Buying any new or used instrument can be stressful. Fortunately there are resources available to make the process much easier. Take a deep breath, read this blog post, and relax because you’re going to have all the information you need to make a great decision.
Get Expert Advice
A good place to start is a consultation with an expert. This could be the orchestra teacher at school or, if your child is taking private music lessons, it could be their instructor. Another option is the strings expert at a reputable music store. As with other instruments, it’s important the violin you purchase for your child is perfect for their level of musicianship and size, and also fits into your budget. Let’s tackle size first.
Violins come in eight main sizes. The size corresponds to the length of the body of the violin (not including the neck and scroll). The smallest is 1/16 (9 niches or 23 cm). and the sizes work their up through 1/10, 1/8, 1/4, 3/4, 7/8 and finally 4/4 or full size (about 14” or 36 cm).
Brand names are important, but when it comes to the violin, it’s more important to pay attention the country of origin instead. As a rule of thumb, avoid purchasing a violin that’s mass-produced. This would include imports from Taiwan or Hong Kong. These tend to be unbalanced, produce poor tone and are poorly manufactured making the instrument harder to play than it should be. Violins manufactured in the United States, Romania and Germany among others are much better bets.
Don’t rule out a used violin. If you happen to find a used instrument that’s been refurbished and is the right size, it might be the perfect fit. However, it’s always a good idea to have an expert look it over carefully to make sure there are no issues.
Know Your Child’s Skill Level
Next, you want to choose a violin that matches your child’s skill level. For example, if your child has never picked up a violin before, her or she likely won’t benefit from the extra features of an advanced violin; therefore, a beginning or student grade violin is the better choice. If your child has a year or two of violin lessons under their belt, an intermediate violin is a good choice. Professional level violins should be reserved for those who are super dedicated to the craft.
Children have a habit of growing so consider skipping up a size to allow room for growth, as long as they’re able to play the fourth finger notes. Again touching base with a teacher or instructor is a good idea since each child is different as is each violin.
Once you find the perfect violin for your child, purchase a sturdy case as well. You might as well protect that investment, right? There are a few essential accessories also worth purchasing; a bow, strings, rosin and cleaning cloths. Most retails will package everything your child will need to get started.