Singing or Piano with Violin

(34 Posts)
JellybeansInTheSky Mon 23-Feb-15 23:05:31

DD aged 7 is about to do grade 2 violin. She has been learning for 18 months. She seems pretty keen on music. She is doing a children's orchestra on Saturdays and a choir and another orchestra (if you can call it that....) at school. Assuming she passes the exam as her teacher expects I thought it might be a good time to start piano. She is however keen on singing lessons which would be through the school. She sings well and in tune.

I guess i just feel it takes years to learn to play the piano well so it isn't something that is easy to pick up later on. I think she is quite keen on playing the piano but isn't so keen on the idea of practising two instruments.

She has non musical hobbies too and time and money aren't limitless.

Shedding Mon 23-Feb-15 23:31:49

Piano definitely I would say, no benefit to starting singing lessons now. I let dd fall into singing lessons at her music service at 8 as they were super cheap, then they went and changed the pricing structure dramatically but she would now be devastated to give them up but would be better off doing piano. I feel like the individual singing lessons are a slight waste of money on top of a decent choir but others may disagree? I equally wouldn't push the piano if she isn't keen though, as she advances with her violin and theory, might the advantages of studying piano become more obvious to her?

JellybeansInTheSky Tue 24-Feb-15 06:29:13

Shedding, that sounds somewhat similar to our situation with the singing lessons. They would start as a group lesson and be cheap but if she did well they would eventually become individual and expensive. I haven't even thought about theory yet. Does your daughter's singing require a lot of practice?

Noteventhebestdrummer Tue 24-Feb-15 07:10:03

I teach violin and singing and I think she should do piano!

Eastpoint Tue 24-Feb-15 07:13:44

Definitely piano as it will help with theory & composition.

LineRunner Tue 24-Feb-15 07:25:25

My DD is now 18, and did all three throughout the primary school years, plus guitar and drums (!). The only one she has kept up in latter years is singing, but being able to read music is a huge bonus.

I know what you mean about there being a limit on time and money. In secondary school especially she had to focus on Eng and Maths (and had extra tuition) as well as working at all the other subjects, and she was in a drama and singing group, so the instruments fell by the wayside. Great experience, though.

Shedding Tue 24-Feb-15 07:39:56

No practice really except for what she would be doing anyway warbling in her bedroom! Occasional word learning blasts. I assume it helps with elements of the instrumental exams too, we've only just started with them. She is just starting to learn to read her singing music so I justify it to myself a little as her instrument is bass clef so she might find the piano easier to learn when we can afford it!

JellybeansInTheSky Tue 24-Feb-15 08:23:54

I can definitely see how singing is useful with the violin. Handy for aurals and also I imagine it must help with intonation.

But actually she can sing quite well already with no lessons but the piano is quite different.

I can also imagine it is possible to have singing lessons as a teenager to improve technique but learning to play the piano well if you don't start until then would be harder.

Fleurdelise Tue 24-Feb-15 08:30:19

Dd (7yo) is doing piano and singing. Initially we wanted to introduce violin however it requires practice like any other instrument and we can't see it happening as she already has moments when she is practising piano for an hour every day (generally is more like 30 min but she has moments when she likes to spend more at the piano).

Of course singing requires practice also but it is more done for fun (group lessons rather than individual) so I don't mind if she doesn't doesn't practice at all.

Once she'll be around grade 3 piano we may think about violin lessons again only if she believes she can offer a similar commitment to it as with the piano as it is more expensive than singing.

If time would be no issue then we would probably prefer two instruments as she is already in the school choir.

Bonsoir Tue 24-Feb-15 08:30:54

My DD does singing, piano and music theory (sight reading etc). We've always tried to do it in as low pressure (fun) way as possible although, as she is 10, we need to start rearranging it a bit and doing more exams. Singing and piano are a great combination. I'm not so sure about singing and violin.

Megan001 Tue 24-Feb-15 08:33:23

My dd 14 has been doing violin for years. She loves to practice and it takes up some time . She dropped a lot of extra curricular as she was fwd up running around to everything. She is in the school choir this year and spends hours practising with them. She is also in the orchestra through her music school. She can play the piano but gave up at grade 3 as she found it was too time consuming also. She might go back to it though as she would like to do teaching down the road.

Seeline Tue 24-Feb-15 08:56:53

there is no point in making your DD do piano if she doesn't want to. It needs a lot of practice which might be hard to fit in around violin practice. My DD wants to learn piano (has been for 5 years) but 'finding time' to practice is increasingly difficult (she is Y6 now).
DS is musical, and tried several instruments but never got into the practice mode grin He now has singing lessons, which suit him brilliantly as there is very little practice required. He sings in a very good choir at school, but because of the hectic schedule, they spend time learning new pieces and don't really concentrate on technique so the lessons are really useful.

mom17 Tue 24-Feb-15 09:18:43

Fleurdelise, I see that your daughter is appearing for Grade-1 exam in march, can you pls. share what all books/extra pieces she has done before starting exam pieces ?

