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Recommend a musical instrument for a very smart girl who will be 4 in January.


papa taco

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Originally posted by papa taco

She keeps telling me she wants a violin.

 

 

There's your answer.

 

Who's to say why someone is attracted to a particular instrument, but just because we don't know why doesn't mean the reason should be dismissed.

 

For a child who wants to play a violin, as opposed to a child whose parents wants her to play the violin, four is not too young. My daughter started at five. Before that, we did this kids and parents explore music group which was nice but she got bored with the keyboard used in that group. She wanted to play violin (I still don't know why, or how she was even exposed to a violin.)

 

But you have to do it right. Weekly lessons, daily practice (at first 10 minutes a day) -- tell her that's part of the deal. Violin is difficult, it takes practice and patience. If she's mature enough to understand that, she's ready to play violin. And you or her mom need to be in the lessons, paying attention to what's going on so you can be the home coach and guide her through her practice. I found the whole experience very rewarding.

 

Or you can get her some instrument that doesn't require that kind of time and that she doesn't really want.

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I'd also second the violin. Call your local college and ask if they have a Suzuki violin program for youngsters. Southern Illinois University (near where I live, just an example, most universities have a program) has one and they have kids that at age 5 or 6 can play pretty darn complex music. If it's a violin she wants, that's what I'd get. Do everything you can to encourage it. Don't buy a $5000 violin, though, an inexpensive $200 or so one would probably do, but check first because the university might have small violins that you can rent until she's old enough to be able to handle a full size violin. They'll also be able to help you make sure you get the proper size for her to handle.

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buy a Schoenhut Toy piano. We bought one for our son, and he loves it. He also loves to carry a crappy little mis-tuned guitar around (Cuz I would let him drag mine through his toy pile). You can buy a short scale acoustic guitar for 100.00, or maybe even less.

I would suggest against a violin for the simple reason if it's too difficult, she may give up. If you start her on another instrument, she can gain confidence, and then move to a violin. If violin is the end goal, then buy a mandolin, since the tuning is the same.

Also, whatever you do, make sure the instrument is properly set-up. It's important for a beginner to be able to play with as little effort as possible, to lessen everyones frustration.

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I have a couple questions for everyone saying not to get the girl a violin:

Did you have a parent who tried to steer you away from guitar, even though you really wanted to play guitar? Was that / would that have been a good thing?

If the child isn't motivated and the parent isn't willing to do the home coaching thing, then violin is bad. But I read these posts about violin being "too difficult" and "frustrating" and I wonder -- Are you thinking about something that you can buy, put in front of the kid, and never have to think about again? No lessons, no support. If so, yeah, then you're right.

But from what papa taco says, his daughter wants to play violin. And everything I get from papa taco when he's talking about her is he'll support her and encourage her.

Suzuki has long established that very young children can be taught violin very well. This thread is as if the whole Suzuki thing never happened. Very strange for a board full of musicians.

:confused:

http://www.suzukiassociation.org/parents/twinkler/

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It's not that the kid won't be able to play, but there are very few kids who actually pick up a violin and excel quickly. Maybe Tacos kid could be one of them.

If it is difficult, which violin is, many kids get frustrated and quit. How many things did you try as a kid, and give up because it was hard? If she really wants to play badly, then she could get over the frustration.

I was just suggesting starting her an another instrument, which could lead to immediate results, making the student enjoy it more. Theres nothing worse than a year of lessons, and not being able to play a single song, which is what would probably happen with a violin student.

When someone wants to learn Bagpies, they start with a practice chanter, then after they have mastered that then get to try real bagpipes. I'm just suggesting the same thing (sort of). Mandolin would be a great "gateway" instrument.

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Originally posted by cusackmusic

It's not that the kid won't be able to play, but there are very few kids who actually pick up a violin and excel quickly. Maybe Tacos kid could be one of them.


If it is difficult, which violin is, many kids get frustrated and quit. How many things did you try as a kid, and give up because it was hard? If she really wants to play badly, then she could get over the frustration.


I was just suggesting starting her an another instrument, which could lead to immediate results, making the student enjoy it more. Theres nothing worse than a year of lessons, and not being able to play a single song, which is what would probably happen with a violin student.


When someone wants to learn Bagpies, they start with a practice chanter, then after they have mastered that then get to try real bagpipes. I'm just suggesting the same thing (sort of). Mandolin would be a great "gateway" instrument.

 

 

You seem to have no knowledge of the Suzuki approach. Not every little kid will develop into an excellent violinist, but with the holistic approach that Suzuki entails (and supportive involved parents are key!), the difficulty and frustration is managed and minimized. A typical Suzuki violin student has learned many songs after one year of lessons.

 

As for "gateway" instruments, what if the child has no interest in it and becomes frustrated because of that? Why do you think they make those tiny little violins (1/10, 1/8, 1/4)?

 

BTW, what you say about a mandolin is used in Suzuki -- bowing is what is most difficult so the first lesson or two are typically spent plucking the strings while getting the proper posture and left hand hold on the instrument.

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Originally posted by Fingermush

xylophone- it's unpossible to make a Xylophone sound bad.

 

 

I don't know if they're still made, but I had a set of tubular bells that you could set up on the floor on a little foam frame. Not as piercing as a xylophone, and they were already tuned to a major (or possibly pentatonic) scale, kind of like wind chimes that you lay out flat.

