View Full Version : What age for an instrument?
07-02-2007, 07:56 AM
Okay, what age would you start your child playing an instrument?
Conor is suddenly obsessed with playing the violin! :confused: The 4th and 5th graders in his school put on a concert for the little kids a few weeks ago and since then, it's all he can talk about! To be very honest, my gut feeling is that it has to do with this 5th grade girl that he looked up to and was in awe of all year - she was a safety and he would stay to help her open the door and would talk about her all the time, etc. Well, she plays the violin, so I think part of this stems from that.
But, the bottom line is, he does talk about it non-stop. My sister took him to the movies Saturday night and came home floored - she said when the instrumental music started, Conor was just going on and on "Aunt Kate, do you hear the violin? Did you know a viola is like a violin but it's bigger and lower, while a violin is smaller and higher? I like the fiddle too but if you learn the violin, I think you can play the fiddle. Aunt Kate, what's a mandolin?....." :eek:
I will say that our school district has an awesome music department, but they don't start the kids until 4th grade. My sister is pushing me to get him into violin lessons now. Honestly, I thought the idea of it would wear off, but after 6 weeks, Con still asks every day if he can take lessons!
He's only 7 though - and he already has sports, religious ed and cub scouts going on. We figured if we were to try it, the summer would be the time to do it since he doesn't have as much going on, and we could see if he really had an interest. But, I keep thinking he's so young! Neither Mike or I ever played an instrument so we're not sure what to do here. Do we give it a try or wait until it starts at school (which is really only 2 years away) and see if he still wants to do it? I would hate to squash something he really wants to do, but I just keep thinking "he's 7!!"....:nopity:
07-02-2007, 08:03 AM
I think I would begin by talking to his music teacher at school, I would call her over the summer if I felt comfortable enough. It is usually good to begin while interests are at a peak, but you wouldn't want him to get frustrated if he begins too early and is not ready.
07-02-2007, 08:47 AM
I think I would begin by talking to his music teacher at school.
LOL - well, as luck would have it, I was able to jump right on your advice!
Conor takes a "Math games" summer enrichment class at the middle school - just by chance, I ran into his music teacher outside this morning (she teaches vocal at Conor's school but is doing beginner instruments at summer enrichment). I love this woman - she is so great with the kids and so creative. My favorite memory so far of Conor being in school is these little kindergarteners at their Graduation playing "twinkle twinkle little star" and "yankee doodle" perfectly using just wooden sticks, triangles and tambourines! It was too cute!
Anyway, I spoke to her and she was very excited - she said that at 7 Conor meets the requirements needed to start - he can read and he's got enough small muscle dexterity in his hands (?). So, she said he's definitely not too young and she recommends that we give it a shot, but she said the key is to finding a teacher who works with little kids and can make it fun. She said the district just hired a new music teacher for the middle school and high school who's a violinist. She is going to speak to her to see if she either gives private lessons or if she knows someone who does. So, once I hear from her, I guess we'll make our decision....I feel better about it after talking to her, though, I still can't help feeling like maybe we should wait.... :confused:
07-02-2007, 09:05 AM
music is wonderful but i wouldnt buy any instruments yet...they are expensive and ya kiddo may lose interest fast. id go for classes where they let you use their equipment. We are the very proud owners of a set of drums 800 dollars my kid was dying to have. What a wonderful coat hanger it makes now not to mention the dust it collects now that son has no interest lol:(
07-02-2007, 09:40 AM
Hi Jen! When I was Connor's age, I started playing the violin - our school at that time started kids in 3rd grade. It's a hard instrument to learn, but I think starting at his age is actually a great idea, esp. if he's so interested - he won't tend to give up so easily, or get so frustrated. (I think as kids start older, they expect more from themselves and think it'll be easier than it is)
That being said - my DD8 will be starting her first instrument this fall, in 4th grade - she didn't have the opportunity last year - and she can't decide b/w piano & violin... so I'm going to try to get her exposed to both this summer, so she has an easier time choosing, and can change her mind next year, if need be!
Good luck w/ your decision - I think trialing it over the summer is a great idea - and how cool that he's that interested in it!! That's awesome! :thumbsup:
07-02-2007, 09:55 AM
I would rent one too b/c a violin is sized to fit and the little ones take a typically take 1/4 size which they outgrow fast. I think I still have a 1/2 or 3/4 size lying around the house:blush: Rachel's last violin from middle school.
Rachel studied violin for 4 years then when she transfered to HS didn't want to be involved in the steep competition they have in strings and dropped it. :(
I think there is some value to waiting b/c it can strengthen their desire to play and their determination to stick with it. But I also think that the right teacher makes all the difference in the world. Rachel had a great one when she started and loved it then had a not so great (mean and grumpy actually) then in Middle school had a wonderful one.
I think summer lessons are great and as you mention, he does have a full schedule. Try to take the position of "we want to make sure this is what you want b/c it's an investment" etc. in hopes that it will strengthen his determination vs. we don't think you are old enough b/c that can be a hook later when he is challenged (most often by peers when it's not cool anymore or by other activities). The hook so to speak allows him a "way out", an excuse to say why he is quitting.
