Is 5 to young for the violin

(32 Posts)
ChazsBarmyArmy Sat 28-Jun-08 16:07:58

My DS (reception) has come home with a form for musical instrument teaching in Yr1. DS is a late Aug birthday so will only just be 5 when Yr1 starts. He says he wants to learn the violin but I am wondering if I should push him to start on something (I assume is) easier like the recorder. I play the flute and recorder but I don't want to push my preferences on to him.
So has anyone any experience of 5yr olds learning the violin? Is it manageable and will he be able to get a tune out of it fairly quickly or throw it across the room in frustration or get a bit fed up?
The form has to go in on Monday so any views would be much appreciated.

ChazsBarmyArmy Sat 28-Jun-08 16:14:23

Arrgh the heading should read too young. DS1 is being a typical 4yr old and jumping on the ironing pile whilst I type and has engaged DS2 (10 mnths) in a screeching contest. Deffo not sure about the violin.

SofiaAmes Sat 28-Jun-08 16:20:06

Yes. Way too young. Encourage him to do piano or recorder but make sure you tell him that when he is a little older he will be allowed to do violin. It's a really hard instrument to get a nice sound out of.
My dd (5) was desperate to play piano and she is now having private lessons, but fights me about practicing every single time. In contrast my ds (7) is playing clarinet and although I need to remind him to practice, he is never unwilling to do so. Personality-wise, I would have expected my dd to be the one to want to practice. I think the two extra years makes a huge difference.

me23 Sat 28-Jun-08 16:21:19

no my cousin started when she was just turning 5 she is 6 now and a grade 2.

katw3kitts Sat 28-Jun-08 16:22:36

We started violin in year 4.

Reception started with the ocarina and then moved onto the recorder in year 1.

Unless you are a really musical family I'd leave the violin for a couple of years. It sounds dire at first and could put them off learning any more.

halogen Sat 28-Jun-08 16:24:43

I'd let him learn what he wants to learn; he'll enjoy it more, I think. With the Suzuki method, lots of kids learn the violin as young as 5 and even before.

RTKangaMummy Sat 28-Jun-08 16:31:20

DS started with Suziki method when he was in recpetion and so he was just under 5 years

He was desperate to start and we had to do it too

We stopped it cos we found the teacher extremely Dodgy in the way he touched DS

He now learns trumpet and has much more fun and has passed grade 3

tortoiseSHELL Sat 28-Jun-08 16:32:41

Ds1 started violin at the beginning of Yr1 having just turned 5. He's in 2 orchestras, doing grade 1, enjoying it, and actually sounding nice when he plays! He is also doing piano Grade 1. (He has just turned 7 now).

Dd is starting cello in September when she will be just 5.

snorkle Sat 28-Jun-08 17:53:15

goodness rtkm! Did you tell him that's why you were stopping or just stop?

OP, There's a book called 'the right instrument for your child' that suggests that boistrous active children prefer wind instruments to strings. I'd have thought most 4/5 year olds were fairly boisterous though and come to think of it I'm not sure the book recommends starting anything that young. That said, a lot of the really good violinist do start even younger, but if he isn't unusually patient and dexterous for his age it might not be the best choice imo.

tortoiseSHELL Sat 28-Jun-08 18:19:54

It definitely depends on the child - ds1 has coped really well, but one key is they have to practise pretty well every day - if it's going to be a battle then leave it a while.

ChazsBarmyArmy Sat 28-Jun-08 19:08:06

Thanks for the helpful comments everyone. My gut instinct is that he will find the violin frustrating at his age. I have had another chat with him and I think he is OK with the idea of doing the recorder for a year and then reconsidering for Yr2. DS1 is fairly boisterous and is only just developing patience so I think something where he can play a recognisable tune quickly will probably be better and which has the added benefit of being hard to break. I have explained to him that learning how to read music and musicianship will be useful whatever instrument he ends up playing.

