When you’re a parent whose child is about to start violin lessons, buying the right instrument without spending too much might get to be a bit of a challenge, especially if you haven’t had anything to do with music before.¨
Just which made and size should one go for in order to facilitate their child’s learning experience without getting ripped off by the ‘experts’ in the music shops?
And does it even make a difference?
I mean, let’s be honest, for the first few years, no matter how keen the child or how good the teacher, it will still sound pretty squeaky and scratchy and your neighbours will perhaps be looking for alternative housing.
This is absolutely normal though, as the violin is famous for being an instrument that takes many years to master, with even conservatoire-level students messing up every now and then. And if you’re wandering at this point if it’s even worth it encouraging you child to study the violin, the general answer is a definite yes, as musical education will bring him or her much more than just playing skills, as it has been shown in countless studies by researchers.
SO DOES THE INSTRUMENT MAKE A DIFFERENCE?
In a nutshell – no – provided that the child is young and a beginner; it does not matter very much what violin you get, as long as it is the right size.
HOW DO I KNOW WHICH VIOLIN SIZE TO GET FOR MY CHILD?
It cannot be emphasized enough how important it is to not be overtly keen and get a larger violin that will sound slightly better (usually the larger the violin, the nicer the sound, but not always) to the detriment of a good posture, which is all-important in the early formative years of learning the violin.
As a rule of thumb, in terms of size, have your child extend his or her left arm sideways and put one of the possible violins for purchase under the chin. If the violin goes beyond the length of the extended arm, then it is too big. If it doesn’t reach the wrist, it is too small.
So basically the goldilocks place where the violin should get is your child’s palm. Then you know it is the right size.
HOW MUCH MONEY SHOULD I SPENT ON MY CHILD’S VIOLIN?
In terms of price, it is safe to say that you should go cheap, as no real difference can be heard in the actual aural output of the instrument, especially with a beginner.
One of the things that zealous parents do is they get very excited to buy the best thing for their kids (who doesn’t want that) and end up spending hundreds of pounds on stuff what wouldn’t have to cost more than a few tens. You child is going to overgrow the beginner violin very soon anyway, so what’s really the point of spending so much on something that will not even last that long?
All being said, get your child a violin that they like as well – perhaps get him or her to choose it – as this will certainly help them enjoy the learning process and be motivated to practice.