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4 yr old desperate to play violin can't start till next year - any ideas

(33 Posts)
Didiplanthis Sun 08-Jan-17 11:04:45

My 7 yr old Dd has been playing violin for about a year , my 4 yr old Ds has been sobbing ( again ) as he really really wants to play too. He can't start at school until yr 1 - he is currently reception. There are no local private teachers I can get to. This has been going on for a good 2 months. Any ideas what I can do to nurture his enthusiasm while we wait. I have offered to teach him piano but that's not required !! Her 1/8th violin is too big for him and I don't have loads of money to spend a new even cheap one for him to play around with. First world problem I know but I am fed up with the tantrums !!

DragonitesRule Sun 08-Jan-17 11:09:49

Just let him have a go with hers. DS at the same age was happy to unzip the case take it out, do a few screechy bows practising bow hold and put it away again!smile And he was fine on an 1/8th

WatchingFromTheWings Sun 08-Jan-17 11:11:38

Maybe your 7yo could 'teach' him in the meantime?

Badcat666 Sun 08-Jan-17 11:12:09

Can you get him a cheap second hand one to muck about with? That way your DD could try and teach him notes and how to use the bow etc. (I used to muck around with my sisters and bot did she hate that!)

lyricaldancer Sun 08-Jan-17 14:34:28

One of our tutors comes to us to give the lessons. Would that be a possibility?

Wafflenose Sun 08-Jan-17 14:50:21

Maybe it will be a big fat "no", but I would try speaking to the violin teacher, explaining the situation and how desperate he is, and seeing if a compromise can be reached so you can capitalise on his enthuasiasm. (I'm one of 27 visiting music teachers at a large school, and some of us have occasionally bent the rules in situations like this).

Keeptrudging Sun 08-Jan-17 14:54:59

Just "No, you have to wait until you're 5, like your brother did". There will be lots of future things your eldest gets to do first, your youngest can't tantrum about them all and get them early! Maybe I'm being harsh, but I wouldn't be tolerating 2 months of tantrums.

Noteventhebestdrummer Sun 08-Jan-17 15:02:42

That's a shame - I love teaching 4 year olds. So much enthusiasm and confidence!

Didiplanthis Sun 08-Jan-17 16:37:38

My youngest can strop about anything ! It's not really a case of giving in to a tantrum - I am extremely hardened to riding these out - there are 2 of them , he is a twin ! but he has a genuine enthusiasm and is clearly musical compared to his siblings and I would like to foster his interest as he doesnt appear to be planning on fitting into standard society approved boxes.... He would love to dance too but our local dance school doesn't have a single boy on the books and don't seem keen to find a class that would suit him.

catkind Sun 08-Jan-17 16:56:54

YY have a chat to your DD's teacher, you never know.

But if that's really a no, DD started with a book called Fiddle Time Starters, did your DD use that? It goes nice and slowly and would be quite easy to follow as a parent, particularly with the older one on hand for advice.

If affording lessons is a possibility, a second hand instrument would cost less than a term of lessons. Is it a lot too big though? My 4 yr old has an 1/8 and it's looking rather small on her, albeit she is tall for 4. If he starts off doing just open strings, he could hold the shoulder of the violin with his left hand instead of having it in fingering position (DD's teacher had her do this anyway), which would make size less critical.

AldeandOre Sun 08-Jan-17 16:59:48

Is there a Suzuki Group near you? Suzuki teachers regularly take children from the age of 3. It's a big commitment, but my 4 children all enjoyed it hugely and are all still playing their violins now (teenagers).

onlymusic Sun 08-Jan-17 23:14:52

Didiplanthis I like Waffle's advice, this is exactly what I would do in your situation. However, may I ask you please? If you manage to find a teacher, please let us know in a month or two how will it go? My dd1 plays violin and her brother asked to play it since he was 2. He started at 5 and few lessons in - he had enough. Of course I didn't let him stop and he plays for almost an year now but he recently said to me - you know mummy, I thought playing violin was very easy (oh yes! you have this impression looking at his older sister grin), but it is actually very difficult and I don't want lessons anymore.
Surprise, surprise smile

originalmavis Sun 08-Jan-17 23:20:57

What about ukulele?

