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How to Prepare Your Child for School Orchestra

Navigating the first journey into musicianship.

For many children, the music classroom serves as their first introduction to playing an instrument. It is an exciting, challenging and beneficial endeavor, and being part of a school orchestra has been shown to increase confidence, decrease stress and improve cognitive function.

But for many parents who are new to the world of music, when your child says, “I want to play violin,” the next steps may not be clear. Let’s take a look at how you can best prepare your child for their first orchestral experience.

Adopt the Right Mindset

Blonde boy playing the violin.

The first thing is to make sure you (and your child) know that joining an orchestra is not an easy endeavor — it takes time, patience and dedication to get to a place where you hear improvements in your child’s sound. Frustration is guaranteed, but that’s okay. Everyone goes through the same process when trying to master something new, and learning how to play a violin or a cello is much more than the actual notes. Endless encouragement is needed from you. Walk with your child through this journey by celebrating every step of their success. Did they just learn how to hold their bow correctly? Great! Did they just learn how to play on an open string? Celebrate that. Applaud your child for every little bit of learning.

The important thing to keep in mind is that your child’s first days on an instrument are priming them for a lifetime of music-making. Whether those days are filled with hope and excitement is largely determined by the support they receive. So bolster their inherent musicality by making sure they have fun. Encourage them to play the music they like — even if it doesn’t sound all that great at first — because it will improve the odds that they are enjoying themselves.

Arrange for Private Lessons If Possible

Young boy studying violin with virtual lesson.

One of the big questions that will likely emerge at some point in the course of starting any new instrument is whether or not to take private lessons. In just about every case, it’s a good idea, since these kinds of lessons are designed to promote musical learning in a one-on-one environment.

Beginning books have their place, but they are not able to teach correct technique. Only a teacher can reinforce safe hand and posture positioning, so if at all possible, make arrangements for private lessons to help your child develop healthy habits sooner rather than later.

Choose the Right Instrument

Display of many violins against the wall.

The last piece of the puzzle is choosing the right instrument for your child. There are many different types of beginner instruments, and they often come in several sizes to suit the growing student.

If you are looking for a violin, Yamaha has created a Student Violin Finder that can help you make the best selection. Yamaha also offers student-level violas and cellos. For the young student interested in viola, the AVA5S is the most economical and sturdy option. If your child is looking to learn cello, the AVC5 is a great place to start because of its warm sound and availability in different sizes.

Yamaha AVA5S.

Yamaha AVC5.

Your local music dealer will be able to assist in choosing the right instrument and can also help you explore affordable rental options. Renting is a great way to start since it allows your child to easily move on to larger instruments as they grow, and also enables them to switch to a different instrument altogether if they want to make a change at some point down the road.

Yamaha has created useful resources that explain what parents need to know when their child joins orchestra or band. Click here for more information.


Click here for the Yamaha Student Violin Finder.

Click here to find an authorized Yamaha music retailer near you.

Click here for more information about Yamaha string instruments.

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