 

Another instrument that I dug the crap out of as a kid was a chord organ that my parents picked up from the thrift store. Easy to play and sounds cool.

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Originally posted by hookstrapped



Beginners use tape to mark where to place the fingers.

 

 

aye, i still have the residue on my old one. 4 might be a tiny bit young, but if there is a program then get her in it.

 

a tiny drum kit or keyboard would be fun for playing with you, as i recall i sounded TERRIBLE when i started on violin. painful.

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I forgot to mention that my daughter will sleep walk to the piano and play classical music then return to her bed. When we ask her about it the next day, she'll have no recollection. Then she'll just go and plunk on the thing like any other preschooler. Very odd. :eek:

































:p

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Only you and your daughter knows her attention span and discipline level. I've had students as early as 5 that excelled and some the same age that lasted a couple of weeks. As far as all the screeching stuff. you just have to expect that. If she's enthusiastic and encouraged she'll get through the early trauma without scarring to many people.

But, for the love of GOD, do not send her away to her room to practice like it's a punishment or a chore. Blissfully tune her out for ten- fifteen minutes each day as you read the paper or do the dishes. Let her be in the living room or where ever the family gathers.

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Originally posted by Jon Hiller

I'd also second the violin. Call your local college and ask if they have a Suzuki violin program for youngsters.

 

 

This is offered locally and it is a great program. Parents get to learn violin at the same time as the kids; so you can practice together etc.

 

Some of the very best guitarists started off on violin. If my kid wanted to play the violin, I would get them in faster than you can change a dirty g-string.

 

Little violins are cheap cheap cheap -- I paid 30 bucks for one at the sally ann. You should be able to find a tiny one for 100 bucks or less.

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Originally posted by covertmusic724

Only you and your daughter knows her attention span and discipline level. I've had students as early as 5 that excelled and some the same age that lasted a couple of weeks. As far as all the screeching stuff. you just have to expect that. If she's enthusiastic and encouraged she'll get through the early trauma without scarring to many people.


But, for the love of GOD, do not send her away to her room to practice like it's a punishment or a chore. Blissfully tune her out for ten- fifteen minutes each day as you read the paper or do the dishes. Let her be in the living room or where ever the family gathers.



She's exceptionally intelligent, I'm blown away by her. She's also extremely emotional, which can be a good thing or a bad thing. I think I'll go for putting her in voilin lessons in a year or so, if she wants. 3 3/4 is a bit young I think, but 4 1/2 or so? I think at that point she'd conquer as long as her emotions don't get the better of her. It's funny, she really excels at things where parents aren't involved. For example, in early swimming and dance things she would have the occassional fit and just not want to be there. But now that she's just entered preschool and had swimming lessons without her mom in the pool with her, she just loves to please the teacher and do her best.

The other day at preschool (her 2nd day), they ended the class with a play outside on the playground. A little girl in her class fell off the monkey bars and got shaken up. The teacher and other parents told my wife how my daughter went to help the little girl and brought her a cup of water and then she brought out chairs for the kids to sit on while she organized a meeting on playground safety. She's pretty spectacular. :)

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Originally posted by covertmusic724

Only you and your daughter knows her attention span and discipline level. I've had students as early as 5 that excelled and some the same age that lasted a couple of weeks. As far as all the screeching stuff. you just have to expect that. If she's enthusiastic and encouraged she'll get through the early trauma without scarring to many people.


But, for the love of GOD, do not send her away to her room to practice like it's a punishment or a chore. Blissfully tune her out for ten- fifteen minutes each day as you read the paper or do the dishes. Let her be in the living room or where ever the family gathers.



I agree with all this except for the blisfully tune her out part. You need to blissfully listen and encourage her for 10-15 minutes each day. :eek::)

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Originally posted by hookstrapped



I agree with all this except for the blisfully tune her out part. You need to blissfully listen and encourage her for 10-15 minutes each day.
:eek::)



If you agrred with the rest of the post, you should have realized that I certainly wouldn't ignore the child. That's why they should be in the area with everyone else. By blissfully tune her out I mean stand there and ignore the wrong notes but encourage the effort. If you stand there like a hawk looking for every mistake and correcting every error it won't be fun for them or you.

I'm a band director that just finished a good middle school rehearsal that saw students play 30-40% wrong notes/rhythms (they were reading new music). I know how to blissfully ignore students and still give positive encouraging comments.

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Originally posted by covertmusic724



If you agrred with the rest of the post, you should have realized that I certainly wouldn't ignore the child. That's why they should be in the area with everyone else. By blissfully tune her out I mean stand there and ignore the wrong notes but encourage the effort. If you stand there like a hawk looking for every mistake and correcting every error it won't be fun for them or you.


I'm a band director that just finished a good middle school rehearsal that saw students play 30-40% wrong notes/rhythms (they were reading new music). I know how to blissfully ignore students and still give positive encouraging comments.

 

 

Sorry, but you said while you read the paper or do the dishes -- my misinterpretation But I appreciate the important point you make about NOT watching like a hawk and correcting every mistake. It's a tough thing to learn how to do right -- depends on the child and the relationship between the parent and the child.

 

This is a great book that helped me a lot to do the home practice thing better.

 

http://www.sharmusic.com/itemdy00.asp?T1=H104&Cat=

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