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Should I get DD a violin without lessons?

(37 Posts)
OnlyGlowingSlightly Wed 25-Oct-17 04:33:44

DD (aĺmost 5) has been asking to play the violin for over a year. Last year, she confidently told me 2 days before Christmas that she knew what Santa would bring her: he brings what children really, really want and that was a violin. Needless to say, Santa hadn't got her a violin. sad

And to my shame, I still haven't managed to organise lessons for her blushsad.The only Suzuki teacher close by has no spaces - maybe next September. Other places don't teach so young. And to be fair, I'm not entirely sure she's ready for lessons. She's fairly sensible and able to focus, but she thinks learning will be easy and I'm not sure she'll persist when it's not.

But Christmas is coming up again, and I know she's still keen... Would it be worth me getting her a violin to play around with despite no lessons? She has a ukulele and plays with that sometimes, although nothing very musical comes out.grin And I suspect a violin is even harder to get anything meaningful out of!

I'd like to give her the chance, but I'm wary of spoiling the violin for her, and putting her off it, by giving her an instrument but no support to learn to use it. I don't play any instruments (can read very basic music) so don't feel able to help her.


ChaChaChaCh4nges Wed 25-Oct-17 04:41:53

Terrible idea! It’s expensive and the noises that will come out will be horrific!

Plus, in all seriousness, there’s a reason why music teachers start with very slightly older pupils; younger ones aren’t ready. I’d be concerned that she’ll get into terrible habits that she’ll never break.

LuchiMangsho Wed 25-Oct-17 04:44:50

No because she will get into bad habits. But DS1 has been learning since he was 3.5 and has cleared Grade 1 and he's 5. Admittedly he's super committed and practises loads without much pushing but she's not that young at 5! I am surprised you can't find a teacher.

LuchiMangsho Wed 25-Oct-17 04:45:31

Also she will go through multiple violins as she grows bigger so instead of buying one, organise some lessons and rent a violin!

fatfingeredfran Wed 25-Oct-17 04:55:47

Don’t buy her one without lessons. I played since age 6 with a suzuki teacher. If you’re not going to get her one and arrange lessons explain to her she needs to wait to X age.

hiddley Wed 25-Oct-17 04:58:03

It has to be the most gut wrenchingly god awful sound the violin when they are starting out. Do you know what she's seen/heard it in? DS used to stop and say Mammy - you're making faces! I hadn't realised I was but it's like listening to nails scratching down a blackboard and I suppose I was wincing or something. He now plays beautifully but my God it doesn't come without pain torture

RaindropsAndSparkles Wed 25-Oct-17 05:05:24

Father Christmas says that children need to learn a simple instrument first to understand the notes and sounds. Recorder?

SofiaAmes Wed 25-Oct-17 05:19:48

You can get a child's violin for £40 on Amazon. Buy the violin and organize the lessons. But organize piano lessons at the same time. I highly recommend the Simply Music method. My 15 year old dd is taking lessons in Los Angeles with this method and she has improved enormously (despite not being terribly interested in the rigor of practicing). It's sort of like suzuki method but for piano. It really helped across the board with her guitar and ukulele and songwriting.

claraschu Wed 25-Oct-17 06:03:39

It is nonsense that beginning violin students always make such a terrible sound. A decent teacher with a committed student will start by having some occasional squeaks and scratches, but no loud or long-lasting ugliness.

I think you should talk to your daughter, explain about the lessons, and don't buy the instrument until you find a teacher. If you give her a violin without lessons, some of the magic will be lost, as she won't be able to play it at all, and may well break it (violins are quite delicate).

My guess is that if your daughter is really keen and you are willing to help with practise, one of the teachers would be happy to give her lessons. Of course, they might be too busy, or totally against teaching 5-year-olds, but I think most teachers just want to avoid little kids who aren't ready to concentrate and aren't really that interested.

At this age, you really need a parent who is willing to put a bit of effort into the project. Without an interested parent, who makes sure that the child is doing what the teacher says, and keeps the mood cheerful and positive, 5 is probably a bit young.

ellesbellesxxx Wed 25-Oct-17 06:10:24

Raindrops' response is perfect

SofiaAmes Wed 25-Oct-17 06:34:53

My dd started simple lessons of guitar and piano at 5ish. She mostly just played around and learned a chord or two and didn't practice at all. It was as much babysitting as lesson. Dd grew comfortable with music and instruments and appreciation for musicians. I had always said that when she was ready to practice, I would pay for proper lessons. She finally started proper lessons when she was 13. She wants to be a singer/songwriter and has a wonderful appreciation for music and comfort with her instruments. She may not be as professionally developed as a classically trained musician who's been doing it properly since age 5, but she's done it just right for her personality and chosen profession.

educatingarti Wed 25-Oct-17 06:39:45

Can you get your dad on the waiting list of the teacher and Father Christmas could give her a 'violin voucher' because you have to be nearly 6 to actually learn. You could do this plus a recorder as suggested previously.

