Learning the violin, or any instrument for that matter, can be challenging for young children. However, many young children flourish when learning a musical instrument at a young age.
By guest writer Nicole McCray.
As a parent, it can be difficult to know when the best age or time you should enroll your child in lessons. While there is no honest definite answer for a specific age, there are some ways you can work to detect signs in your child that they are interested in learning to play the violin.
Music lessons and education provide excellent benefits for children, from improved social skills to expressing emotions and higher academics. So if you notice that you have a child expressing interest in playing the violin, there are some steps that you can take to help foster and encourage them into learning how to play.
#1- SIGN: THEY SHOW INTEREST IN THE VIOLIN
Children have an innate interest in music with exposure since infancy, from nursery rhymes to lullabies. Sometimes children will show you how interested they are by explicitly asking for violin lessons.
If they’ve asked for many things or you feel that maybe they are still too young to begin, give them some time, and see if they show a genuine interest or passion for playing before you decide to enroll them in lessons. It can take some time and continuous asking before you want to recognize their desire.
HOW TO FOSTER: ENROLLING THEM IN VIOLIN LESSONS
If they continually ask for lessons and you can detect that they are expressing strong interest, you might consider it an excellent time to enroll since they are still interested. In addition, enrolling your child in lessons is a great way to help encourage their learning to play, and they can work with a professional to help them advance in their skills.
When you begin to look for a violin instructor, keep their age in mind. Platforms such as Music to Your Home teaches violin lesson for children starting at a very young age. Music teachers take a keen interest in being creative, developing fine motor skills, and the children's creative skills. You also want to ensure that the instructors have experience working with younger children.
#2- SIGN: THEY FOCUS WELL ON THE TASK AT HAND
Learning the violin requires dedication, practice, and patience to know that it will take time to develop. It also needs a student who is focused and can concentrate on improving. If you have a child that you can see focuses well on one activity at a time, this is an excellent sign that they could stay focused on learning the violin.
An example might be if they are playing a game or working with a toy. You notice that they exercise patience in figuring it out, and even if they struggle, they still work through it till the end. These are excellent skills to have when learning the violin.
HOW TO FOSTER: HELP THEM TO SET UP A PRACTICE SCHEDULE
When your child starts to take violin lessons, they may become overwhelmed with all of the practice time necessary to learn to play well. As a result, they might begin to view playing the violin as more work than fun. It can help you encourage your child to find a way to consider practicing the violin as something that they want to do, rather than something they have to do.
Help your child take control of themselves by setting up a practice schedule. Children are used to parents forcing them to do homework and chores, but letting them take the reigns for their violin practice will help encourage the want to play. And, if they set up the schedule themselves, they will also be more likely to stick with it.
#3- SIGN: THEY LOVE MUSIC
It may seem obvious, but to play any instrument, your child should love music. Of course, most children enjoy music, but if you can sense that your child has a real knack for singing in tune or loves to pick up that toy instrument and play to their heart's content, this is a good sign that they will want to learn to play.
You might also notice your child has a talent when it comes to learning and applying music in such a way that you will feel compelled to enroll them in violin lessons. However, sometimes children have an aptitude for creating and understanding music, so that they even develop the skills to create their own music in a short time.
HOW TO FOSTER: KEEP ENCOURAGING A LOVE OF MUSIC
Children who listen to music and enjoy it with their parents will create an incredible bond and strengthen their relationships. So, think about incorporating music in fun ways, such as dancing and singing together at home, so that you can not only demonstrate the fun that music brings but help create a fun bonding time for you and your child.
You can find other creative ways to encourage and foster their love of music. For example, bring your child to a concert, musical, or orchestral performance where they can hear the beauty of the violin or watch a performance together on television. Seeing the instrument being played can provide significant motivation for your child to aspire to improve their playing skills.
#4- SIGN: THEY UNDERSTAND LETTERS AND NUMBER
Some people believe that it can be more beneficial for children to start learning instruments before talking. While this can happen, a more detectable sign for you to know is that music is very technical.