JellybeansInTheSky Tue 24-Feb-15 09:56:54

Seeline, she does want to learn the piano but isn't sure about practising two instruments. She enjoys singing and sees it probably correctly as less work.

Assuming the grade 2 violin goes well I will probably keep her on the waiting list for school singing lessons and suggest that I think the piano would be a good idea but only if she is going to practice it.

I think she would be quite good. She picks out some of the violin tunes she plays on our piano by ear. But obviously it would be her practising it and not me.

balletgirlmum Tue 24-Feb-15 09:59:55

I would save singing lessons until she is a little bit older, msybe around 10-11 years as its not always beneficial to start too early.

Fleurdelise Tue 24-Feb-15 10:56:21

Mom17 dd's teacher recommended Schaum A the red book as a method book which she has now almost finished, this came after the first book by John Thompson was completed. She has also done Czerny studies (op 823 The Little Pianist) some Christmas carols around Christmas time from various books.

She ten started grade 1 pieces around November time along Czerny and the method book (A the red book-Schaum) and since January it was mainly exam work with a bit of Czerny here and there.

Fleurdelise Tue 24-Feb-15 10:57:30

*then

Apologies for spelling errors, typing from my phone.

mom17 Tue 24-Feb-15 11:03:35

Thx Fleurdelise. can I contact u for few songs I need if you don't mind?

adarkwhisperinthewoodwasheard Tue 24-Feb-15 12:21:19

Singing lessons too early can damage the voice. Choir is much more beneficial imo at this age. Piano gives a good all-round musical base. I say this as someone who had piano and violin lessons from age 6/7 and sang in choirs from then too. Singing lessons from 16yo. I then spent most of my 20s working as a musician/composer and session singer

JellybeansInTheSky Tue 24-Feb-15 13:12:27

Adarkwhisper, do you really think singing lessons given by a proper teacher in a small group could damage a child's voice? How would it be different from singing in a choir? I assumed it would be very similar just with a bit more personal attention.

morethanpotatoprints Tue 24-Feb-15 13:21:50

At 7 my dd was doing violin, piano and singing she added saxophone at 9.

singing lessons can be a bit of a waste at this age as there is so little they can do and unless the teacher is a specialist could cause more harm than good.
Any good teacher won't train the voice until 16+ so until then you benefit from good musicianship and a growing repertoire, that you can also gain from a good choir. There are very few specialist singing teachers, it took us 4 years to find one.
On the other hand piano is really essential for learning how music works and being able to practice and relate to the theory of music.

balletgirlmum Tue 24-Feb-15 14:07:50

I don't agree that singing lessons can damage a young voice if the lesson is taught by an experienced teacher who knows about pedagogy & physiology

However most young children are unable to process/understand much about actual singing technique other than the basics of starting to develop pitch etc. They learn through fun games a&e exercises best at a young age often delivered better in a group situation.

Where you run the risk is an inexperienced teacher who doesn't necessarily know how to explain a particular technique properly or a child attempting to do something that is beyond them at their stage of development.

Mistigri Tue 24-Feb-15 14:31:04

I'd say piano too, but I don't think there is any desperate rush unless you think your daughter has potential for a musical career. Children who already play one instrument to a decent level often pick up second and subsequent instruments rather quickly, especially if they are a bit older and/ or very motivated.

adarkwhisperinthewoodwasheard Tue 24-Feb-15 15:22:03

Yes I do. As a pp said many singing teachers won't take on students under 16 for this reason. A child's vocal chords are delicate and easily damaged so post puberty is better. Choral singing teaches harmony and puts far less pressure on individual voices than singing lessons. That said, group lessons might not be so bad, as long as there's no too much emphasis on solos, as 'belting it out' too often is frequently what causes the damage

morethanpotatoprints Wed 25-Feb-15 22:03:54

adarkwhisper

I can totally agree with this, my dd has a gift for singing, her voice is really astonishing, and it is very mature for her age.
We are so wary of not allowing people to push her voice and found that singing teachers per se were very hit and miss tbh.
Unsuitable material, encouraging reaching for low notes and leaving the natural voice.
it is what she wants to do as a profession so I don't care who tells her to push harder, sing unnaturally I'll take them on grin
I heard the head of a conservatoire vocal dept state that when they finished there, their voices were ready to begin to develop. grin She said that the thirties were when the voice had properly matured. In fairness, this was classically trained voices.
Singing is lovely for dc and even having lessons is ok if they aren't being pushed and the emphasis is building suitable repertoire and gaining musicianship.

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