Obtaining A Violin
For beginning students of all ages I strongly recommend renting a violin (as opposed to buying one) and that the rental be from an accredited violin shop, not a general music store (violin shops generally have the name "violin" in their title, as opposed to music stores which are often have "music" in the title). There are many reasons for this.
In the recent years, there has been an increase in scam/fake violins sold over the internet, as well as rented and sold in general music stores. These instruments are called "violin shaped objects”, or VSOs, and make learning violin virtually impossible due to their limitations and poor construction. All too often, students arrive to their first lesson having already purchased one of these instruments only to discover that it is not functional, and will need to be replaced with a real instrument in order to study violin.
The initial price tag of an instrument like this may seem alluring, but VSOs are a cost liability to their owner. Because of their cheap construction, they are prone to damage. Most violin repair shops will refuse to repair this type of instrument, so the owner is left to buy a new one each time something goes wrong. Another red flag for these purchases is that they are often not returnable, because the retailer is not willing to guarantee the quality of the product.
If you are unsure, please contact me prior to purchasing a violin for yourself, your child or your loved one. In lieu of gifting a violin as a Christmas present, please consider a gift certificate to your local violin shop for rental or purchase. If you already have a violin, please take it to an accredited violin shop prior to scheduling your first lesson. If the shop deems that it is not in playing condition, or it is not possible to make the repairs, a rental instrument will be necessary in order to begin lessons.
For more about how to identify a VSO, please read this article: Cheap Violins For Sale Are Not A Good Deal
For Children: Your child must be present at the time of rental so they can be fitted for the appropriate sized instrument. Please also have them fitted for a shoulder rest at this time, and have the shop put finger board tape the instrument. You'll also need rosin.
Violins are sized specifically for the age of the student, and a child who starts playing at 6 years old will generally go through five different sized violins before reaching the full size instrument. Children generally change violin sizes about once a year, sometimes faster. Renting is the most economical option in this regard, as it is on average $25 a month and you are renting to own the instrument. You can switch out the instrument anytime as the student grows.
For Adults: Most adults use a “full” sized violin. The violin shop can help select an instrument and shoulder rest to fit your body. Please ask them to put fingerboard tape on your instrument, and purchase rosin at this time as well.