Playing the Violin is Cool!

April 27, 2004 at 08:53 PM · My seven year old daughter who has loved playing the violin has become concerned that it is not "cool". A visit to Cora Venus Lunny's site has helped considerably (thanks CVL!)and I was curious whether there are other sites out there which may keep her interest up. Any favorites?

Replies (41)

April 27, 2004 at 08:58 PM · Try Sheila's Corner?

http://www.bright.net/~hhelser/

April 27, 2004 at 09:01 PM · I would recommend that you expose her to as much live performance as possible.

April 27, 2004 at 09:20 PM · lock her in her room till she decides its cool ;)

show her a heifetz video recording...thats how i started

April 27, 2004 at 09:58 PM · I highly recommend the new Julia Fischer DVD of the Vivaldi Four Seasons.She wears a different, lovely outfit for each season and plays beautifully.Seems to me to be just the right performance to entice a young girl with the joy of violin playing.

April 28, 2004 at 02:02 AM · I'd recommend the Lara St. John 'Re: Bach' album...my non-violin (but woodwind oriented) 12-yr. old daughter just loves it.

April 28, 2004 at 02:18 AM · I don't know how cool it is, but my kids all love the story of "little Bobo" by Serena Romerelli. Even my 13 year old will stop and listen when I read it to her younger siblings.

April 28, 2004 at 02:10 PM · Playing the violin probably isn't cool when you're 7 years old. I think the problem is the perception of your 7 year old's peers. Nothing you do will change that. I started taking classical piano lessons when I was 8 (against my wishes) and I hated it. After 4 years I quit. Then I took up the guitar when I was 14 because it was cool. Later on I took up piano again so I could play Billy Joel and Elton John songs ... you know, the cool stuff. Now I've come full circle in my 40s and am studying classical again - this time on the violin. It's not cool, but it's something I want to do, and those 4 years of piano as a kid gave me the foundation in music and music theory that I needed to succeed with other instruments. Sometimes kids just have to do things that aren't cool because their parents said so and their parents know what's best. Okay, maybe that's not much help, but it's my opinion.

April 28, 2004 at 04:48 AM · Maxim Vengerov website has plenty of his performance clips.

I think the website is this:

www.maximvengerov.net

April 28, 2004 at 05:02 AM · Seeing live performances is always inspiring, and, depending on the situation, perhaps the two of you could go backstage after the concert and meet the artist(s). As a little kid, that was the coolest thing I experienced, getting an autograph on the program and saying hi to a performer. (Unfortuately, I was still a bad child and didn't really get serious about violin until age 16..) Many orchestras have children's outreach concerts for the express purpose of getting kids excited about music.

Also, what about watching other kids perform? Watching regional youth orchestra or high school solo/ensemble competitions could let her see what kids not much older than she can accomplish. Music camps are good too, later on maybe.

April 28, 2004 at 11:27 AM · I agree about "Sheila's corner" - seems to be a really nice place for young violinists.

If you don't mind introducing a little "fiddle" influence, I'd also recommend taking her to one of the "Barrage" concerts, or even getting one of their videos for her. Here is a link to their website:

http://www.barrage.org/

They are a high energy group that both kids and adults enjoy.

Tim

April 28, 2004 at 03:04 PM · You can show her these, and tell her when she's older she can buy one of these, but only if she learns how to play. These are the coolest violins I've ever seen!

http://website.lineone.net/~violin/gallery.htm

I'm planning on buying an electric violin for myself for Christmas this year. I guess I want to be cool, too! Just kidding, violin is cool. You can try Vanessa Mae's music to show her cool, too!

April 28, 2004 at 03:20 PM · The possibility of it not being cool is something that can be kept in mind (though I was cool when I started playing violin and now progressed to a geek as a pre-teen and teen), but I would say one really great thing to do, would be to take her to a youth orchestra concert sometime so she can see that younger people play, and the regular symphony is also I think a great turn on when they are doing some of the more Pops style pieces and lighter symphonies of HAydn and Mozart.