I love strings and it's so much fun to listen to the little ones play. :thumbsup:
07-02-2007, 12:04 PM
Hi Jen! I played flute starting in third grade and also later tried sax, clarinet and drums. tried guitar, but it hurt my fingers. I think it is great for kids! I am going to let dd start guitar, she has a small one her size. I also expose my kids to all kinds of music, jazz, classical, Beatles, everything!
07-02-2007, 12:52 PM
I say, if he is so passionate about playing it, you should give it a whirl. It's hard to find kids that actually want to play. Who knows, if he starts out early enough, he could be world famous, lol.
07-02-2007, 02:00 PM
He is a great age to start learning an instrument. I would definitely rent first, but from his comments it seems that this is more than just a passing fancy and could be something he really gets into.I played the recorder from about age 6 on and started flute lessons. Luckily I rented the flute because I broke my wrist that summer and then never went back to it. But If Conner wants to try, I say let him. You aren't pushing him to do it. He will tell you if it gets to be too much. I will tell you this though- When I was young I did some sports, I went to music classes and played instruments and did gymnastics. I got to a point in my life where I became really shy and anxious and I cried my eyes out until my parents let me quit everything, however I wish they hadn't let me quit my music lessons. I really regret that now.
07-02-2007, 08:08 PM
I started playing the piano when I was 7, and then the sax when I started 5th grade. I agree with the other posters that you should rent the instrument at first but definately let him try it. Music was such an important part of my life growing up, and I played all the way through college. I think that Connor is at a good age and it will be more benefial to him to have the private lessons now than waiting until 5th grade. Go for it!
07-02-2007, 08:58 PM
Echoing what other have said, renting is the safe way to go. My sister, brother, and I all started playing insturments around that age. We all took piano, but only my sister became very good. My sister learned the clairnet, and played it all the way through college. I learned drums/percussion at that age, and played through high school in marching, concert, orchestra, and musicals. My brother on the other hand, took up violin at that age, then switched to trumpet, then switched to saxaphone, and by middle school, he had stopped playing all together .... so you never know.
07-02-2007, 09:21 PM
START HIM NOW!!! I can't stress the importance of music in a child's life enough. I started playing the violin 7 years ago at the age of 11 because that is when our school system's music programs start. I love it and wish I would have had the opportunity to start playing when I was younger. It is probably better to rent the instrument to start with until you know whether or not he is going to stick with it. And remember, no matter how terrible it sounds in the beginning IT WILL GET BETTER! Just continue to encourage him in whatever he wants to go for. :thumbsup:
07-03-2007, 06:56 AM
Thanks so much for the input everyone! I should have mentioned that we definitely plan to rent - both because he'd only use a quarter violin due to his size, plus, we want to be sure he wants to do this. Reading your posts made me realize that he has some older cousins who are very musical and so this could also be his way of imitating them, or it could be that he really wants to do it! My niece just graduated HS and got a full scholarship to William Paterson as a music major - she hopes to someday teach music at the middle school or high school level - Conor keeps thinking it means she'll be his teacher some day! :D
So, if we can find the right teacher, who can make it fun for him, I think we'll let him try it. :thumbsup:
07-03-2007, 06:58 AM
And remember, no matter how terrible it sounds in the beginning IT WILL GET BETTER!
This made me laugh, because I think this is my husbands biggest fear! He just keeps saying "do you know what it's going to sound like at first?" :D
07-03-2007, 08:19 AM
Music is a wonderful thing, especially when children begin young like him. Gray began piano when he was 4 and played for 6 years and just as you felt, we thought he was just too young and was only interested for other reasons. At first he loved it, then 3 wks later, hated it because he had to practice so much. Then when he realized he was putting together real music he fell in love with it. He hasn't played since his accident 3yrs ago and always talks about it, but he is no longer able to. We tried trumpet and it was a BIG mistake...even he said so.
Music is sogood for the overall learning experience. If he continues, you will love the outcomes no doubt. Good luck!
07-03-2007, 10:14 AM
The director of our local community orchestra has started a Junior strings orchestra. There are 5 boys in the Junior Strings. I think all of them except for my son started at 6 or 7 if not earlier. It is a great time to get them started and in the habit of practicing. They are able to pick up and learn faster at this age. Also, he will have that responsibility in hand before he gets involved in other extras that will detract from his practicing. They need to practice up to 45 min a day(at least it isn't the drums:drummer:). A pretty tough schedule when there are other fun things to do. But if he is this excited, I would get him started ASAP, before the excitement weas off. You will need to take him into a music shop to be fitted for a smaller violin. They come in at least 4 different sizes and it is important that it fit him correctly so he can get the different positions.:nopity: Go for it!! Good luck!! :mickey:
07-03-2007, 10:26 AM
I say go for it Jen! I would ignite any artistic sparks whenever they appear! Good luck to him! I always wanted to play the Violin.
Harry got a guitar for his 8th birthday and took lessons....he just picks it up intermittently now a days...but he does pick it up. I am trying to convince him to select the Cello as his instrument at school next year (Grade 4)....He has the size for it (and it would make me sooooo happy to hear him play!).:cloud9:
07-05-2007, 07:47 AM
I started learning to read music, and playing the recorder when I was 7, started the flute at 8, sax at 13 and clarinet at 14.
I now have a Diploma in Music performance!
Get him started, never too early to start music!
07-07-2007, 12:50 AM
I started playing trombone in 4th grade. Though I didn't realize it at the time, it was probably one of the best things I've done. :thumbsup:
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