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Violin at 4.5yo?

(63 Posts)
Worriedandlost Thu 18-Jun-15 20:38:03

Does anyone have experience of dc starting violin at 4-4.5, traditional lessons, not Suzuki? Ds2 is quite keen to start lessons as his older sister is playing but my concern is that it will be waste of time and money at this age? I mean he can start later on and progress much quicker than he would now. On the other hand if he starts early he simply would not remember his life without playing an instrument and it will be easier in terms of motivation? And dd's teacher reckons that younger siblings are quicker to learn as they already surrounded by music. Don't know what to do...

ReallyTired Thu 18-Jun-15 21:03:07

I think a lot depends on how patient the teacher is. What is his coordination and concentration like? I think that the teacher and the concentration span of the child is more important than the method of teaching.

howtodrainyourflagon Thu 18-Jun-15 21:06:28

Yes, I have experience of this, and I've seen kids do it at this age and earlier at our local music school. The young children do learn and progress. In 99% of cases I've seen, the kids who start a year or two later have entirely caught up after the first year, because even though the younger kids learn and progress, the older kids just pick things up that much faster. It's hard to play a little violin (tricky to get the bow angle right when the strings are packed together on a teeny weeny bridge) and it's hard to coordinate soft little fingers on the strings and reach to the other side.

So it can work, but the older children tend to be a lot more motivated as it's far easier for them. I'm on dc3 now, and we're waiting for y1 until I start them on violin, and we're a very musical family.

BabyGanoush Thu 18-Jun-15 21:09:24

My DS2 was keen but I made him wait until he was 6.

LOL, almost as in: If you are serious you really want to do this, you'll be allowed to at 6.

You can always try at 4.5, why not? I did not but DS2 is quite clumsy with his fingers and could not even tie his shoe laces or write at that age.

It depends on the child a bit

ReallyTired Thu 18-Jun-15 22:16:00

I think that a reception child has a enough to do with practicing reading. dd was really tired in the early days of reception. She started violin lessons in year 1 at five and half years old.

Chrysanthemum5 Thu 18-Jun-15 22:22:42

DD started lessons (Suzuki) at that age as DS was having lessons and we were there anyway. For her it's been good as she's quite shy so found playing in front of an audience hard - because she's been doing it for 3 years she's now completely used to it. However other children who started later have easily caught her up in terms of technique.

So I'd say it's good for confidence building if your child needs that but equally they could wait until 7 and be fine.

Ferguson Thu 18-Jun-15 22:50:29

Hi - wouldn't he consider piano, to start with, as DD could help him with that? Then try violin when he's a bit older.

And didn't you mention drums for DS at some stage, or was that my imagination?

littlehouseinthebigwoods Fri 19-Jun-15 01:09:00

If the teacher is enthusiastic I'd say go for it. You can always stop and start again later if necessary!

JulieMichelleRobinson Fri 19-Jun-15 01:10:19

You could look for a ?Stringbabies teacher. It's a method that introduces note reading skills in a basic way and is far less intensive than ?Suzuki. But don't expect crazy fast progress, violin is hard and young children don't have good coordination! Expect a lot of plucking.

RedKite5004 Fri 19-Jun-15 09:48:49

I think it's very dependent on the child but my DS took up traditional violin lessons at that age, loved it and carried on until he was introduced to the cello a year ago and decided that was the one for him. I'm sure it depends on the individual child but learning to read music at a young age, I think, is a really valuable skill.

Worriedandlost Fri 19-Jun-15 13:07:25

Thank you everyone for the answers!
Yes, I guess I just have to try and see, if I decide to. I really would not do it, but it is his enthusiasm I want to capitalize on smile. I don't have any expectations right now, just try to keep the momentum going...
Stringbabies is a good idea, but I think it may not be available locally and there are two children so may be difficult to jump into a completely new venture.
Piano - he does not want to, saying that his fingers are not that long and he I don't think he is mentally ready, it has two keys and quite complicated... drums - yes, there was that idea once, but I feel it will be too hard for me smile - something completely new I will need to get familiar with, violin - I have done it before, so hopefully will be easier smile
Thanks again everyone flowers

TheRachel Fri 19-Jun-15 20:57:26

Would you consider trying suzuki? Dd started suzuki violin and 3.5 and Ds started at 4. It's a commitment, but we love it!

Worriedandlost Fri 19-Jun-15 22:55:13

TheRachel, probably not... I read about pros and cons + already have an experience of classical method with the older one.... Rather wait till he is older if it does not work, just easier for me... Too tired of "learning" everything myself smile

maggiethecat Fri 19-Jun-15 23:18:56

if he's keen go for it! never understood this business of older children catching up - it's not a race.

with a good teacher and his enthusiasm he'll be doing something that could give him a lot of joy.

