Most people believe that learning a new instrument should begin at a young age. Knowing the right time to start where you can pick up, learn, and advance your skills to master your craft can be helpful in your music learning.
The violin is one of the few excellent beginner instruments. The piano and guitar are other instruments that are great for beginners.
But when is the best age to start violin lessons? If you ask a violin teacher, it probably depends. Parents with young children may feel that starting sooner rather than later is better, but what is the right age for kids?
In this article, we will dig into what should be considered before you begin taking violin lessons and what age might be the best age for you or your child.
Is There a Best Age to Start Violin?
The short answer is no; there is no “best age” to start violin. Memory and cognition, or brain power, is an essential part of music education and, therefore, necessary when you start learning the violin.
So at what age do you think that your child has a good grasp on those things and can commit to learning a musical instrument?
What Age to Start Violin Lessons: Pros and Cons
Here’s a more in-depth look at when to start violin lessons for young children. Technically, any beginner instrument, including the piano, can be learned at a very young age.
However, it’s necessary for younger children to have a good understanding and ask questions when taking private lessons to learn their musical instrument. Here are the pros and cons of different ages of starting to learn violin.
Starting Violin Lessons Below the Age of 5
There are recommendations by many musicians and expert violinists who say that the earliest a child can begin learning an instrument is age 3. Before that age, children haven’t had enough development to benefit from what they will learn. So at 4 or 5 years, a child has a much better understanding of most fundamentals, and so that can be a good age when to start violin lessons.
Children who start learning before the age of five have incredible mimicking capabilities. They also have no fear and don’t let their mind tell them that they can’t do something; they jump right in and go for it!
Very young children often don’t understand feelings and emotions just yet, so it can be risky when you begin teaching violin lessons at such a young age. Tantrums out of frustration are common, but they can also lead to feelings of resentment surrounding the instrument, which leads to your child not wanting to play any longer.
You will also need to get a smaller-sized violin to fit for practicing. That’s not to say you can’t start your child learning earlier. If your child shows an interest and wants to learn, there is nothing stopping you from enrolling younger kids in violin lessons.
Starting Violin Lessons Between 6 – 10 Years Old
By age 5, brain development is fully grown. For 6 to 10-year-olds, your child’s brain has a better understanding of cause and effect and can take on more challenging tasks. Sight reading in music theory becomes easier since, by the age of 6, your child can read, whereas a 3-year-old may struggle with reading and understanding sheet music.
It’s a great time to introduce private violin lessons. In fact, there are teachers who won’t actually take on new students until they are over the age of 5.
Music has many benefits for young children before the age of 10. Studies on those taking music lessons have demonstrated that children improve their academic skills, social skills, and cognitive abilities.
Starting Violin Lessons in the Tween and Teen Years
The tween and teen years for brain development help to fine-tune cognitive functions. This can be one of the best ages to start taking on the violin. Things like abstract thinking, logic, and problem-solving make more sense and become easier. So it’s still an excellent time to take on learning the violin.
Sheet music and music theory make more sense at this age. Older children have developed learning strategies and more self-discipline. Teens and tweens won’t need to get a smaller practice violin; the standard-size violin will work.
Motivation at this age can be challenging. The focus and dedication it takes to see through learning new musical pieces and mastering skills are harder at this age than when you’re younger. There are far more distractions, but if you’re keen on learning and can take time to practice outside of lessons, you’ll make significant progress.
Starting Violin Lessons as an Adult
No matter the musical instrument, you can learn at virtually any age. So, even though there may be a preferred time to begin, the best age to start violin lessons is truly any time. This also includes adulthood!
Your maturity has reached its peak, and you have learned many life strategies that can help you in your musical journey. You’ll have a better idea of what’s expected from you so that you can take directions, find the best time for your outside practice, and even tackle more challenging classical pieces.
The main thing as an adult learning the violin is understanding the reality of what’s involved. It will still take time, even more time than when you were younger, because you’ll have less time available. You must be willing to put forth the effort to see the fruits of your labor.
How to Know Your Child Is Ready to Start Violin Lessons
Age isn’t the only factor involved when you’re assessing whether your child is ready for violin lessons. Here are some things you can look for as signs that your child is interested and ready to learn the violin.