It takes a while to get a decent sound out of a violin but even I can get a tune out of DSs ukulele. it would be very a shame if he tried to play the violin but was disheartened but to be able to play a tune quickly (I was very bored with ballet at that age as we never seemed to dance, just point toes, so I refused to go back). DS plays violin but wanted a ukulele for fun.

catkind Sun 08-Jan-17 23:48:10

Only, DD started at 3 and is still going with enthusiasm a year and a half on. (I started at 3 and am still going with enthusiasm only too many years on!) I think it really depends on having a good teacher - and at that age probably parents who will support practice and make sure that's fun too.

Evergreen777 Mon 09-Jan-17 11:50:55

Would second the suggestion of a ukulele - they're pretty cheap and much easier than a violin to start to get a tune on. Plus the way you get used to making the notes by pressing down on strings is really useful for moving on to any other stringed instrument.

onlymusic Mon 09-Jan-17 12:40:35

catkind, thank you for writing about your experience-I am interested in collecting this sort of stories. Agreed about teacher and though our teacher is good he admits he prefers older students. The other thing that may explain the difference in attitudes - did your dd started at classical or Suzuki method? Ds started with Fiddle Time Joggers (teacher considered he can skip Starters) and though I can see he copes ok, but this is my view, child may feel differently and ds probably thinks it is difficult (even though he manages to play and sight read ok). I can see he puts effort into it but he copes - this is what I mean

NeverEverAnythingEver Mon 09-Jan-17 13:27:24

You can't fob off a budding violinist with a ukulele! shock


Confession: I am not keen on the ukulele. The violin, on the other hand, is a noble instrument...

Confession #2: I don't play the violin, but DS2 does, and it's lovely (even when he was just starting).

onlymusic Mon 09-Jan-17 14:53:40

NeverEverAnythingEver flowers

catkind Mon 09-Jan-17 15:36:29

only, DD started with a bit of Fiddle Time Starters but has used a couple of other books too. We're just going gently and doing lots of fun games as well as pieces. I learned with suzuki and preferred not to do that with DD as I felt I was always slightly on the back foot with sight reading as a child.

I'm really surprised they'd skip Starters with even a very able child that age - even if they go through it quickly, it gives them lots of practice of the basics and boosts confidence.

BertrandRussell Mon 09-Jan-17 15:44:20

Can't your older one teach him the basics?

BertrandRussell Mon 09-Jan-17 15:44:55

And can't he go to the same dance classes as the girls?

CryingShame Mon 09-Jan-17 15:59:51

Keep going with the dancing as well. My DS is 7 and goes to a dance class. He went to his first class, enjoyed it and a friend from school dashed over to see him at his 2nd class "as boys don't come back for a 2nd session!" grin.

If your DS wants to dance, keep looking. A new dance school has opened near us since the one we signed DS up to and places to become available. Dance shops have been really positive about DS dancing - a boy has a greater chance of doing something with dance because there are far fewer of them per role than girls.

onlymusic Mon 09-Jan-17 18:55:11

Catkind, I was surprised too, besides we are not talking about a very able child here, just reasonably able... But here we go.... But I give up on music teachers, I came across so many of them in my life, I could do PhD on a subject, they just all have their ways and you have to find a perfect match to your child in accordance with your expectations.... It seems to work at the moment but can change later of course

SugarMiceInTheRain Mon 09-Jan-17 19:00:58

Might be worth you trying to find a Suzuki group, then let him start proper lessons when he's older. As a violin teacher, I wouldn't take pupils that young because they are rarely able to focus for a lesson, much less motivated enough to practice enough to make much progress. IME If you have 2 children the same age, one starts violin at 4, one at 6, assuming both equally able, by the age of 7 they'll be about the same standard. To read music, they need to be confident readers first.

catkind Tue 10-Jan-17 00:38:42

DD was a confident reader at 3, so she's not entirely the usual case. Cello babies/Violin babies looks like another interesting alternative for young pre-readers that does include some introduction to music reading, if anyone has a group near them.

I don't disagree about them catching up if they start later - the question for me is do they have fun in the intervening two years. We do quite a few activities with DD, because she wants to and enjoys it, not because we think she'll be a better swimmer or ballerina or footballer because of starting at 4 rather than 6.

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