Hi! Thanks for a very interesting question.
I am very happy to get an opportunity to answer this question of
yours. About a year ago I was also faced with such a choice when I
decided that my daughter (5 yrs.old) should learn an instrument. We
thought that a violin would be better since the instrument is
relatively cheaper and most kids play piano anyway. But when we talked
with the piano teacher she said that the piano would be a better first
instrument since a child might have some physical difficulty managing
a violin. I went with the advice without much thought until now.
I found this article which shows the wisdom of that advice.
"The traditional first instrument for children has been the piano.
Pianos are very good for teaching the layout of the notes used in
music. They are also very rewarding to play because each note requires
a fairly simple movement of only one finger... On the piano, it is
much simpler - youngsters can get one or even two melodies going at
the same time, and this is quite a payoff for their beginning
"On the other hand, a dependable, working piano represents a sizable
investment of money and floor space in the home. To sound good, it
also requires tuning once or twice a year, something which needs to be
done by a professional piano technician. It is possible to save some
money by renting, but after delivery charges and rental fees for a few
months, that amount of money could largely pay for another kind of
The article however mentions that violins, guitars, and cellos have
also been used successfully as a first instrument. In the end it will
depend on the child who will be the one playing the instrument. Every
child is unique as the saying goes.
One year of piano lessons and 2 recitals have gone by and me and my
child couldn't be any happier with the results after following her
Search terms used:
child first piano violin choosing
I hope this link would help you in your research. Before rating this
answer, please ask for a clarification if you have a question or if
you would need further information.
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Google Answers Researcher
Clarification of Answer by
20 Jun 2003 16:02 PDT
Hi again bay-ga and thanks for asking a clarification before making a
Here are some more articles I found about the topic but basically they
say the same thing as the first article I mentioned.
"Students may begin studying piano or violin as early as age four.
Each of these instruments offers particular strengths as a students
first instrument. The piano offers an excellent introduction to many
musical concepts that could later be applied to other instruments. The
piano may also offer a young student a somewhat easier experience than
other instruments in that the tone can be produced more readily than
is the case with woodwinds, brass or strings."
"Violin study offers some of the challenges in producing a tone
properly through fingering position and bowing techniques, but is
generally regarded as an instrument that can more readily develop the
students ear, precisely because of those challenges. Between the two
I would allow a younger student to choose with his or her parent,
basing the decision on which instrument appeals to the student more."
"Time for Music lessons"
"The Japanese-developed Suzuki method of teaching music calls for
group classes for the very young. Parents attend the lessons, too,
taking notes. Initially, the children rely on their ear and memory to
learn music, using either simplified notation on paper, or no sheet
music at all."
"The smaller proportions allow tiny fingers to reach adequately on the
violin neck, and the chin to grip the body of the instrument.
Downsized, the instrument weighs less, and the shorter strings don't
require as much finger strength, either. The viola is slightly larger
than a violin, with a resulting lower note range."
"Piano is a great first instrument for children 5 and up, Kramer says.
On a music-theory level, the piano allows a child to follow melody and
"An early start Young children can succeed in music classes"
"Piano can be played as soon as your child can reach the keys and has
enough strength to press them down."
"Stringed instruments often come in smaller sizes for example
one-eighth of full size for younger children and can be started at a
very early age. Some children can handle a violin from the age of four
but a more realistic age to start is probably six."
"Is My Child Ready?"
I hope these additional articles enhances my original answer.