often very difficult to play, and the sounds produced leave listeners (and musicians) grimacing.
You can avoid this problem by purchasing or renting a quality crafted violin that sounds great and is easy to play. Certain brands offer an affordable solution for beginners by utilizing superior grade tonewoods during the manufacturing process, and then relying on a professional Luthier to conduct the fitting out steps. By combining the best of both worlds, these brands are able to offer splendid violin outfits from around $500, and the difference these instruments make in playability, projection, and tonal quality is well worth the investment. Your child will discover new talents that will spark an enjoyment that simply isn’t available using an inferior violin.
The type of bow and strings used on the violin can also have a big impact on how easy it is to play and how rich, full, and pleasing it sounds. If you’ve already purchased an instrument, you may want to try upgrading the strings or purchasing a better quality carbon fiber bow. These changes can often make an incredible difference in playing enjoyment.
Introduce New Learning Techniques
This generation’s kids are completely comfortable with technology, and you can use that familiarity to increase your child’s enjoyment in playing the violin. There are literally hundreds of smart phone and tablet apps that can be used to teach fingering positions and develop intonation. You can find one that your child will use and download it, or let your child browse the various options and make his own selection.
There are also many computer based learning programs that make memorizing musical notation fun and easy. Depending on your child’s age, you can find violin lessons free online, or search for a program to purchase and download that will encourage your child to practice and make progress.
Just like everyone, it’s much easier to motivate someone when you add an incentive. Since you know your child best, offer practice rewards based on the time completed, or mastery achieved. For example, you can create a play chart that your child can fill in. When he or she has played for a certain number of hours, a reward is earned. Perhaps you might offer a one week exemption from a particularly despised chore, or after “x” minutes of practice, you child can stay up an extra hour past bedtime. Or you can download free violin sheet music. Once your child has mastered a specific piece, the reward can be something suitable to the difficulty. The important thing to remember is to make the incentive attainable, and worth it.
By creating incentives to practice and learn new techniques, you’re actually building your child’s sense of responsibility and commitment. Your child has control over whether or not he or she earns those coveted rewards.
You can help your child enjoy playing the violin by making his or her progress a matter of family concern and by providing the tools that will foster advancement. The more progress your child makes, the more enthusiasm you’ll see.