Minimusiciansmama Wed 25-Oct-17 06:58:38

I like educatingarti's suggestion. I think that's a good plan. The violin could come for Birthday. There are some lovely recorder books with easy pieces from stuff like frozen etc. My DD started recorder and piano at 5. It worked well.

also, if you were buying one without a teacher, you'd need to go to a music shop and she would need to be with you when you buy to ensure you get the right size for her.

It's wonderful she's keen but get her lessons smile

OnlyGlowingSlightly Wed 25-Oct-17 08:23:07

Wow - thank you all for the great advice!

OK - I think I'll get her a recorder for Christmas then, and explain that she needs to be a bit older for violin. Then if the recorder goes well, I'll go back to the violin teachers and see if things have changed.

Should I get a proper recorder from a music shop, or are the character ones you get on Amazon OK to learn on?

And should I try to find a teacher for recorder, or is that some enough that I should try to teach her myself?

Thank you all for helping!

OnlyGlowingSlightly Wed 25-Oct-17 08:36:09

hiddley - I think she first got interested when we looked around a school when she was just 3 and she saw an older girl having a lesson. She watched enthralled! More recently, her cousin let her have a go on his violin.

I actually suspect it's 'being able to play the instrument' which she is drawn to, rather than the particular sound iyswim. But she's been quite consistent about it!

SofiaAmes Wed 25-Oct-17 11:51:59

I would go to a music shop and have your dd try out a recorder first. Personally I HATE the sound of recorders and would never want to have to hear my child practicing one.

andantecantabile Thu 26-Oct-17 13:37:39

If you are going to get a recorder, definitely get an Aulos or Yamaha one -the cheap ones are actually more difficult to play and sound could teach her yourself from a book, Recorder Magic is good for the very young ones and you can get the CD version to make it more fun. Red Hot Recorder is also good but goes a bit more quickly and has less pictures.

Ferguson2 Thu 26-Oct-17 21:06:52

YES - Aulos or Yamaha for recorder. BUT you may find her fingers are too slim of cover the holes effectively. I only started recorders for Year 2.

However, if you can afford it, a good Keyboard will have hundreds of sounds - including violin, viola, cello, etc - woodwind, brass, and all orchestral sounds. It will also have accompaniment styles for most genres of music, and may be able to record and interface with computers via MIDI. Around £300 should get a good Keyboard.

(Let me know if you need more information.)

hiddley Thu 26-Oct-17 21:18:04

Violin is as good an instrument as any to start to learn music on (if you can cope with the noise). DS now plays banjo, ukulele and tin whistle. Interested now in piano and guitar.

Schwanengesang Sat 28-Oct-17 00:07:30

I agree that violin should start with a teacher; also that recorder might be a good starting point if a teacher can't be found soon for violin.

As with violin, recorder played badly is squeaky but a child being taught properly will soon sound better.

The thing thay may make it hard to play recorder is her fingers might be too small to cover the holes at this age, which will lead to squeaks and some notes not coming out right.

Thomann (online) do a preschooler recorder with smaller holes. It has fewer notes and starts on g rather than c (where descant recorders start) ie the tutor books mentioned upthread are not going to be suitable for the preschooler one. However, for learning to read music and do basic tunes it might make a good stepping stone until her fingers are bigger.

Of course if her hands are big enough, go straight to a descant. John pitts' Recorder from the beginning is a good book to learn from.

gillybeanz Sat 28-Oct-17 00:16:10

Violin is a great idea, the only thing worse is a recorder.
They don't all make awful sounds it depends on the individual.
I thought it really would be a viledin grin but it wasn't that bad.
If they really want to do it you should let them choose, sometimes they play for a while, progress to a certain level and change their minds entirely, this is fine too.

hiddley Sat 28-Oct-17 00:19:41

You ain't heard ds gillybeanz.... hmm

It would have put rats out of a mill. Caused my very sensitive musical ear severe distress for months. I almost covered my ears at the worst bits and the dog considered howling.

Michaelahpurple Sat 28-Oct-17 19:30:01

I am quite puzzled by the reluctance of teachers to take 5 year olds , as all the strongest players at Ds's school started by year 1 and a few in reception.

Absolutely agree no instrument without lessons. Utterly utterly. Also think renting better - they change violins every 18 months or so at that age.

And be aware that she will not be able to practice alone. Whether you do susuki or "trad", at that age you need to be at the lesson to learn how to practice with her and to help her practice.

CotswoldStrife Sat 28-Oct-17 19:34:30

I did Suzuki method, it felt very slow and repetitive to me. DD picked the violin too and her teacher uses the Violin Star books, seem to learn more songs in a different way (although my memory may be playing tricks after so long!).

Don't buy a violin without lessons, and your DD may grow out of it quite quickly. In fact, something with fixed notes is a good way of learning music befor the violin so she knows what it should sound like (I kick myself regularly for not doing this ....)

ReMyDog Sat 28-Oct-17 19:39:07

hiddley how old is you ds? very encouraging that he is interested in and plays several instruments.

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