8yr old beginner. Piano, flute or violin?(16 Posts)
Whichever one appeals most to the child! Piano or violin would be ideal. 8 might be a little young for flute as it needs a lot of puff and stamina to hold it horizontally (although you can get U-shaped head joints for little ones that help a bit with the reach - would still recommend starting on recorder if flute is the ultimate aim).
Piano is not for the faint-hearted - two lines of music to read simultaneously and requires a lot of co-ordination. If they can already read words fluently, less likely to have an issue with this. Violin requires a good musical ear to be successful. Can they sing in tune?
My ds(8) just started learning piano, and absolutely loving it. I think 8 was good age to start for him.
I would go for something other than the piano as both of the other options offer the chance to play in groups with other children whereas piano will be a solitary experience.
My 10 year old did three years of piano before switching to the clarinet, just because of the wind band options.
I would go with what ever the child prefers. Failing that, you need to consider how much is it going to cost you - will you have to buy a piano for example? Also what you think your ears can put up with when
enduring listening to practising.
The first and most important criteria is what your child wants to play!
After that, you need to consider:
- how much you're prepared to or able to spend on buying (or renting) and maintaining instruments (of the three, I would guess that flute is probably the least spendy)
- whether good quality tuition is available for that instrument in your area at a price you can afford
- whether your child is interested in the social side of music (flute and violin have much more potential for ensemble playing)
Not all kids choose the right instrument the first time: my daughter dropped her first instrument at 10, but now plays four others ;)
Is fantastic when it comes to helping a child choose an instrument they like. When DD decided that she wanted to play something that she could play with others she came to her decision after using the app to isolate and listen to each instrument and then researching them further online.
I only have experience with piano and violin, I would say start with piano as you could never be out of tune and its quite easy to learn some simple songs for fun at first. My daughter started when she was 4.5 yrs old however for more than a year she was only having fun and singing with the teacher during her music lesson. She didnt start learning seriously(for grades) until 6.5 and took it very slowly for grade 1(she sat the pre grade too).
Violin could take months to even not play out of tune, I found violin is quite challenging however its an orchestra instrument so you wont be as lonely as piano
Is that your DC's shortlist or yours? In an ideal world I'd say piano and an orchestra instrument, but there isn't a 'right' answer.
I recently heard a violin beginner and I for one admire the parents of the DCs playing violin . In all honesty I don't think I could put up with months of that at practice time.
So from a quick win point of view piano, as the DC will learn a little song sounding good immediately. However don't get too excited, 8-9 months in and the DC will complain it is really hard, and it is, reading two lines of music at the same time, each hand doing something different at the same time, wrists up, fingers curved, they have a lot to take in.
Piano is a solitary instrument so not much interaction with others unless they have a friend with whom they could play duets.
It is also expensive if you look at the cost of the instrument, digital pianos are more affordable but still in £500+ for a good one.
Then let's say your DC is serious about it and decides to become a pianist, you then realise how much competition is out there, a lot of children are having piano lessons.
If DD will choose a second instrument soon (she plays piano) flute is on our/her list, it looks more approachable and more social.
Cello! It sounds beautiful even when played badly!
Violin, in spite of its reputation, doesn't have to sound bad in the early stages. You need a good teacher, an enthusiastic student, and some involvement from the parents. There will be a few squawks and struggles with intonation, but the "strangled cat" image is not fair!
It is difficult to learn how to hold the violin, but once you can play a little, you have so many options as far as types of music and groups you can play in. It also has such a beautiful and versatile sound once you can play really well. The flute sounds lovely, but has less variety and colour- always sounds like a flute, which can start to get tiresome. (This is why you will always see classical chamber music concerts, recitals, and concertos which feature violin, but a flute recital is more rare.)
One thing to remember is that an orchestra only needs 2-4 flutes, and about 30 violins, so there is always room for another violinist in school or county orchestras. Looking ahead, if your child ends up loving classical music, the repertoire for violin is just hugely more interesting and fulfilling; there is no comparison.
Having said that, I think the flute is easier to start (if she is big enough), looks and sounds lovely, and is less of a commitment in that you can progress more quickly with less effort. It is easy to carry, less fragile, easy to tune, and something a child can do with less involvement from parents. I think for a child who has busy parents, lots of interests, and no particular passion for the violin, flute is a good choice.
If you have a piano at home already then I would recommend starting there. It is difficult to read 2 lines of music and manage both hands but I think it is still easier than thinking about tuning, hold and left and right hand technique for a violin. Also it gives a good basis for musicality for everything else.
If you don't already have a piano and want a sociable instrument then age 8 is good for starting violin. The junior orchestra DC are very engaging to watch having a great time playing together even if listening is somewhat of a labour of love. I think the key to violin learning is take it slowly and practice well for short times rather than badly to torture everyone (Violinist and mother of violinist talking).
I could never bring myself to have a recorder player in the house so am not best placed to comment on flute.
The main consideration should definitely be what the child wants to play.
But all other things being equal, I'd go for flute. It's small, easily portable, inexpensive, sociable and progress is often fast. I start flautists from age 6, on curved head joints. Some 8 year olds would still need these, and others might not. You can hire and buy flutes with both head joints included, in any case.
As others have said, it MUST be the child who decides what s/he would like to try.
Unless you already have a Piano, I often recommend an electronic Keyboard, and at around £300 this is one of the best for beginners. There are also similar, cheaper models:
My 8 year old started flute in October and is at a reasonable standard already. She started on a a straight headed instrument, which looked huge, but she coped well with it. Her stamina on it is increasing and I love listening to her practice now. She also started Ukukele lessons last September with a view to moving up to guitar when she's a bit older! Flute was her choice though. She had the option of violin a year and a half ago, but she wanted flute. The flute lessons at her school were full so she waited a full year before a slot became free!
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