RosaLuxembunting Sun 29-Jun-08 00:42:43

DD1 started violin in September when she had just turned five. There were a few rocky moments but she is really enjoying it and her teacher is happy with her (having not taught a Yr One before, he was taking her on trial as she was so determined).

RosaLuxembunting Sun 29-Jun-08 00:43:20

Aagh, sorry, DD3 I meant. DD1 started when she was seven. She is now 10 and about to take Grade 2.

nevergoogle Wed 13-Feb-13 18:45:38

Really old thread, but exact same thread I was about to start so hey ho.

DS2 is 5 and actually is unusually patient and dextrous as suggested upthread. He's decided he would really like to learn violin and the violin teacher plans to meet him on friday to see what size of violin would be best.

Is it a really painful sound when they are learning?

Do you as a parent need to have some clue as to how to play something like that? I play piano and bagpipes and a tiny bit of guitar. Why can't he chose one of those?

Verugal Wed 13-Feb-13 19:42:45

My two eldest started stringed instruments in year one. Ds1 on violin and ds2 on cello. It can sound awful but ime it mostly didn't as the kids' teachers put lots of emphasis on making a nice sound rather than whizzing through learning lots of notes. I don't play strings myself and that hasn't mattered - I can still he'll them practise.

MoppingMummy Wed 13-Feb-13 19:57:36

My dd started violin (suzuki method) aged 3.5. She's 9 now (yr4) and about to take grade 5. It's not too early if you have the right teacher & approach. We have to attend all lessons & sit in for all practise (every day) - I think that's very important when they're so little.

MoppingMummy Wed 13-Feb-13 20:03:01

Oh and the sound isn't great at first, but it does improve!!

tryhardrep Wed 13-Feb-13 20:16:05

tricky one. DD1 started at 4 with suzuki method (they take them from 3.5!) She's been doing it a year now and she's making a good progress, playing real pieces etc. BUT, and it is a big but, it's been really hard work at times and I don't know if we'd do it again. It's a big time commitment for when they are so little and you do have to do it all with them (we practice 6 days a week albeit for just 5-10 mins). There were times when she really didn't like it and lots of incentives had to be introduced and I told her we'd stick with it for a year and if she still didn't like it then, she could give up. I think we've turned a corner now and she seems to get real pleasure out of being able to play tunes but as I say, if I were doing it all again, I'd probably start later. Having said all that DD2 who will be 3 next week comes along to all the lessons (they do a group lesson, an individual, and a musicianship class - which very physical and fun) and is desperate to start. She's sometimes allowed to join in with the musicianship bits and cries when she's not allowed to, so I guess we'll let her start as soon after 3.5 as she wants to. Not sure if that helps but FWIW that's been our experience.

tryhardrep Wed 13-Feb-13 20:17:54

nevergoogle as for whether you need to play the instrument yourself, I don't think you do. At the centre we go to some do and some don't (one has started the violin herself because she wants to learn with her DS) but a good teacher will make it really clear how to help them with their practice.

InvaderZim Wed 13-Feb-13 20:27:32

I know someone who is a Suzuki teacher and the method is really interesting and gets great results. It's not driven by the "grades" system necessarily but the children can slot into that system really easily as they progress.

noramum Wed 13-Feb-13 20:29:21

DD started last year at the beginning of Y1, she is a July baby. I was astonished how well it works.

But, yes it is a lot of practise and when they move to the bow it may not sound very nice but she loves doing it. We practise 3-4x a week.

It often depends on the teacher, ours is also fairly young and only teaches children, so knows what to expect at that age.

crazymazydazy Wed 13-Feb-13 20:35:50

I'm a violin teacher. IMO 5 is too young for the typical group lessons at school. I think most DC don't yet have sufficient motor skills or concentration, so progress can be slow, compared to those who start later. Some can then be put off by how long it takes to reach a decent level; it's a hard instrument to play. ime by the time they're about 9, they often reach the same level whether started at 5, or at 7. Sweeping generalisation I know (But I have taught hundreds...........!)