It was a combination of seeing fiddle players at a parade and attending a symphony concert when I was very little that led me to the love affair with the instrument!

April 29, 2004 at 12:16 AM · miriben-ari.com ..you're daughter will probably dig her

and if not markwood.com ..the violins always look slick

April 29, 2004 at 12:32 AM · In today's society being a talented musician is not considered "cool" but that should never keep anyone from keeping at their dream or love. When your a musician it's not about being cool, it's about playing music for other people to enjoy and love...maybe even enough for them to want to pick up an instrument.

April 29, 2004 at 01:09 AM · The other way of making it look cool to play the violin is through Vanessa Mae and Bond. It will definitely get her attention.

When she begins with classical violin lessons, she'll later discover that classical violin music is much cool-er than pop violin music... I hope.

I have a 5 year-old nephew who is exposed to piano and violin music because of me. Every time I asked which he is interested to learn, he always says the violin and not the piano (I wonder why). I think it's about the right age for him to start his lessons.

Good luck with your daughter!

April 29, 2004 at 01:44 AM · Okay, I have to say something about being cool. Playing the violin is not cool. I think when people try to make it cool, they only make it worse. What she has to understand is that trying to be "cool" is not cool.

April 29, 2004 at 02:50 AM · I think I've finally learned that...

...just in time to teach it to my kids...

;)

April 29, 2004 at 02:43 AM · I agree, the "cool" factor is tough. It wasn't cool to be a violinist when I was a kid either. That was reserved for other instruments. I toted my violin all over the place, it was like another limb, but I knew my friends weren't wishing they could play too (or WERE they??).. Life became easier once I was able to make friends with other violin students. If she didn't enjoy it I'd say it was pretty cut and dry. The fact that she does enjoy the violin says that there's a great life lesson in store for her if she can endure the feeling of not being cool and keep playing.

April 29, 2004 at 05:27 AM · When I was 10 years old, my best friend and I played in the school orchestra, it was cool. My mom had to always ask us to stop playing our violins - especially when we wanted her to listen to an hour long concert that had only an hour or less of practice. Then we moved. None of my friends played the violin in Calgary. The schools didn't have string programs and it wasn't cool. It was only cool when I had a friend to share it with.

April 29, 2004 at 06:57 AM · i think you all are dead wrong..play the violin is cool, altough using the word "cool" is kinda "played out" as well, its one of the most used instruments in the world, practically in every region....I've hung around alot of diff. people and music types and have NEVER received any criticism with the hip hop crowd, jazz crowd, heavy metal crowd, sports crowd..people seem to respond once you play live for them. This is just my experience

April 29, 2004 at 11:39 AM · Sure, WE know that to be true amongst adults which is why Peggy is asking for suggestions of how to keep her daughter interested. Question is how do you convince a 7 year old with friends the same age assuming they do not play the violin also and therefore can not relate to her on that particular level? The violin makes her "different".

April 29, 2004 at 12:54 PM · Is your daughter involved in group lessons or chamber or anything with other string players? If she feels disconnected from her peers, she may feel that violin is torture. But if she is connected to her peers through violin, and if some of them play better than she does, she'll not only enjoy playing, but self-start in taking her violin out of the case more. I've seen it happen again and again at the ages of 6 and 7...

Live performances and great recordings are definitely necessary, and cool websites are a bonus, but I think right now she needs to play with people her age.

Of course now would be the time for me to plug the Suzuki Method, but there are other ways of getting her involved in chamber playing. There are also fun summer camps and festivals a click or two away...

Best of luck,

K

April 29, 2004 at 04:34 PM · Since it's her peers' influence on her which worries you, or at least makes you wonder where her violin-is-uncool ideas come from, why not offer her friends (and their parents) a joint night at the symphony when some exciting soloist is performing? Taking your daughter to a concert is a wonderful thing, of course, letting her experience the excitement of a live performance. But since she'll not be able to transmit the excitement of a live concert to her friends, let that be their shared experience.

