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Violin size for a 6 YO

(20 Posts)
EarlyInTheMorning Tue 04-Jun-13 12:56:06

My DD would like to start violin lessons next September but I'd like to buy her a violin now, as a surprise. What size should I go for and does anyone have a link to a decent violin that is okay for a complete child beginner? Thanks

UptoapointLordCopper Tue 04-Jun-13 13:51:43

I don't know anything about buying a violin, but at the music school we go to DS2 had to try a few violins until the teacher found one that was suitable for him. I don't think you can do this as a surprise ...

DeWe Tue 04-Jun-13 14:25:06

Ds is nearly 6 and he has a 1/4 size (£10 from a charity shop grin). It's a tiny bit big for him, but you wouldn't go for smaller or he'd be out of it too quickly.

EarlyInTheMorning Tue 04-Jun-13 14:39:44

DeWe, hi, thanks, if I can find something super cheap I don't mind buying something that will only last a year. And now the stupid question, what violin is smaller than 1/4 size, I mean, what's it called? blush

quip Tue 04-Jun-13 15:55:27

Honestly honestly honestly don't do this as a surprise. You may strike it lucky and get a violin with good tone and the right size. Or you may get a squeaky nightmare that puts your child off playing. Children need the correct size violin to develop their posture and ensure they're not straining uncomfortably and developing poor posture.

When ds was 6 he had an 1/8. He grew into a 1/4 a bit before his seventh birthday and will need a 1/2 before he is 8.5. This has not been particularly expensive as we have hired his instruments. When he gets to 1/2 we will probably invest in a good second hand violin as he'll have that a bit longer.

quip Tue 04-Jun-13 16:00:06

Early you can get a 1/8 and a 1/16. I believe that 1/32 instruments may exist for fanatical parents doing suzuki with their toddlers. The smaller the instrument the worse the sound, I'm afraid. And it's really hard to play just one string at a time pn the really wee violins as the bridge needs to be so tiny.

EarlyInTheMorning Tue 04-Jun-13 16:40:22

I understand what you're saying quip, but say this one, what could possibly go wrong?smile

noteventhebestdrummer Tue 04-Jun-13 17:40:37

Skylarks are awful and if you buy via eBay it almost certainly won't be correctly set up. Please go to a decent music shop, ideally a specialist violin shop.

quip Tue 04-Jun-13 18:52:00

Tbh I think it's a false economy. Skylarks are notorious for poor quality. You'd need to take it to a music shop to get it set up right which would probably cost the same as getting the thing from a strings shop in the first place. If you have to buy online then measure your child's arm to ensure you're getting the right size, and go for a stentor. Many string shops have second hand instruments and some will buy back instruments when your child outgrows them

ZZZenagain Tue 04-Jun-13 20:56:18

if you buy a 1/8 and it is too small, you will then have to go and buy a 1/4. I think you have to forget the element of surprise. Go into a shop which rents or sells instruments and get someone to check which size she needs. They will place the violin under her chin and have her stretch out her arm to hold the neck. When they do this, they will see which size she requires. You cannot guess this based on age.

Not much point renting one before she needs it but I think get a nice one with a reasonable sound which actually fits and then change to another rented one.

If you would rather buy a cheap one now, you still need to know which size she needs and for that someone who knows has to see her holding a violin I am afraid.

ZZZenagain Tue 04-Jun-13 20:58:03

keep in mind she might grow over the summer (so called summer), mine usually does.

DeWe Tue 04-Jun-13 21:04:26

But unless the OP knows what she's doing then getting the dc to be there when she chooses won't necessarily help.

Site here gives advice on how to measure:

Slight tip from me is that hand size as well as arm length make a difference. I have small hands and was initially put onto the instrument that was right for your arm and it was too big for me to comfortably stretch to 4th finger.

Your best bet is to find a friend who knows the violin, or is generally musical and can come to a music shop with you to hear tone and assess instruments. Or ask her violin teacher if she has any pupils moving up size instruments that would be willing to sell on.

I bought mine from a charity shop, but I spent some time tuning and playing the instrument-and I got a bargain, it's one of the nicest sounding small instruments I've come across. Had problems with a sticky peg initially, but once it moved it was fine.

ZZZenagain Tue 04-Jun-13 21:12:05

if she goes to a reputable shop, they will know the right size

ZZZenagain Tue 04-Jun-13 21:15:52

However the best thing IMO would be for you to ask the teacher when dd begins lessons in September Early. Are these private lessons or lessons via school?

EarlyInTheMorning Tue 04-Jun-13 21:35:21

Okay you've definitely convinced me, I won't be buying her a violin as a surprise. There's a good shop near where I live, I know I can buy something decent from them.

lljkk Sun 09-Jun-13 10:30:33

DD was a tiny 6yo and still had a 1/4. I think the surprise should be a visit to the shop, iyswim.

Pythonesque Wed 19-Jun-13 06:47:45

You've had good advice, nice though your original idea was smile

I've watched children playing on instruments too large for them (school concerts ...) and agree about the posture problems it creates. One of my pet hates is a poor left hand position - if you have too big a violin this is guaranteed.

I was very tall for my age and started on a 1/4 at age 6. I've just started teaching two children. The 5 yr old has a 1/10 and I thought it looked too small but when I checked she's not ready for an 1/8 yet. The 6 yr old's family had obtained a 1/4 (a Skylark with good sound, much to my surprise; it has been well set up) - but actually it is a lot too big for her at the moment and an 1/8 is absolutely right for her. The 1/4 will get used in due course!

Good luck with the lessons and hope you all enjoy it!

acebaby Thu 27-Jun-13 22:23:55

There is a huge variation in the actual sizes of violins supposedly the same size. My ds2 tried out two 1/8 sizes and one 1/16. The 1/8 violins were totally different sizes. He was best with the smaller 1/8 (a primavera). He couldnt reach to the end of the bigger 1/8, and was totally cramped with the 1/16. I replaced the strings with a nice set of dominants (made a huge difference).

It would be best to get advice from the teacher, but a rule of thumb is that the child should be able to comfortably hold the scroll in the palm of their hand, with the violin under the chin.

Ds2 has just turned 5 and is on the small side for his age btw.

blueberryboybait Thu 27-Jun-13 22:29:20

DD1 is 4.5 and has a 1/8 size and can only just reach to play 1 finger notes on the G string and that takes a heap of concentration! She is desperate for a 1/4 size because it comes in colours. We tried a 1/4 size but it was too heavy and too long for her.

tryingtokeepintune Sat 29-Jun-13 20:17:43

We just bought 6.9 year old dd a 1/4 size violin. Took her to be measured for it. 2 of my older children played the violin and it was worth getting them properly sized as it meant that they learnt to support the instrument properly.

We paid £150 for the violin, bow and case as we felt it was worth it for a better sound. However, we told that we could sell it back when dd grows out of this one.

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