Beginner Violin Information

Welcome to your first year of violin lessons! We’re looking forward to helping you and your child get started on this new adventure of learning a string instrument. 

For the first 2-3 weeks, your child will learn with a Box Violin. This is a “pre-violin” that your teacher makes for your child to help teach the proper way to support and balance the instrument with the shoulder and jaw. Learning to hold the bow will be done using a pencil so your child can properly shape their fingers for good bow control without the extra mass of the long bow stick.

After those first few lessons, your child will need to have a real violin outfit along with a few other important accessories. This information sheet is designed to help you get all of your “gear” together so that you’re ready to start making some sound! Here’s a list of what you’ll need:

  1. A Violin Outfit (violin, bow and case)
    Violins range in size from really small (1/32) to full sized (4/4) and it’s really important to get a violin and bow that fit. Violins can be purchased or rented from any of the vendors listed on our website (see “Where to Shop” at www.kwcss.org), but we recommend that sizing be done with a teacher at their studio, or, locally at Riedstra’s violin shop on Victoria St. North. Our school also has a few good quality instruments available for rental as well at $15 per month x 10 months and you get the summer free! Please email Bruce (bskelton@kwcss.org) to discuss this option. Your purchase/rental should be made by the end of September. Please remember that you get what you pay for.

    Resist the temptation to overspend, but avoid really inexpensive instruments as they often lack good tone. A good value range for the violin is a purchase price between $400 and $600. For bows, there is a choice between wood and carbon. Go with carbon as it is much more durable, and sounds as good as a wood bow.
  1. An instrument for you?
    You are encouraged to practice the skills the child is learning, so it’s a good idea to have a violin for yourself. If you wish to do this, you will need a full-sized (4/4 size) violin outfit. Like the smaller violin for your child, a good quality violin for learning on can be rented or purchased. 
  2. The Instrument Case
    There are two basic choices of case: Shaped and Oblong/Rectangular. Your instrument will be quite safe with the less expensive shaped design. There should be a small compartment to hold rosin and a few other small things, and most modern cases come with backpack straps and a velcro strap to hold the violin in place in the case. Check the zippers to be sure they operate smoothly, and remove/hide the key (if there is one) so the case can’t be locked and the key misplaced...
  3. Rosin
    Rosin is used to help the bow make sound. This will usually be included with a purchase or rental, but if you’re buying it separately, products in the $10 to $20 range are sufficient.
  4. A Tuner
    Violins need to be tuned regularly to sound their best. If you don’t have a tuned piano or keyboard at home, a pitch pipe, tuning fork or electronic tuner/metronome (i.e. by Korg); some excellent apps are also available for iPhones, iPads, and even some Andriod and Blackberry devices. Consult with your teacher for recommended products and how to use them.
  5. A Book and a Recording
    You’ll need Suzuki Violin Volume 1 Book (the violin part only) and a high quality recording of all of the songs you’ll learn with your child. Volume 1 can be purchased with a CD, or you can purchase the album from iTunes. There are several versions available from different violinists, but we recommend the recordings by William Preucil and David Cerone as they are the most up-to-date.
  6. Learn about Talent Education
    Familiarize yourself with the Suzuki Approach to learning by reading one of Shinichi Suzuki’s books such as Ability Development from Age Zero, Nurtured by Love and The Suzuki Concept. There is also a wealth of information online. Here are some highlights:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suzuki_method
    https://suzukiassociation.org/about/suzuki-method/
    http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/suzuki-method-emc/
    http://www.spectator.co.uk/columnists/mary-wakefield/9211651/the-suzuki-method-didnt-make-me-a-great-violinist-but-it-did-change-my-life/
     

  7. Questions?
    While you begin to process what you’ve read on this sheet, new questions will surely arise. Please feel free at any time to call or email the KWCSS Director (Bruce) or your own teacher. You’ll find our contact information on the back of the 2015-2016 Calendar of Events.