Worriedandlost Fri 19-Jun-15 23:49:38

maggiethecat smile smile smile
You are right but teacher is bloody expensive + I don't have much time because of dd's activities, this is why I hesitate

ReallyTired Sat 20-Jun-15 23:22:42

Small children have a good sense of pitch, but lack dexterity. Suzuki works well with small children because it develops listening skills. There are plenty of non Suzuki teachers who use elements of the Suzuki method in their teaching. In the early stages of violin playing there is a lot to be said for focussing on playing in tune rather than reading music whatever age you are. The ear training aspect of Suzuki is good for any violinist.

JulieMichelleRobinson Sun 21-Jun-15 08:08:54

At 4.5 I'd probably be concentrating on getting a good tone production with the bow, basic coordination, lots of open string tunes to begin with. That might be a different way round to other teachers, but it's probably the way I approach things. We would be developing note-reading skills, but chiefly through rhythm which I think is more easily recognisable than the up-down of different pitches - even a 3yo can spot whether a note is black or white, or if it doesn't have a stick. To begin with, I wouldn't expect a young child to be able to read-and-play but would possibly expect him to read-and-sing, memorise, and then play.

FWIW, I have a 6yo student who still refuses to even attempt playing with left-hand fingers "because it hurts". We're working on her sense of rhythm combining with reading the notes now - she can recognise two crotchet Ds, for example, but tends to play the two notes really quickly and then work out the next note, whereas when she plays from ear they are properly spaced.

ReallyTired Sun 21-Jun-15 14:47:04

Endless open strings for weeks on end are boring as hell for a small child. The child whose fingers hurt, is the violin too big for her?

TheRachel Sun 21-Jun-15 15:51:26

I totally recommend suzuki method for teaching young children the violin. It is fun and interactive and what they learn in a short amount of time is incredible. My eldest had gained distinction at grade 2 by the time she was 6 and is now taking grade 7 aged 11. She enjoys performing and playing with others as well as playing a wide range of music. Suzuki encourages group learning and this can involve games and reviewing pieces together - playing with others is fun!

ReallyTired Sun 21-Jun-15 16:08:33


When did your daughter start violin? Not all child achieve that level of success.

Dd has been learning for just over two terms and is just just mastered allegro book 1. I like Suzuki because it feels like your child is part of a wider community. Suzuki is very good at building enthusiasm.

JulieMichelleRobinson Sun 21-Jun-15 21:45:25

Really tired,

I do know what I'm doing... And I have about a million open string tunes with awesome piano parts. Usually it's around six weeks max to get three fingers. I can't help it if the child won't do it, so we have to focus on other skills. She's a young six, only in year one, and has good timing and nice tone, and she can read the notes for herself now.

The fiddle is the correct size, she means when pressing the strings it hurts finger pads. Which is, basically, true, at least to begin with until the skin thickens. I last around three hours on fiddle (high tension strings though) but start to get sore fingers after about 45min on harp (other hand) for the same reason.

JulieMichelleRobinson Sun 21-Jun-15 21:52:13

Fwiw, I was non-Suzuki, started at 7yo in a group of 8 at school and passed grade 6 with distinction at 11, I think. There was a delay for grade 5 theory and because I started piano at 10. Suzuki would not have suited my family at all, too much else going on. But it's great for some people and I steal pre twinkle ideas.

Also, if open strings is boring then standing shrike someone else plays is boring. Sheesh, it's what you DO with them that makes it interesting!

Worriedandlost Sun 21-Jun-15 22:11:50

Thanks again for your opinions.
Even though dd's teacher is teaching Suzuki too, my concern with Suzuki is that they don't play too much staff? Basically it is a Suzuki book and this is about it? Dd, who is learning by traditional method, played Suzuki book 1, Fiddle time, Waggon Wheels and Fast Forward all say in one year. Friend's dc played Suzuki book 1 in one year. Both children play nicely and approximately the same level but dd would play whatever at her level but I not sure that the second child is a very confident player where it comes to non Suzuki repertoire. And dd also got dist at gr2 at 6yo. I like their sense of community though.
But perhaps I am wrong as I only read about this method and never tried it.

ReallyTired Sun 21-Jun-15 22:25:53

My daughter is in year 1 and started violin at five and half. She learnt all the twinkle variations in the first 6 weeks of lessons. I feel she would have lost the will to live if she had done nothing but open strings for that period. The reason why I asked if the girl's violin was the right size was that my daughter started off with an 1/8 violin and was significantly more comfortable when she moved to a 1/10. Suzuki children tend to use smaller sizes of instruments than traditionally taught children according to shop we hired did violin from.

Did cannot read music. She memorised all her pieces that she had learnt in the last 2 terms. What is different is that her teacher expects her practice all the pieces she has learnt. Did has really had to develop her memory. We also have to listen to the cd everyday.

This link gives you an idea of what Suzuki is like

Worriedandlost Sun 21-Jun-15 22:35:26

ReallyTired, thank you for sharing your experience.
I have this book, as I said dd played it all, as part of her "classical" learning, her teacher uses Suzuki books as an extra material as tunes there are nice. In fact grade 3 has one of the Suzuki tunes as an exam piece.
She played twinkle variations for about couple of weeks, but it was much later in her studies, not at the very beginning.

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