Suzuki method is a different matter of course, and works brilliantly for this age group, but as Mopping said, it requires lots of dedication from DC and parents, and probably isn't what's being offered at school.

I would say if your DC does start at school, he will probably find it fun, the methods/pieces/tutor books are brilliant nowadays, and I find most can make a reasonable sound from the start - the "scratchy violin" thing is a bit of a myth, though of course there's always the exception that proves the rule! They also get to do performances in assembly etc at most schools , which they love smile

TotallyBS Wed 13-Feb-13 21:05:49

RTkang - Suzuki lessons are always done with the parent sitting in on the lesson so it would take a twisted SOB to inappropriately touch your DS, what with you being in the room.

The method makes a big deal out of standing the 'right' way or bowing in a certain way so It's not unusual for a teacher to move the child into the correct posture/playing style.

Having said that, you was in the room and I wasn't.

socharlottet Wed 13-Feb-13 21:42:26

DD2 started in reception at age 4.But she had group lessons and all the others were much older.They didn't start with plucking, but had to use the bow from day one.And instead of starting with open strings they learned one string at a time and all the finger positions, and reading music , she ended up quite frustrated and sometimes I feared for the safety of the rented violin.I wouldn't really advise it.

Schmedz Wed 13-Feb-13 21:48:21

5 is not too young, but it isn't really necessary. Strings are the hardest instruments to learn IMHO and piano is a great foundation for future orchestral instruments / recorder great for future wind instrument choices. My daughter started violin in Year 1 with a non-Suzuki teacher and although she is now quite good I think initial progress is a little slower than starting at a later age. i.e if you start later, it is possible to reach a good standard in less time unless your child is particularly gifted! Singing is also a really valuable musical skill to enjoy and can really help with instrumental playing.

nevergoogle Wed 13-Feb-13 21:58:15

DH will be sitting in on the individual lessons at the request of the teacher. She says individual is best to get him to the point where he can join the group. She also said it would be without the bow for the first few weeks.
I guess we'll try it and see, as he has asked and he really rarely asks for things. His older brother gets a lot of time and attention to his hobbies so we want him to know we'll support him if he wants to do stuff too.

noramum Thu 14-Feb-13 06:31:33

My DD has single lessons, her teacher wouldn't even consider two young ones at the same time.

squareheadcut Thu 14-Feb-13 17:28:44

my son is doing violin at 5 years old and loving it

thesecretmusicteacher Thu 14-Feb-13 17:56:10

well try it.... but perhaps be very willing to accept it if it doesn't work?

buy some really nice strings for the violin - violin strings are cheap.
Make sure it visits a violin technician - it's hard enough to learn on a violin that's properly set up, let alone one that isn't.

Trixieblue Fri 15-Feb-13 11:13:13

I don't think you can be too young to learn anything, if they're showing interest let them have a go. If it doesn't stick then move onto the next. Life's about learning and trying new things. I encourage my boy to try everything. You never know, this just might just be his niche smile xxx

AbbyR1973 Fri 15-Feb-13 16:00:00

DS1 age 5 in reception had expressed an interest in learning the violin so I asked the school. The peripatetic teacher said she was happy to have him but since he is the only one of his age learning he is having individual lessons. He has had 3 lessons and now problems so far. They haven't had the bow out yet or any music to read he has had a CD to play along to and now knows the 4 string notes and some very very simple plucked tunes. He has been quite enthusiastic about practise which did surprise me a bit but we will see how long that lasts. Looking ahead on the CD I am guessing the bow will come out in the next couple of lessons (cue strangled cat noises for the next few years.)
I do not know anything about the violin but I am a reasonable pianist so I think that helps- although he is FAR too independent to let me advise him!! I had a couple of attempts at teaching him piano but it didn't work out: "I already know how to play the piano Mummy!"

Schmedz Fri 15-Feb-13 19:07:10

Very usual to start with pizzicato and open strings and then move on. To bowing and eventually fingers on fingerboard! Sounds like he is doing well if he is practising!

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