Tips for buying the first violin for your kid
Is your child looking forward to playing the violin? Congratulations! This instrument is perfect for children with great sensitivity towards music, and playing it may be challenging, but it is definitely rewarding. If you already have an instrument at home, the child may start practicing with it until you find the ideal model for her age. However, when it comes to purchasing the first violin ever, you may seem a little lost. Don’t worry! We’re here to help! Here are some recommendations for choosing the first violin for a beginner student.
Check the size
Violins come on different sizes, being 4/4 the regular adult size. There are many smaller models, from 1/16 onward. That is important because –you know- children do grow up! So you should be ready to upgrade to a new violin in some time, when the instrument you are now looking forward to purchase gets too small for their hands. Thus said, don’t buy a bigger violin expecting to last longer: playing an instrument of the wrong size can have negative consequences such as neck, back, and arm pain, and even chronic injuries. If you have questions about the size, always opt for the smaller violin.
Don’t waste your money on a cheap violin
This should be the #1 rule when buying any musical instrument, but it’s extremely important when it comes to violins. Of course, there are cheap violins out there, you could find some models for $30 or less, but not only they will be a waste of your money, they can also become exasperating for your child when trying to play the instrument.
Cheap violins usually have some notorious flaws, such as tuning pegs that slip, are too tight or too stiff; their fingerboards are uneven; there are gaps in the joints and seams; the strings are low-quality… all of this produces an unpleasant sound! The same may apply to a used violin: before buying one, you should check it to see the quality. It’s not the same if the buyer is someone close to you that kindly offers it because their child has already upgraded to a new size, than to buy from a random stranger online who offers a “high-quality” model at a surprisingly low price…
Tuning a violin and playing it is already quite challenging, don’t add more frustration to it. Remember, you can always rent a violin if you are on a budget and you can’t buy a good new instrument.
Should you go for a beginner violin or an intermediate violin?
You check the online music store and you rush to the “beginner violin” section, right? After all, it’s the first violin your child will ever play! The problem with these models is that, most of the time, they fall into the category of “cheap violins”, and, as we explained above, they have way too many flaws. In any case, don’t buy anything from under $100. You may find acceptable beginner models at this price range. They may help a child take their first steps in the instrument for a month, maybe two. This is cool if you or your children are only trying the instrument and you are ready to switch to another thing if they don’t find it that interesting.
The “intermediate violins”, on the other hand, are way more elaborated, manufactured by known brands from quality materials, and last much longer. While they are more expensive than the typical beginner violin, they will also last longer and provide a much better sound quality. Of course, their price rage doubles the beginner violins’, as they usually cost from $200 to $500.
But which violin is the best for my kid? There is no single answer to this question. This is because there are many different models and brands, as well as violin players. If possible, ask for recommendations. If you already have a violin teacher for your child, no one better than them to advice you! You could also ask some of your child’s classmates that have been already playing the instrument for a while. If you buy the violin in a store, the salesperson will be able to guide you. However, you can also do some research, read some reviews, and buy your first violin online.
Some violin models for beginners
There are hundreds of violins for beginners or intermediate students available. Here we recommend a few that were given good reviews and come from respected manufacturers.
- Stentor 1500: It is one of the most popular violin brands, strongly recommended by instructors. These Chinese violins come in different sizes and they provide the quality of a handmade instrument within a reasonable budget. You can find it on Amazon for $189.99.
- Cecilio CVN 300: This brand is well-known for their great bows. The beginners’ kit comes with a tuner, a lesson book, a spare bridge and two bows. The price on Amazon goes from $132 to $155 depending on the size of the instrument.
- Bunnel Pupil Violin Outfit: A complete kit from Kennedy Violins, a national brand that decided to provide beginner players with something more than VSO (violin shaped objects, as the cheap violins are often referred as). You can buy it online for $213.
- D Z Strad Violin Model 101: Ok, despite what the name may suggest, it’s not a Stradivarius, but it is a good model for new violin players. The brand is a leader among American instrument manufacturers. You can find it available in different sizes on Amazon for $325.
- Cremona SV-200 Premier Student Violin Outfit: The good quality of its strings is one of the pros of this violin brand. You can purchase it on Amazon from $300 to $400 depending on the size. By the way, no, the bigger the violin does not imply the higher the price!