The perfect child violin
Little violins for little musicians.
This page is dedicated specifically to helping parents find the perfect beginning child violin. If you are a beginner or a parent of a beginner that is old enough to need a full-size violin, check out Best Violins to find an instrument that is more tailored to your bigger body. Not all violins are sold in smaller sizes, but everything on this page should come in a size that you need for your little one to start playing!
There are two schools of thought when it comes to buying a child violin. One thought is that it is already hard enough to sound good on a really small violin, (go ahead, try it if you don't believe me) so spend more money and get a small violin that will sound good. Teachers and violin makers who promote this idea believe that if your student has an easier time making it sound really good then they will want to practice more and will be less likely to quit. Makes sense doesn't it. Teachers and parents who follow this way of thinking usually spend more money on a new instrument, their student sounds fabulous practices and progresses with their playing. The great thing about child violins is that if they are well taken care of they don't depreciate too much in value. They are good investments.
The flip side to this argument is that if your student really and truly loves to play, then it won't matter how much you spend. Let me demonstrate this point. My aunt teaches elementary school orchestra. She had one student that didn't have a violin, and so she came up with a school violin for her. My aunt said that the violin was beat up and not very nice at all, but this student was so excited to have an instrument, treasured her violin, and practiced more then any of the other students in the class (even those with really expensive instruments). Teachers and parents who believe this argument are better off not spending a lot of money on that very first beginning instrument. Let them see how much their student enjoys playing before they invest on a nice instrument.
As a young student, I don't know if my violin was expensive or not. I'm going to guess that it was not the most expensive violin because my parents bought it used off a call-in radio announcement. But to me it was golden. I loved that violin, and didn't know that anything could be better. If anything, it made me a better player because I had to work extra hard to get rid of the squeaks.
Whether you are looking to spend a lot of money, or buying on a budget; it is good to know a couple of things when buying a child violin.
Great Child Violins
Plan on spending at least $100.00, and more in the ball park of $200.00 to $400.00 for a decent starter violin. I say $100.00 because you can sometimes find a good used violin or a really good sale on a typically more expensive violin. Also, the smallest violins, 1/16, 1/8, and even 1/2 will usually run significantly cheaper then the same exact brand in a larger size. Remember as with everything music...you get what you pay for!
Cremona is a good starter violin brand. In fact, many violin shops and online stores recommend Cremona as their top 'Student-grade' seller. Cremona has kids sizes at a reasonable price and include the violin case and bow. In the end, you will spend less on buying this violin then renting for a year. The front, back, neck and scroll are all made from wood, which is something you want to make sure to look for when shopping for a student-grade violin. Usually you can find these violins on sale around $150.00, depending on the size.
As a violin teacher, and violinist myself, I prefer the look and quality of the SV - 150. For parents and students on a super tight budget, Cremona also sells an SV- 130, that is a little less money but is still a decent starter instrument.
If your looking for something that will be easy to play, durable, yet still affordable, the Franz Hoffmann violins
from Shar Music is a good place to start. These violins run between $200.00 and $450.00 depending on specific style and size you choose. Many beginner students start on the Franz Hoffman Etude series. These violins are really affordable but come with the backing of a great company.
Probably the best violin you can get for under $500.00 online is the Franz Hoffman Maestro Violin. The Maestro series is a favorite among both Suzuki and traditional teachers. It is known for it's capacity to make playing easy. Shar Music is an excellent company to work with, and this violin receives excellent reviews on all forums and websites.
If you are wanting to spend more money on a child violin, I would recommend visiting a violin shop. They may have some gently used ones, handmade ones, or specialty violins on hands. If you are planning to spend a little more for a nicer beginning violin for your little student, I would plan on budgeting between $500.00 - $1,000.
Before purchasing the violin ask to take it for a trial test run. Most violin shops, and even online violin shops will give you around one week. Have the student's teacher check it out, and let the student play on it a little bit. But be careful with it during this week often times it's a "you break, you buy it" policy on violins. Also, check into the shops return policy and 'trade-up' policy. When the time comes you need a bigger size how much of the original price will they refund.