Most great violin players say that it takes more than a twenty or thirty-minute lesson to excel. However, it’s necessary that your child have at least that attention span to focus since that’s a typical practice session with a teacher.
Hitting necessary developmental milestones in younger children. You may want to evaluate your children by asking them some questions, which may include some of the following:
- Can my child count from one to ten?
- Can my child recite the alphabet?
- Does my child pay attention when I’m explaining something?
- Do my children use their hands and fingers appropriately (i.e., fine motor skills )?
Desire to Learn
Probably the most important thing you want to look for in the beginning stages of music learning with your child is if they show an interest. Ability is one thing, but having the desire to learn is a crucial aspect of your child committing to learning string instruments.
Younger students will excel with a passion for learning the violin. They may even have expressed the desire to become a professional violinist.
Does your child display a love of music? Or have they even outright asked to take music classes? It’s a good indicator that it may be time to incorporate daily practice and music training.
Comfort Level with Strangers
Another significant aspect that’s important is your child’s comfort level around people that they are unfamiliar with; young kids or those at a very early age sometimes become very shy and standoff-ish around adults.
For violin training, your child needs to be comfortable being alone with a private teacher in order to take in the information and be willing to jump in and play.
It’s okay if your child is somewhat shy; during the first year, a good teacher will know how to work with your child’s individual needs to encourage a love for their instrument and get the most out of lessons.
You won’t necessarily leave your child alone with the instructor at first; for a young violinist, you want to be there for the first lesson or two to help them get used to practice times with their violin teacher.
Schedule and Availability
Your child’s schedule should allow for daily practice, both inside and outside violin lessons. Learning a song can’t be learned strictly on the days they go to their lesson; young students must also learn self-discipline and practice to improve each week.
The schedule doesn’t just depend on your child, either. As the parent, you must have the time within your own schedule as the parent of an aspiring violinist.
It’s a good idea to take into account how much time you can dedicate to helping your young string player to ensure that they are dedicating time to practice, working on their skills, and exercising patience, especially in earlier music instruction.
Choosing the Right Teaching Method
Adult students often understand their own learning challenges and strengths. It’s easier to make a personal decision as to what teaching method for the violin is going to work best. As an adult beginner, even if you don’t know the instrument, you have your own experience with learning to help you on your journey.
Music teachers also have common activities and learning methods that they incorporate when teaching children, and it can vary for young string players or older students. Here’s a look at some of the typical ways that a professional violin teacher may assist a young beginner on the violin.
And, since a small child doesn’t know what method or technique works best, it may take some trial and error. Here are some of the common practices involved when teachers work with younger students.
Traditional Violin Lessons
Private in-home lessons with a professional instructor primarily focus on learning the foundations of music, learning the parts of the violin and how they work, and music theory. Once all of the fundamentals are in place, the playing happens in a gradual fashion.
Young students learn scales and reading sheet music before they work on playing a song. Music teachers and private instructors understand the importance of learning these fundamentals to help young students improve their violin skills.
There is a lot that goes into learning, and note-reading takes high precedence so that when it comes to tackling a piece of music, the student is more than ready to jump in!
Online Violin Lessons
Taking online violin lessons is presented in an even different manner. Working online is an excellent option for students who have limitations where they live so that they can find the best teacher to help them learn violin.
Many violinists can learn through online classes with other resources and go beyond basic fundamentals to improve. Online lessons often involve more outside practice, and during the lesson, you may cover more ground in music theory and more interactive techniques as well as lesson plans.
Online classes do require a few things, including decent computer equipment besides your instrument, such as a microphone, camera, and a stable internet connection. Teachers and students should also ensure that they limit any distractions that can occur during the online lessons to get the most out of each practice session.
It’s Never Too Early or Too Late to Start
So, to answer the question, “When to start violin lessons?” The most straightforward answer is this: If you feel your child is ready to start learning the violin, regardless of age, go ahead and enroll them in some lessons. The worst case is that you discover they are too young to pay attention and focus during the lessons, and you may have to wait it out.
There is no true ideal age for your child to start learning the violin, but around the age of 5 is a good time to start assessing their musical interests and see if it’s worth looking at. Don’t worry if it happens later, though!
And – it may open up some doors for you as well to want to begin learning the violin yourself, even as an adult. Students of all ages can explore the benefits of musical education and the joy that comes from learning an instrument, so the violin can be learned at any age with success.