Before Buying a Child's Violin, Here's What You Need to Know

A few months ago, my kids told me they wanted to learn how to play the violin. My eldest is learning to play the piano and guitar. My youngest will soon be starting piano. I had played both instruments as a child, so starting my kids on these instruments was no problem. Violins are a different story. I knew nothing about them. So, I started researching violins and was completely bewildered by how much there is to know. I finally came to a decision about what I will buy for my kids.

Violin Sizes

It didn't surprise me that different sizes would be required for kids of different ages. What did surprise me is how quickly children outgrow violins. You can expect to replace the violin every 18 months to 2 years.

Don't guess the size. You will find some guidance online about measuring the length of your child's arm. But I recommend actually going to a music store to find the correct size. If this isn't possible, you can try using measurements to determine the correct size.

The Problem with Buying Cheap Violins

If your child shows an interest in learning a new instrument, it's a good idea to buy a cheap instrument to begin with. That way, if they lose interest in learning, you haven't wasted too much money. However, violins are expensive instruments. A good violin costs at least $400. Few parents will want to spend this on a beginning student.

You can buy cheap violins that cost $50 or so. However, they tend to be poor quality. They often don't work well and they don't sound good. It can be hard for a student to learn to play properly or to enjoy learning on a bad sounding instrument.

At this point, I've settled on buying two Cremona SV-130 violins for my kids. They start at about $130 and include a case. Reviews online are largely positive and some reviewers have said that their children's violin teachers were happy with the instruments. But some reviewers do recommend replacing the strings to get a better sound.

Even this price is more than I had expected to spend, especially considering that I'll have to buy a new violin every couple of years. But this is probably the least I need to pay to get a decent sounding instrument. sells these violins directly, so they will be easy to return if I'm not happy with them.

Violin Rentals

If you don't want to buy a violin, you can rent one. However, this can also be very expensive. Rentals usually start at $25 a month. There are online companies that do rentals for as low as $10 a month. These companies usually rent $300 to $400 instruments. You may have additional costs as well, such as shipping costs to consider. You may also have charges if an instrument is damaged. Look for reviews of these online violin rental companies before choosing one.

What you need to know about buying a violin for a child
What you need to know about buying a violin for a child

Teach Yourself the Violin

Violin lessons can be expensive as well. Music schools like Yamaha Music School often have group lessons that are affordable. I'm thinking about signing my kids up for private lessons with our local Yamaha Music School for approximately $90 a month each because they use the popular Suzuki method of teaching. Private lessons everywhere else I looked were $30 per half hour. If you can't afford lessons, you can try self-teaching.

Some people say that it's impossible to self-teach the violin. But a company called eMedia has made a very highly rated violin teaching software called My Violin for ages 5 and up. I currently have the guitar version of this software and I love it, so I'm considering the possibility of starting with the software before trying lessons.

Buying Violins Online

If you buy a violin online from a company like, it will come with an unattached bridge. This is to prevent damage to the instrument during shipping. You will have to put the bridge on the violin. Your child's teacher may do this for you or you can pay a music store to do it. You will also find online tutorials and YouTube videos that show on to do this.

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