QuestionMusic for Young Children
My child wants to play violin but I think that instrument is too hard. Should she play something easier like the drums?
What the Expert Says
By Joey Lye
Founder and Principal of Juzmusic Academy
Masters in Music, Bachelor in Music from University of Houston, USA, Suzuki certified (Piano, Early Childhood Education)
Expert in Suzuki method, Music education, curriculum and performance
You did not mention the age of your child. But the violin is a great first instrument for even the youngest musician. It comes in many sizes and is fit to the size of the child.
Choose the Right Size for your Kid
For example a 5-year-old can typically fit a 1/8 size violin, and a 12-year-old would be using a ¾ to full-size violin. Choosing the right size is crucial as the child needs to be able to comfortably move his left hand and fingers along the entire neck of the violin, and to do so the left hand must be mobile. If the child is unable to bend the left elbow and hold the instrument properly, she won’t be able to play the notes correctly.
The violin is a common instrument to start with, especially through methods of teaching such as the Suzuki method. This method teaches playing by the ear through constant exposure to good recordings. Progress in learning is made through repetitive exercises and confidence building. The Suzuki method has proven to be especially successful with young children, but is applicable to all, even adults.
The violin is a melodious instrument and there is a lot of music written for the instrument. It is portable and relatively affordable for a beginner instrument. It would also be a great instrument for those who would like to play in a string ensemble or an orchestra.
Go for the Sound, Not the Appearance
Each instrument has its own charm and challenges. For some, the drums can be very difficult, for others it is easy. The important thing is for you and your child to find an instrument that produces the kind of sound you want to make rather than the instrument’s appearance or reputation as difficult or easy.
Find a music school that allows you to try out different instruments before making a decision. All the best!
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