But please, please PLEASE make sure that the soloist who's playing is someone interesting, exciting to watch, with a programme that will not go over little kids' heads. The Berg concerto is probably best avoided (!) and taking them to a pop-violin concert is equally inadvisable. The former because it's too intellectually demanding of the listener, the latter because they're not being sold on the violin but on the pop element. And remember that not every world-famous soloist is necessarily the most exciting to watch and hear live.

Finally, if the work on the programme is something either very virtuosic (e.g. Paganini) or at least very Romantic and - to put it bluntly - loud and fast (e.g. Tchaikovsky), chances are the excitement of the work, the performance, and the shared atmosphere of a concert hall may well make converts of her peers. Which, in turn, would give her a peer support group in school.

April 29, 2004 at 05:03 PM · well, MY friends think playing the violin is cool, even if they've never tried it.

April 29, 2004 at 06:07 PM · Oh yes, my friends think it's cool, too. I am also one of the only violinists around. It was a different story in grade school through high school. I spent all those years wanting to be cool but not being able to help but be the person that I was-- artist, musician, intellectual. I had some friends, but we were definitely not cool. Now, as I see cheerleaders at the local high school, I think, I am ten years out of high school and still playing, and how many high school cheerleaders are still just as cool as they were ten years ago? I scoff at all the "cool" people. Being cool is all about attitude, anyway.

April 29, 2004 at 07:18 PM · Violin playing is very cool. It was cool in my high school. It wasn't so cool when I started at 9, but I picked the violin myself, so according to my parents, I had to stick with it! Once I joined the youth orchestra in 5th grade, I got to play with all the kids in my school district and then I really liked it! I got to play with other kids my age. By the time I got to high school, I had no issues wondering if it was cool. It made me special in a good way, also music was cool at my school. We had a great band and a mediocre football team! My daughter isn't going to get to think violin isn't going to get a chance to think violin playing is uncool! I'm getting her a tiny violin and starting her as soon as she's ready to mimic me! I won't make her stick with it, though, only if she wants to. Ultimately, she'll get to pick her main instrument!

April 29, 2004 at 08:42 PM · whatever you do, don't make up a rap about it to try to make it cool...

for the love of prunes, don't.

April 29, 2004 at 11:25 PM · The pursuit of coolness is just plain uncool.

May 1, 2004 at 05:19 AM · coolness is a state of mind, alhtough sunglasses help a lot i've heard.

May 1, 2004 at 02:18 PM · Oh they do! I feel much cooler when I wear mine...(I'm the obvious geek with the sunglasses on...) ;)

May 1, 2004 at 05:37 PM · if im ever in saskatchahoochie (something like that) i'll look for you ;)

May 1, 2004 at 08:36 PM · Oh, that's good, I'll have to remember that pronunciation.

May 1, 2004 at 09:34 PM · You can't miss me...:)

May 1, 2004 at 10:51 PM · i tried typing it twice, and gave up

May 7, 2004 at 01:43 PM · Thanks for your comments! Now for an update on my daughter. Seems the advice has helped. She has decided that violin playing is compatible with her new goal of being an astronaut (violins being easily transported into outerspace). Further, now being intrigued with the electric violin, she is energetically embracing her quarter-size violin with the understanding that she has to grow into a full-size before she can take an electric violin to rock 'n roll camp. Suzuki book 3 has never sounded so alive! Thanks again!

May 7, 2004 at 03:23 PM · When the downbeat is a blastoff you are really making music!Onward and upward!

May 7, 2004 at 05:46 PM · :) she sounds like a very cool kid!

May 7, 2004 at 09:44 PM · Greetings,

I understand sound does not travel in space so everyone is going to come out of this a winner,

Cheers,

Buri

May 8, 2004 at 01:44 AM · Peggy, I love it..sounds intriguing to me too! (leave it to a child's imagination, eh?) Nice job.

June 10, 2004 at 06:36 PM · Okay get a CD player...buy Itzhak Perlman's recording of Pag.'s 24 caprices...play away...if shes got any of the want to be bard like in her she will fall in love with it! yay;)

June 10, 2004 at 07:52 PM · Nah..get Micheal Rabins recording, better musicality and for the most part technique

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