Being music majors, my husband and I couldn’t wait for the day when our kids were old enough to start music lessons. Our oldest began guitar lessons this year and is doing really well. After a couple of months of his lessons, my 5-year old began asking if she could learn how to play the violin. Of course, I was elated, since I play the cello, and I immediately had visions of her and I playing together in the future.
Then, panic set in. We live in a very small town, as in less than 600 people. Where would I find a qualified teacher? Where would I find a teacher who took young students? And at a reasonable price? I did some searching and came up seriously short. There was no one to be found within an hour of our home, and that would never work for a weekly lesson.
Enter the Violin Starter Set. I was so excited when I found this program on Educents.
About the Violin Starter Set
Now it’s easy for anyone ages 5 and up to learn how to play the violin!
An animated character named Val the Violin guides students through lessons by New York City Ballet violinist Sabina Skalar. eMedia My Violin guides you through the core elements of violin playing in over 160 lessons. It covers such basics as proper violin, hand and finger position, the elements of correct bowing technique, how to tune the instrument, and play rhythmic tunes. Games make learning fun, and students will learn songs that they can share with friends!
- Animated keyboard, full-motion videos, and interactive games
- Metronome helps musician learn timing time
- Digital recorder lets kids listen to what they played and share with family & friends!
Here’s what I like about the Violin Starter Set:
1. Good for multiple children
I love that this program can be used with multiple children. Right now, since we are just starting out, it works to rotate the violin between my two middle children. However, it is possible that you may have children around the same age, but they are different sizes. It is important to know that each child needs a violin that fits them best. (See: How to size your child for a violin)
2. The program is simple
I like that this program is simple to use. It is as simple as downloading the program onto your computer or using the CD that comes in the package. If you have ever installed or downloaded a program to your computer, this should be a breeze. It takes just minutes to install, and you can start immediately. The instruction is very easy to follow for kids. The instructor has an accent, but it didn’t seem to affect my kids understanding of her words or instruction.
3. Step-by-step instruction
The lessons walk the student through each step of learning to play the violin. The instructor teaches them how to hold the bow and violin itself through a series of fun examples before they ever hold the actual instrument. It wasn’t easy for my children to wait, but it was so fun to watch them learn and then see how much simpler it was when they were finally able to hold the instrument in their hands.
4. Computer-based program
I will be honest, at first, I was reluctant about this program. I learned to play the cello… ahem, a few years ago… and in person. It was vital to my learning that I had a teacher who was in the room to personally correct me and help me improve. I wasn’t sure just how well this CD, video-led teaching would work.
After we starting using the video lessons, the access to a computer-based program became a blessing. We live at least 30 minutes from a large enough city where we could even possibly find a teacher, and an hour from one that I felt was qualified enough (yes, I’m a little picky). Being able to give my children quality music instruction in our own home is simply priceless.
5. Short lessons.
While I know that truly becoming a master of music takes years and hours of practice, we can’t start out that way. In fact, my two middles (ages 5 and 7) have seriously short attention spans.
Each lesson is just a few minutes long, which is perfect for those days we are in a time crunch or they just can’t sit still.
6. Flexibility of schedule.
Since the lessons are so short, it is also possible to complete several lessons in one sitting. I love that we can do lessons on our own time, not a set time with a teacher every week. We are a ministry family with one vehicle, so there are times that church things come up and plans change on a whim. It is nice to know that we are not tied to a set lesson time that requires traveling to and from but just requires we turn on the computer and get to work.
A Note about Tuning
Although I don’t necessarily have a negative for this program, there is a small draw-back with this program. Tuning. If you’re not a musician or familiar with stringed instruments and the way they tune, this could potentially be very frustrating for you. The tuning of any stringed instrument is something that takes a little bit of time to master. And the smaller the instrument, the more delicate the process. I have also found it difficult to keep the instrument in tune for a long period of time, especially with multiple children rotating through the lesson.
However, don’t let that deter you from purchasing and using this product. Over time those tuning pegs will swell and get stickier, so tuning will become easier.
This violin is mom-approved!
This is a wonderful product that I would recommend to any family, with or without musical experience. It is a fun and simple way not only for children to learn the violin, but their parents can learn right along with them.
Even though my 5-year-old was the one who originally begged to get a violin and learn to play, it is my 7-year-old who absolutely enjoys these lessons and even wants to do lessons multiple times a day. In fact, he’s doing his lessons right now as I am typing up this review for you. So far he has completed eight lessons… it’s about time to call it a night!
Overall, this product is a win in my book and would be perfect for any family wanting to add music to their homeschool or home.
About the All-Star Blogger
Annette has been married to her husband and best friend for 12+ years. Together they are raising their four children to follow the Lord’s will, no matter what. Annette longs for the day when she will meet her eight angel babies who have entered heaven before her. She enjoys creating FREE PRINTABLES for homeschool families, and she gets her scrapbooking fix in by making Subway Art for herself and her readers. You can follow her crazy life at In All You Do where she blogs about homeschooling, gluten- and grain-free recipes (when she cooks), homemaking, Christian marriage and parenting all while trying to maintain her sanity. You can also keep up with her via Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest.