Which Violin Should I Buy For My Child?
Learning to play the violin provides significant benefits in a child’s development. Not only can this versatile instrument improve social and physical capabilities, the violin is able to enhance cognitive thought processes related to math and other curriculum performances.
Yet, many parents are understandably bewildered when deciding on which violin they should purchase for their child. With practically no universal standards, choosing a violin can be tricky. And assuredly, listening to your child struggling to practice on the wrong sort will be true penance.
This list of general guidelines can steer you in the right direction, but it’s always a good idea to speak with your child’s instructor or a qualified violin dealer about further specifics.
Age Appropriate Violins
The violin is unlike most instruments in that it is very important to purchase the right size. Too large a violin can not only cause playing difficulties, it can lead to serious physical injury.
Violins are available in fractional sizes, the largest being a full size instrument (4/4), but depending on your child’s age, you probably won’t be purchasing that size just yet. Although there are more, these are the most typical sizes according to age group:
- 1/16—very young children, ages 3-5
- 1/2—ages 7-9
- 3/4—9-12 years
- 7/8—teens and some adults
Again, keep in mind that this is only a general guideline. Your child may require a violin smaller or larger depending on his or her specific growth rate.
Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced
Often, you’ll see violins listed according to the violinist’s skill level. This can be a bit confusing. Obviously you need a violin for a beginner, but just what does that mean?
In previous years, beginner violins were listed as such for size or tonal quality. And, it usually meant that the sounds produced on these instruments weren’t very lovely. Resonance qualities were lacking, and other inferiorities made them only useful for a person who had never played before.
However, there are now many excellent beginner violins on the market. Manufactured Name Brand models that are finely crafted of quality tonewoods and then fitted out by an experienced Luthier (Stringed instrument artisan) are the best choice for a new beginner. They are available in kits that contain a quality bow, case, and violin so that you don’t have struggle through finding the right bow.
If you’re thinking that a less expensive model might do the trick for the first few years, be aware that a sub-standard violin will produce sub-standard results. They create numerous playing difficulties (learning proper bowing techniques, etc.) and the sounds produced make it extremely difficult for your budding musician to develop his or her intonation.
Options for Beginners
Leasing programs also offer another great option for beginners. If your child isn’t exactly sure about the violin, leasing a quality instrument for six months or a year might be the best solution.
However, if your child knows exactly what he or she wants, an investment in a quality crafted beginner violin will reap major rewards. When a violin sounds rich and beautiful, and it’s easy to play and keep in tune, it’s more fun to practice, and subsequently, your child will progress quicker.
Before you settle on the first instrument that seems like a reasonable choice, keep in mind these few tips:
- Play it before you buy it—violins all have their own unique “voice.”
- Take along other ears—for the same reason. Your impression might be slightly different from someone else’s.
- Search around and ask advice—depending on where you live, there are many stringed instrument dealers, and most all of them will be happy to demonstrate specific models and explain the differences in the violins they carry.
Knowing how to play the violin will offer your child lifelong benefits. The advantages of music instruction can enhance your child’s academic performance, improve posture, and help develop social skills (when playing in groups), as well as provide a healthy outlet for all sorts of emotions. Start your budding genius out right by giving him or her a quality instrument that will provide endless enjoyment.