My parents played a key role in my decision to play the violin when I was eight years old. They strategically planned for my sister to play the cello and my brother to play the piano, resulting in the three of us forming a piano trio. Even though my siblings and I did not have much say in the matter, we still appreciate the instruments we have learned to play. This decision my parents made might not work for every child, but I believe that parents can provide ways for children to explore an instrument of choice. In my experience teaching a variety of string instruments to students, the process of finding what they would like to play can be the most fun and interesting part of the journey. If you are deciding among cello, viola, bass, or violin lessons in Atlanta for your child, here are a few ways to help aid in the decision.
Expose To The Sounds Of Each Instrument
The sound of each string instrument has its own beauty and distinct qualities. Some people gravitate towards mellow and lower sounds from the cello and bass while others prefer the bright and higher sounds of the violin. Repeatedly listening to the sounds of these instruments in an ensemble or solo setting can help a child figure out which sound they enjoy hearing consistently. Listening to concertos are especially a plus since these specific works highlight the full range of virtuosic playing achievable on each instrument and also the brilliance or each string of the instrument. Even concerts are a perfect listening opportunity. This step is quite important since you child will have to hear the sound of the selected instrument almost everyday when practicing.
Consider Instrument Trials
In my first session as an Atlanta violin teacher teaching a group class of children who had little to no exposure to playing instruments whatsoever, I decided to divide the class into three groups to let them try one of the instruments I provided: cello, viola, and violin. Before handing each student an instrument, I showed them basic posture and instrument etiquette, then let them play away. After a few minutes, I had the groups switch and the process repeated three times so each student had the opportunity to try all three.
I was nervous that all of the students would want to play cello, or only one or two would’ve preferred to play the violin or viola. To my surprise, the students’ final decisions reflected a fair distribution of the instruments as the students expressed their peculiar inclinations toward the instruments chosen.
Once they have a feel of each instrument, children also have a sense of other physical matter like if they are fine with holding an instrument on their shoulder or playing a bigger instrument while sitting down. This instrumental trial is possible at instrument stores but calling ahead to make an appointment is best for confirmation.
Weigh the Pros And Cons
While it may be difficult to know everything about the learning process for a specific instrument, having an idea of the opportunities and details about each instrument will give your child more factors to consider. For example, my sister who plays the cello has to buy a separate seat for her instrument when she travels by plane. Violists make up a smaller section of orchestras and students might find fewer opportunities than violinists. Bass instruments might need to be rented in different locations and the list goes on. Still, I believe that this step should not overshadow a child’s interest for which instrument they decide to play.
My sister enjoys playing the cello and while traveling is a hassle at times, that worry is of lesser importance to her dedicated musicianship. Violists might be fewer in number but numerous options for quality lessons and music programs also exist for them. Weighing the pros and cons does not have to be primary in the process but I do find it to be important for your child to know more about what is ahead in their musical journey. Lessons In Your Home provides a variety of instrumental learning and are here for you and your child regardless of whichever instrument is chosen.
If you are interested in learning more about the violin or any stringed instrument or if you want to sign up for lessons, contact us! Our teachers come right to your home for every lesson, plus we offer virtual music lessons, too. Our online music lessons are taught by local music teachers with live lessons tailored to your family!
By: Danya Wilson