13 Things You Can Do if You Plan to Start Your Child on Violin Lessons
DOING THESE WILL HIGHLY SUPPORT YOUR CHILD'S VIOLIN PLAYING JOURNEY.
1. Give the violin a name: *Create a sense of bonding*
"What's your violin's name?" Grandma asked. "F-F-Fanny!," my daughter yelled gleefully as she introduced her new friend violin to her Grandma.
From here on, every time she grows out of a violin, my daughter gets a new friend with a new name. It has been a wonderful way to create a connection with her instrument and for me to say, "Poor Fanny! You're hurting her by holding her upside down!”
2. Always leave the violin out: *The violin is part of the environment*
Even though you might worry about the violin getting hurt, the benefits of having the instrument readily available will outweigh your concerns.
I must admit that we did have some accidents, mostly regarding the bow, but I had previously decided that this wouldn't stop me from leaving the instrument out of its case no matter what.
As a teacher, I realized that I was telling the parents of my students to keep the violin safely put away between practices, but once I became a mother, I realized that I was mistaken!
I wanted my daughter to see the violin there every day, just like a favorite toy laying around ready to be played with.
At the beginning stages you can also use a foam violin and then you’ll run no risks!
3. Let her handle it: *Allow exploration without worry*
I applied this same principle by allowing my daughter to explore the instrument on her terms, under some supervision, of course. By having named her "Fanny" and by having made her 'real,' I was able to help my daughter understand that the violin needed to be handled with care. But she was always free to explore and experiment with producing a sound, either with her fingers or with the bow.
4. Let my friends' kids try too: *We all think it's fun!*
Having the violin readily available not only will entice your child to want to play it but your friends' kids will want to try as well once they see it!
This is a wonderful opportunity to have your child be the helper - ask your child to teach little Tommy how to play, and watch how both their eyes light up by trying!
5. Explore other instruments: *Music is full of discoveries*
The fun thing about music is that there are many simple instruments that you can buy to place around the house for your child to discover. We had an old ethnic flute that finally got some educational use.
I also found a 'piano horn' that provided my daughter with endless hours of entertainment as she explored how to play the next note.
Drums are always fun. My daughter loved the Lollipop drum and the floor drum.
Pots and pans do just as well! Set up different sizes and give your child a wooden spoon. Let the discovery begin without even showing what to do. You’ll be delighted to watch! Check out the instruments mentioned above.
6. Watch musical movies for kids: *Musical movies have a special purpose*
Even though we all try to avoid extended screen time for our kids, I never hesitated to show my daughter those movies that expand the imagination and educate in the subject of music.
7. Sing and listen to music: *Singing is basic to mankind*
By singing to your child you not only strengthen bonding, but you create an environment where language, rhythm and rhyme, and listening skills are developed naturally. You can use songs to create routines such as a good morning or goodnight songs.
I developed the habit of singing many lullabies to my daughter to put her to bed at night, and it was wonderful when she started singing them back to me instead. You can read lullaby books with your child, sing them yourself, or play recordings. Kids love to listen to music, looks at the drawings, and sing along.
THESE HAVE BEEN SOME OF MY FAVORITES:
9. Involve the whole family: *Everyone supports the learning*
My daughter’s grandpa, my father, is far from being a musician! He’s never held a violin in his hands before, or any other instrument for that matter. But he became totally engaged in my daughter’s violin journey, and not only pretended to play the violin, but you could catch him several times playing drums and triangles, clapping rhythms, and even dancing ‘grandpa style’ while my daughter experimented with the various instruments.
9. Take her to concerts for kids: *Events especially designed for kids*
The best events to take your child to are those concerts and shows where it doesn’t matter if they wiggle, stand up, sing and dance to the music, or even want to go on stage with the performers.
Allow your child to have these types of experiences from when they are very young. Concerts in the park are especially fun to take your child to. From the time my daughter was about 2 years old, she loved to watch other kids on YouTube singing, dancing, and playing the violin. She didn’t show the same interest watching the adults singing the same songs, or dancing the same dances.
Kids love to watch other kids do things. Take advantage of the amazing platform that we now have available with YouTube! You can even join our Momisi Music House YouTube Channel and watch our Momisi Team to learn together with your child.
10. Let her teach others: *If they can teach it, they've learned it*
No matter who the candidate is, if your child is teaching others how to hold the violin or how to play a rhythm, it means that the learning process is being successful.
You can encourage your child to teach a friend’s child, a neighbor, the babysitter, and even the dog, although in my case, my daughter decided on her own that our dog Benita should learn how to play!
11. Invent music games: *Marching to the beat*
Encourage your child to play the drum while marching to the beat, or to play a simple instrument every time you repeat a word in a story. Let your imagination guide you as you invent a fun musical activity. Rhythm and copy-cat games are always successful at this stage. My daughter loved it when we played "Looking for the Buffalo" - a game we invented similar to "Going on a Bear Hunt."
12. Surround her with music symbols: *The written word is everywhere*
Remember when your child first began sounding out the letters of the alphabet and recognizing them in her/his surroundings? I'll never forget a short road trip we took with my daughter when she began sounding out and pointing at a "B" that was part of a word on a sign. She had been seeing all the letters for quite some time, and now she was able to distinguish the “B” among all the other letters.
I applied the same principle of language to music symbols by creating one card for each of the Suzuki Twinkle rhythms and placed them around the house. Soon, she not only recognized each one but was able to clap them correctly every time.
13. Encourage performances: *And take many bows!*
Encourage your child to play for everyone that comes to your house to visit. Take the violin with you to your friends’ and family’s house so that your child can share this musical journey with them.
Allowing your child to experience ‘performance’ without judgment is crucial at this stage. Celebrate every attempt to do it, and congratulate the performance no matter what! If for some reason, your child doesn’t want to do it, allow this to be ok too.
But don’t give up on your encouragement. If they start young, they have a better chance of not having the hang-ups that can come later in life about performing in front of an audience.
Until your child can really do it!
If you’d like to know how you can support your child’s violin learning journey even further, you can read about The Mistake You´re Probably Making When Your Child Asks for Violin Lessons so that you can avoid it right from the start!
There are so many opportunities to create an environment where your child can experience the wonders of music. Anything around the house can become a percussion instrument, and everybody in the family can participate by either clapping, dancing, or singing! Make a conscious choice to create a thriving environment so that your child will learn in the most natural ways.
What are you doing to motivate your child’s learning?
Write in the comments below and share your experiences with us.
We’d love to hear about your journey! And don’t forget to take many bows!