When parents ask me what materials will be needed for beginner lessons, I recommend the following items:
- Notebook and pencil for Mom or Dad, whomever is the practice companion at home;
- Foot position mat for the child (I show you how to make one);
- CD of all of the Book 1 pieces, which can be purchased along with the book: Suzuki Violin School Revised Edition Violin Part Book & CD Volume 1
- For quite a young child (under 5 years old), a home-made cardboard or a purchased foam “violin” may be used for a short time. This allows the youngster to:
- Become accustomed to placing and holding the instrument correctly on the shoulder;
- Learn how to carry and balance the instrument correctly;
- Learn how to tap fingers in good form; and,
- Learn how and where to place the “bow.”
- When the child is ready to use a “real” violin, the teacher can measure the child’s arm to determine the size required. The parent has the choice of buying onto a trade-up-in-size plan, or renting from a local dealership or from one of the online companies (I like Shar Music and Southwest Strings. The violin outfit includes:
- Violin case and rosin.
- Students will also need a shoulder rest. In my studio, I carry shoulder rests of differing sizes, so as to be able to fit each child. A good shoulder rest brand that I use is the poly-pad shoulder rest by Michael Kimber.
- When the child is ready to start to read notes, I use: I Can Read Music: A Note Reading Book for Violin Students (Volume 1)
by Joanne Martin, published by Summy-Birchard Inc. (There is also a viola version available: I Can Read Music: For Viola Volume 1 as well as I Can Read Music: For Cello Volume 1)
This list shows you what materials you’ll need when getting started with violin lessons. As you can see, some items are age-specific and therefore not appropriate for all beginners.