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violin or piano?

(12 Posts)
TallulahBlue Tue 16-Aug-11 21:16:58

My ds is almost 5 and he wants to learn a musical instrument.
his school is starting violin lessons during lunch times which he is signed up for in sept so i hope he will enjoy.
I am worried that it mught be a bit too much for him at 5 and also i have heard that piano is an easier instrument to learn than violin.

is he too young for violin and would piano be better at 5 years old?

Ivortheengine8 Tue 16-Aug-11 21:19:56

He is not too young, They make child sized violins but you do need a fair bit of patience listening to him up until about grade 3-4, it sounds dreadful at first!

casawasa Tue 16-Aug-11 21:24:55

I don't think that 5 is too young but it really depends on your ds and also the violin teacher. Will it be relaxed and fun? Can you do a trial for a month to see how it goes? If it is too much for your ds then he could stop and try when he is older. Violin sounds pretty awful to start with i suppose piano is a bit easier on the ear! Whichever he chooses he will have to practice but a little bit every day as a young beginner will do.

Jesusgirl Wed 17-Aug-11 14:26:11

If he is asking for it, he's probably quite interested. 5 is definitely not too young. My ds started piano at 6 after he had been asking for 18months! and he started violin last sept at nearly 7. He's a boisterous boy normally but when it comes to his instruments, he's very focused and persistent. He practices daily without me pushing or reminding him.

So I'd say if he wants to, please encourage him.

I agree, the 1st few months are an agony to the ears! But now he's beginning to actually sound quite nice! So if u can cope through the 1st few months, you'll be fine!

EdithWeston Wed 17-Aug-11 14:39:49

If you opt for the violin, remember that you will be the one lugging it around for years.

And there is a stage when it will sound dreadful (get earplugs, or a shed to retire to).

But it can be simpler - only one line of music to read at a time.

Lancelottie Wed 17-Aug-11 14:45:51

Yes, but a violin is very light and portable.
Unlike, god help us, a euphonium. Or friend's son's harp, which occupies the whole bar so that child has to follow by bike.

Lancelottie Wed 17-Aug-11 14:46:28

bar?? Well, maybe it has a drink problem, but I meant car.

EdithWeston Wed 17-Aug-11 14:53:29

DD wants to try the harp - I'm hoping she'll forget the whole idea (fingers crossed - not been mentioned since they broke up).

The violin certainly isn't the worst thing to carry - but the prospect, when you're already lugging 2-3 children's worth of bags, PE kit, lunch boxes and that huge bit of random artwork that ALWAYS comes home on music lesson and strings group days, is sometimes a bit camel's back and straw.

Tangle Wed 17-Aug-11 14:55:43

It very much depends how his brain is wired. I started the piano at 5 after nagging my mother mercilessly, and I got on very well. My sister (7) tried but found the type of co-ordination required for the piano very hard - so she started a string instrument instead and got on a lot better.

Is he particularly interested in the violin or has an opportunity appeared and its "an instrument"? How well developed is he (physically) for his age? Even a 1/4 size violin can still be quite a weight for a small child to support for the duration of a lesson or practice session, and it's possible to fall into bad postural habits in an effort to take the strain out of holding the instrument up - not the end of the world but something that would then need resolving at a later date. Piano has the advantage that the note you play will be in tune (whether its the note you wanted or note is a different question!) so you don't have to worry about intonation in quite the same way as with a string instrument and you don't have to tune it each time you play. That said, I took up a string instrument a few years later - I got to grade 8 on both and really enjoyed playing the piano, but 30 years on its the cello that is still in use as its so much more social.

My only reservation with learning any instrument at 5 is that there are so many things to try and get the hang of - between the technique of the instrument and reading music - its a very very steep learning curve. However, if he's keen (and if you can put up with squeaky squawky beginner violin playing blush) then go for it and see how it goes - if it works out, great, and if it doesn't then you can always try again in a year or so, on a different instrument if necessary.

Ivortheengine8 Wed 17-Aug-11 16:21:35

It's true what Tangle said. I learnt Bassoon from 9 years and although I play around a bit on the piano, I never got on with it or any stringed or brass instruments. I would say piano is better as a 'base' instrument though and then maybe later he could pick up something else.
I much prefer the cello (my brother plays cello and piano) to the violin though, although it must be a pain to get around. Probably a bit less competition for the cello too when he gets older.
Violin would be much more portable than a lot of other instruments though like said above. Even my bassoon was very heavy and a lot of the brass would be too. (My mum used to meet me off the school bus with my bassoon on a shopping trolley type thing with wheels on blush

ragged Wed 17-Aug-11 16:26:50

Had had experience of DC learning both at about that age, violin better, imho.

Tangle Wed 17-Aug-11 19:14:30

Ivor - demand for specific string instruments varies depending on where you are. Around here there seems to be a current shortage of everything except (unusually) violas. Whilst more people take up the violin than the cello, you need more than twice as many in an orchestra so that often counter balances the extra numbers going in.

I do agree cello's aren't the easiest instrument to transport, though - as both my sister and I played we had to go car shopping with two hard cello cases, and we bought whatever car could fit them in the boot. Thankfully technology has moved on and the new hard case I got a couple of years back weighs less than half the one I got around 1990. (And you can cuddle a cello or use it as a head support in the long rests blush)

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