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The Pros and Cons of Selecting the Violin

Thomas McGregor

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Published: August 25, 2014 at 6:15 AM [UTC]

Before I get criticized on the title alone, let me clarify the purpose of this article. Many students going into middle and high school are asking this question. They want to honestly know the pros and cons to selecting the violin as their instrument as choice. I admit, I am bias in the sense that I think more strings in schools will only benefit children and the future of music. However, just as in anything there are both pros and cons to participating in an activity. And even though it would be very hard for me to find a con with playing the violin, playing the instrument may not best fit a student and, this we must recognize.

In the interest of fairness I've enlisted in some discussions that actual students made regarding the choice of violin as their instrument of choice in school. This will give you further insight in as to how students are thinking. Therefore, after some investigating, I found the following conversation on an forum of youngsters, specifically designed for discussions of this nature.

Online Violin Pros/Cons Conversations:

"I already am a grade5 piano, grade2 clarinet and sax have tried guitar and cant get it but ive always wanted to play violin - pros and cons?"

"Cons: You have to tune every time that you play (or at least you should tune)
You have to acquire a good feedback loop between your left hand and your ear to play in tune, even if the violin is in tune
Bowing involves considerable technique

Pros: There is more great music that requires a violin than there is requiring any other instrument
It's a relatively small and light instrument to carry around"

*You now play a 4th instrument and that looks good on a college resume.
*When you start dating (assuming you are young) you can serenade your girlfriend with the violin.
*You can get a good paying job at a fancy restaurant for playing the violin (there aren't a lot of willing violin players).
*You can make new friends when you take classes.
*You will be made fun of.
*It may be hard and you might get frustrated with it.

Be persistent and have fun with it. Do what you want to do and don't give up."

As mentors and educators, what can we bring to the table when presented with the same question by a student? The best action we can take is to be honest. But also to present many other instrument options as alternatives. When these instruments are brought up as options, the pros and cons should be shared as well. The goal here is to be honest with students no matter our personal disposition, because everyone needs to find their voice - their unique voice.

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