1st Violin for 4yo girl
I'm new here so I hope this is the appropriate forum for this question.
My wife and I are considering purchasing a beginner violin for our four year old girl. My wife (the musician [me, not so much]) suggests a 1/8, but neither of us know much more than that as far as where to begin. I suggested, to encourage more interest that we try to find one in pink, but as you can imagine, most of those seem a bit "toy-ish."
So the question is, "where do we begin?" Can we find a decent pink violin somewhere? Do we bite the bullet and just buy a more typical wood look? In the back of my mind I'm thinking, "If she doesn't take to it, I don't want to have wasted the money on a good instrument." Of course, we can sell it, but not nearly for it's new value I'm sure.
Thank you very much for any input.
1. Please, do not buy a pink violin. What will make a violin pink will also spoil its sound quality. The size of the violin you buy should depend on the length of her left arm - so measure the distance from her neck to the palm of her left hand extended in front of her - the violin should be that long from the "bottom" (at the chinrest) to the end of the scroll.
I think you would be best served by first finding a teacher. One that has experience with that age can help you decide on a suitable size. You can then chose to rent, purchase new, or see if a nice used one is available somewhere. A violin without a proper teacher will lead to a mountain of frustration.
As a carpenter, I can definitely appreciate your aversion towards a colored instrument. And the affect to the sound makes perfect sense.
I'm concerned about the frustration as well, Timothy. My personality was not conducive to musical instruments because I couldn't play it the first time I picked it up. I wanted instant gratification, so I didn't stick with any instruments I started.
1/8 might be too big for a 4 year old
Oh, I see! that is a tough one to navigate. While it is a very heartfelt gift, it is not an ideal situation. Things that can help are exchange policies, understanding of all parties, and some hoping for the best. I do applaud that you are nurturing her musical interests. It is a very beneficial enhancement to life.
Timothy Jayne gave you the right info. Get a teacher. Suzuki programs are generally good because in addition to private lessons there are group lessons which is good for social interaction. Make sure the teacher is a certified Suzuki teacher. https://suzukiassociation.org/find-a-suzuki-teacher/ is useful. Also, don't buy, rent from a reputable instrument dealer. Perhaps ask the grandparents to pay for the rental, rather than buying.An example of a good shop in Houston, for instance is Lisle Violins. https://violins.com/ .
You have gotten good advice.
As a teacher, I agree with everyone saying find a teacher first and renting a violin. However, if the grandparents are determined to buy a violin, I would suggest a Franz Hoffman Amadeus outfit from Shar music. Unless your daughter is very tall for her age, I would suggest a 1/16th size (very few 4 year olds in my experience, are big enough for a 1/8th violin).
Can the grandparents be persuaded with something like: there are very many options of violins out there, you want to check with a teacher to make sure the one you're buying will be helpful to her learning, not make it more difficult?
I remember going to my local violin shop years ago, and the lady from the shop was showing a young boy and his mother the different instruments in the shop. She showed him a violin, and played some tunes for him. She then showed him a cello, and again the lady from the shop played some tunes for him on the cello. I believe the boy ultimately chose the cello.
A quality, full-service string instrument shop will have a rental/exchange or rent-to-buy program, that builds some cash value and allows you to trade up in sizes as she grows. They can also help choose the correct size to start. It is better to have an instrument too small than too large.
My youngest started on a pink FOAM violin, which is a great option for learning posture and playing around with the idea of the violin. I'm only seeing them in blue right now, but you can see the idea here: https://www.young-musicians.com/Foamalin-TM-Pre-Twinkle-Violin-Trainer-Bow-p/fg2.htm
What everyone above said.
Speaking as a violinist and the parent of a child who just turned 4 and started Suzuki violin lessons a few weeks before his birthday:
Hm. My son's first violin at age 3,5 was 1/16, and he had it for almost two years, then 1/8 for half a year, 1/4 for a year now, and we are about to switch to 1/2.
Good shops either include the insurance in the rental price, or it's a nominal additional fee. Shops expect that instruments for little kids get dinged up. The one my son has been French-polished in various places to deal with dings, and there are places where there might have been slight damage to the wood (not in sonically meaningful ways, but subtle cosmetic damage from having it banged into something).
"If she doesn't take to it, I don't want to have wasted the money on a good instrument."
Keep in mind that any pink violin bought from the www will not be set up to playable condition. For the money you'd have to spend to get that little piece of junk properly set up (if possible at all...) you could rent a fractional for quite some time.
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