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PostPosted: Fri Sep 17, 2010 9:29 pm 
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DD2, after turning down violin lessons at school in favour of guitar, which she started last week, actually got to have a go on a friends violin and is now desperate for one of her own :evil: . She has £100 of her own money which she wants to use to buy a violin. She believes I have no intention of paying for violin lessons, but is still desperate for an instrument. She seems to be quite musical and already plays piano and there is a reasonable chance that she will actually try to teach herself to play the violin.

Question is - how much should I let her pay for a violin? She will need a 1/2 size as she's only 7. I have seen violins for sale for £40 - or will she need to spend all her money? Or, doesn't she have enough to buy a decent beginner instrument?

We will hit the music shop tomorrow, but would appreciate any opinions before we get there.

Pixiequeen


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 17, 2010 9:43 pm 
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We paid about £135 for DD's violin but paid over a period of 10 months. And there were cheaper ones to be had. That, unfortunately, is the extent of my knowledge.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 17, 2010 10:34 pm 
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I've PMd you a site that sells very good violins, which are perhaps more suitable as a next stage. The site does have some useful information about violins, however. We bought DD's from here, after she had been using a county music service instrument for a while. Most music shops have a "beginner kit" which would probably be all she needs at this stage.

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Marylou


Last edited by Marylou on Fri Sep 17, 2010 10:36 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 17, 2010 10:35 pm 
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Joined: Wed May 09, 2007 2:09 pm
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Location: Solihull, West Midlands
There are often 1/2 size violins to be had at around £30-50, you may be able to get one second-hand from someone who has moved up to full size, or even borrow one for a few weeks to see if the enthusiasm lasts. . Would be worth checking the size she needs at a shop or with a teacher though. Some shops will let you try an insrtrument on approval. As the sound is not usually very special from beginner violinists anyway it is not usually considered worth spending a lot on a smaller first instrument, as long as it is in working order (don't try on ebay as sometimes they are sent without being properly assembled and are unplayable) . In later years you can pay almost as much as you want, but again it would be better to have advice from someone who can actually inspect the instruments with you.

I would have thought however that it would be unwise to go far along the "teach yourself" route - getting the posture & bowhold right is not straightforward from books and it would be a shame to start with bad habits that could be difficult to correct later on if she does take to it. Do you know any local violinists (even 6th formers) who could perhaps spend an informal session demonstrating a few things. Ask around among parents you know with older children learning locally - they may have an old half-size gathering dust in the attic as well.

There is more specialist advice on the Associated Board parents forum, though beware it is also populated by the parents of child prodigies with grade 8 in 3 instruments by the age of 11....


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 17, 2010 10:45 pm 
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If you can get into the West End, I'd recommend Footes. Don't know if they still do it, but I've bought 2 or 3 ex-hire violins from them and have always been pleased.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 18, 2010 6:55 pm 
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Thank you every one for your advice.

We ended up buying a purple 1/4 size beginner violin from the local music shop. Bit nervous about the small size but shop owner convinced us she would find the 1/2 size too big. DD is very pleased with it.

Think you maybe right about needing some instruction about posture and bowhold, Solimum. I'm not a violinist myself and although I can hold one correctly, couldn't explain to DD who didn't want me to interfere anyway. Rather hoping DD's piano teacher might be able to help or know someone who can.

Thank you for the link Marylou, the violins sound really good.- I've put it in my favourites for next time :D


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 21, 2010 9:00 pm 
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Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2010 9:02 pm
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We rented from the school till 1) we were sure she would continue 2) she went up to 3/4 size so would stay with one for a bit

Then bought 2nd from another parent via her school violin teacher. Good violin (new cost £200) for £85 as recommended by teacher PLUS sparkly purple.......
AND she has a pink music stand. Just what every 10 yr old wants. In the early stages the practicing made her baby sister cry though!

Good luck!


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 22, 2010 11:25 am 
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Self teaching violin sounds like a disaster for her future technique, and for your ears. It will guarantee her the house to herself for many years to come!!

If she's really keen, I'd swap to the violin from some other extra you are paying for at the moment. It's not a disaster if she changes her mind again. If you're going to get good on a string instrument, best to start early. Cheap beginners violins are horrible, but you'll know after a short period of time if it's worth buying a better one and the teacher will advise. Might be best to get the teacher's advice from the start.

Try getting her to watch some violinists on video, in concert etc, and listen to classical violin. If you want her to get beyond grade 0.1 do not let her self teach beyond a bit of fun messing around. Technique and posture and intonation is all. Position of the body, bow arm and hand, fingering arm and hand etc etc is key. It's not easy, and of course child has to be able to play in tune as there are no frets as on a guitar.

She'll need violin of the correct size, bow of the correct size, chin rest correctly fitted, music stand, rosin for the bow, etc etc.

Good luck


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 22, 2010 12:15 pm 
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DD has had her violin since saturday... she loves it but totally agree about her needing some lessons -she is struggling to hold violin comfortably and I just don't know how to help (DD is very narrow build with long neck). Any parents of junior violinists had same problem? Realise she probably needs shoulder rest - have tried a home sculpted sponge which helps but keeps slipping. Any recommendations for brands to try very welcome

Am going to approach school today to see if violin teacher can fit her in as school lessons very cheap.

Pixiequeen


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 22, 2010 10:21 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jul 21, 2009 9:56 pm
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Good shoulder rest is the key; child should be able to stand naturally and wave both arms around without having to contort her face in order not to drop the violin. There are these cheap things like sponges that fasten on with an elastic but they're really not great. I haven't played my violin for years but I had a fantastic rest that was fully adjustable. Sorry I don't know the make, and it was v. expensive at the time but definitely worth every penny. I'll search around. I'd draw you a picture of the type of thing but can't on here; it clips onto the violin in two places, and is like an arc shaped piece of firm foam (which rests against your shoulder/ chest) on pivoty legs - not a great description I know. Essential to go into a shop and get it fitted and do the arm waving test.

Without this you'll have a daughter who grows up warped unless she does not practise very often!! (physically warped that is)


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