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Clarinet vs Violin

(13 Posts)
Luna9 Mon 14-Dec-15 17:56:49


My 8 year old dd has been learning the clarinet over a year; I have been thinking that violin may be more useful and she may get to practice more. I don't know anything about music so will appreciate any advice.

Thank you

TeenAndTween Mon 14-Dec-15 19:42:41

imo Violin sounds horrible unless you get really really good.

I've never played either, but I'd stick with clarinet unless she wants to switch!

Hopefully someone more useful will be along in a while.

AgonyBeetle Mon 14-Dec-15 19:49:02

You should be guided by what she wants, tbh. IF she wants to learn a stringed instrument, that's a good start. Violin is a complex instrument to learn, and takes a lot of practice just to get the basics, so she has to want to do it, and has to put in the hours of practice (30 mins a day at age 8, really).

Does she have a good ear for pitch? If you don't have an ear for hearing fine details of tuning, it won't sound nice even after many years of tuition and many hundreds of hours of practice. I know some dc like this, and tbh don't understand why their parents haven't encouraged them towards an instrument with fixed pitch, like a clarinet, where being able to hear the intonation is less crucial.

You should also bear in mind that many children start learning the violin very young, and if they are moderately talented and have practised regularly, they will be pretty good by age 8. If your dd is only just starting out, she will have a lot of catching up to do, and in any ensemble situations she is likely to be sitting at the back of the 3rd violins for a long time.

If you are thinking in terms of which instrument is 'useful' in an orchestra, you might be better encouraging her towards one of the less common wind instruments - even an averagely competent bassoonist for eg. will be welcomed with open arms in most orchestras.

mrz Mon 14-Dec-15 19:51:59

Clarinet sounds awful too at the beginning (my daughters class teacher described it as sounding like a wounded seal )
I'm not sure that changing will make your daughter practise more or be more useful.
My daughter played clarinet in the county youth orchestra and transferred to saxophone

Seryph Mon 14-Dec-15 20:02:16

How about asking her? The only person who should decide if someone learns an instrument is them. I think most people should be able to plonk out the odd thing on a piano, or sing the odd note but I would never force someone into it.
Violin is exceptionally hard because there are no keys or marks to show you where the notes are, you have to be able to hear the exact right place on the strings, a fraction of an inch off will result in the wrong sound.

Luna9 Mon 14-Dec-15 22:00:38

Thank you very much; I think she better stick to the clarinet; she does not mind which one she does; she may find it hard learning the violin as she is not very patient and only practices 15min every other day;it is more like a hobby and to learn a bit of music

SanityClause Mon 14-Dec-15 22:09:09

Re your comment about DC learning violin very young, Agony, DD2 started when she was 3. I was discussing this with her teacher, once, who told me he took it up at 13, and by 21, was playing with the LSO!

But, if she likes the clarinet, there's really no reason to change. It's a versatile instrument, too. She can play in an orchestra, a concert band, a jazz band, a big band and a wind quintet. (I may well have missed some.)

AgonyBeetle Mon 14-Dec-15 22:29:08

I think if it's a hobby rather than a passion, then definitely better to stick to clarinet unless and until she wants to move on. And if she turns out to enjoy ensemble playing, then clarinet transfers well to several other instruments if she wants to branch out.

Sanity - yes, obv some people can start later and progress very quickly. But some instruments give a return on investment more quickly than others, and violin is one of the ones where the rewards take a little longer. I imagine that could be dispiriting for a learner who is not exceptionally dedicated or (or more likely, and) has a natural talent.

Indole Tue 15-Dec-15 12:27:27

DD took the violin up at 8 and just passed her grade 1 a year later. I wouldn't say she has done anywhere near as much as 30 minutes a night! It is more like ten minutes and I give her a day off on the day of her lesson. I think she makes a very nice sound, though I agree that sometimes violin beginners don't.

Agree with everyone else that it should be your DD's decision. Learning an instrument you want to learn is way more fun than having one selected for you!

Threeunderthree33 Tue 15-Dec-15 19:05:57

If she is likely to carry on there are different opportunities for ensemble playing. String instruments are always in demand for orchestras - a symphony orchestra will have 16 -20 violins but max 4 clarinets. Are there wind bands available around you? At my school there were masses of opportunities for strings but the wind players had to be really good to get a look in.

Luna9 Tue 15-Dec-15 20:43:54

Thank you; she didn't ask to change; it was me thinking that she will get to practice more if she does violin as there is a school orchestra and there seems to be more demand for violin. Having read the comments I think she will find hard learning the violin so we will stick to clarinet unless she ask to change.

teacherwith2kids Tue 15-Dec-15 22:04:07

DS was a dutiful rather than enthusiastic clarinet player until he discovered jazz after a couple of years.

He added the saxophone once he wanted something louder and cooler to play in jazz band. So he now plays clarinet in orchestra and wind group, and (mostly) saxophone for jazz. He's not in any way outstanding at either, but good enough to play 3x a week in school (more when the school production is on) in different groups and 2x in county run' groups - 1 jazz, one a music centre with jazz, wind and classical orchestra.

So I would say it's as much about finding 'music that you want to play' rather than the instrument per se. The clarinet is quite good like that because it, or its closely related instrument cousins, transfer easily between classical and jazz or big band, whereas violin is a much more 'classical only' instrument .. more jobs for violinists, but a narrower range of music, if that makes sense.

DD has transferred to cello, though she also learned clarinet at primary. Tbh, the 'first step' to early grades in cello seems HUGE compared with that on a wind instrument (DS took no exams till Grade 5 clarinet / grade 4 sax, DD has laboured quite hard to take grade 1 cello after a year)

Indole Tue 15-Dec-15 22:43:25

I think string instruments have a very steep early learning curve in order to pass exams (am also a violinist). After about grade 5, it's all much of a muchness - there is then so much more to think about than just being able to play the notes. With string instruments being able to reliably play the notes accurately is sufficiently hard that it's kind of all you can concentrate on for the first three or four years. After that, you have a sufficient base of knowledge that you can move on to other considerations (but a lot of people get put off by the hardness of just being able to get the right notes out reliably).

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