If your child can understand the alphabet, at least from the letters A to G (for notes), and counting to the number eight or ten, this is helpful when they start to learn the violin. Since reading music is an essential aspect of their playing, notes and letters will be a large part of their musical learning.
HOW TO FOSTER: HELP THEM WITH MUSIC THEORY
Music theory is a fundamental building block for learning how to play music. If you have any musical knowledge, you can help jumpstart their learning by ensuring that they understand those letters and numbers and how they apply to sheet music.
You can even help them learn to count by giving them simple rhythms to bang out on some pots and pans, just as a fun exercise. Rhythms and beats are also an essential aspect of learning the violin, so helping them learn some fun and simple patterns will be an excellent tool for them when they begin their music lessons.
#5- SIGN: THEY FIT THE INSTRUMENT
There aren't very many instruments that are fit for young children, but sometimes you can access different-sized instruments to cater to younger children until they grow to require the average-sized ones. The advantage of the violin is that it is made in multiple sizes, so even if they are young when they show interest, it is not too early to start them learning how to play.
HOW TO FOSTER: ADJUST THEIR SIZE AS THEY GROW
Ensure that you research the best violins for children at the appropriate age since they differ in size. You can also consult with their violin teacher to decide what size will fit them best when they start and when to update and buy a new one as they grow and learn the instrument.
#6- SIGN: THEY ARE FAST LEARNER
Sometimes children are more independent and pick up the hang of things or activities quickly. If your child has an aptitude for moving at a faster pace or having better control over events and situations, this is a good sign that they will learn the violin.
Since learning the instrument requires a lot of effort and practice, your child must have patience and have the stamina to learn something new without feeling frustrated or giving up too easily. Commitment is also a vital trait that they should possess.
HOW TO FOSTER: HELP THEM ENJOY TO LEARN
Naturally, as parents, we want our children to find the violin exciting and foster their talent, but sometimes children will play for a while and then seem to become less interested as time passes. Encouraging that commitment to stay with it when music pieces become challenging or they start to become less interested can help them push through that rough patch.
As long as your child finds the violin fun, they won't usually view their practice time as tedious. But, you can still help ensure that they are enjoying themselves by finding ways to make their practice time more fun, such as creating fun, musical games out of their music theory terms or asking them to play through their piece for you and giving them a lot of praise for their hard work.
OTHER HELPFUL TIPS TO FOSTER YOUR CHILD’S TALENT
While there may be many instances where your child is inclined to learn the violin, it will always come down to whether you are ready as a parent to enroll them in lessons. However, there are some things that you can begin teaching and helping your child to understand ahead of time if you sense their inclination to learn the violin.
A great violin teacher can sometimes make all of the difference between having your child love learning their instrument. So, it is a big part of your job to ensure that you are locating the best teacher to help your child learn and that they can cater to your child's needs when it comes to learning to play.
Other helpful tips to consider when encouraging and cultivating your child’s talents include:
Ultimately it is up to you as the parent to decide when your child is ready to begin violin lessons and learn how to play. However, it is just as vital for you to be prepared to be there to help encourage them along in their journey. Any time you can take to help them practice, find the best teacher, and understand the financial cost of putting your child in violin lessons are also part of the process.
While it can be stressful and challenging for your child, learning the violin can bring them some fantastic benefits and advantages to apply to their lives as they grow and develop.
A special thanks to our guest writer Nicole McCray for sharing this piece with the Music for Young Violinists audience. As always, we love hearing from you, and if you are inspired to share something, please write in the comments below. Thanks!
Hi! It's me, Heather. I absolutely love working on the Music for Young Violinists project and all the many facets: blogging, website, music, teaching materials, freebies, videos, newsletter and giveaway contests. The best part is connecting with you so feel free to drop me a line. You can learn more about me on the "ABOUT" page. Thanks!