We’re excited to spotlight one of our website sponsors – Ginger Howard and her Violin / Viola Studio and lessons. Be sure to touch base with Ginger about how she can help you or someone in your family with their lessons this year!
Sponsor Spotlight: Ginger Howard Violin / Viola Studio
Ginger Howard offers private violin & viola lessons to the Cumming & Forsyth County area – and to several of our Cumming Local families! She recently shared some fun question & answers with us and we’re excited to share them with you today. As a private strings teacher, she is asked a lot about what to look for in a stringed instrument. Here are some of the questions she answers most …
Question 1: How much should we spend on an instrument?
Answer: I ALWAYS recommend renting if your student is a beginner. Many strings only stores have wonderful rental agreements. You can build credit the first year of renting towards buying your first instrument. Below I will answer why renting is usually your best option at the beginning.
Question 2: Where should we go rent or buy an instrument?
Answer: If you are looking for a stringed instrument, go to a strings only store. Here you will be working with people who are very knowledgeable in stringed instruments because that is only what they deal with. (It’s sort of like seeing your health specialist.) Yes, it can sometimes be a bit pricier, but you will more than likely get a better quality instrument, which can make a world of difference even for a beginner. If the instrument is of good quality it will have better tone and the student will not have to fight it to learn how to create different sounds and learn different techniques. The student will be less likely to become discouraged, which in turn can lessen the likelihood of the student wanting to quit. Also, you will be more likely to be offered a better credit after one year of renting and now have the option to purchase a good quality instrument with more options to choose from. Since the student has rented for a year, he/she will now know what they like and do not like in their particular stringed instrument and can sit and play through several different options to find the one that best fits their needs.
Question 3: How do I know what size of instrument to buy or rent?
Answer: This is CRUCIAL!!! Let me emphasize this dramatically!!! The size of stringed instrument is important for one big reason, too big or too small can cause pain and injuries in the student. If the student is not properly fit to an instrument they will be physically required to force their body to do what is necessary to make the instrument sound and play as needed. Playing a stringed instrument is very physical, so if the student is having to force their body to make things happen, ultimately they will feel pain and if this continues they can injure their neck, shoulders, arms, back, and hands/wrist. It is imperative that the student go to the store and be fitted for the correct sized instrument. No two full sized instruments (or any size for that matter) are the same because each is always a little different. Differences can happen in length, body width and head size of the instrument. Going to a strings only store will alleviate any stress about incorrect sizing. They do this on a daily bases and can help fit the student to an instrument that will work best for them. Also, if a student rents, they can trade in their instrument for the next size up as they grow. I usually only recommend to buy when the child is ready for a full size and then I recommend putting most of what you can spend into the instrument and then later upgrading the bow. Many string stores have a fair trade policy. If you keep the instrument you buy in good condition, you may have the option to trade it at what you paid and be able to upgrade in quality by paying the difference; another reason to rent/buy at a strings only store (this is contingent with each stores own policy and rules).
Question 4: I am worried my student will not stick with playing and what happens if they decide to quit?
Answer: This is why a beginner should always rent. Stringed instruments are pricey. Some student instruments can go as high as $900 and that is for a full size. My daughter’s 1/16th is a $580 set up. I rent her instrument. Why? Because she is very young and I don’t know if she will stick with it. Mind you, this is coming from the mouth of not only a parent, but also a private lesson strings teacher. Kids change their minds all the time. I have students that leave my studio and then come back three years later. Sometimes it’s just timing, whether that is the parents schedule or the child’s interest. Renting will allow you that freedom of seeing if the child is interested. It also, again, allows the student to learn what they like and dislike about their rental, which in turn prepares them to be able to make a conscious decision when purchasing their first instrument.
I hope these FAQ’s have helped you in your decision on whether or not to allow your child to learn a stringed instrument. If you ever have any questions about stringed instruments please use the contact information below and reach out to Ginger – phone or email anytime.
Whether it’s a new hobby or time to brush up on an old one, consider Ginger Howard for your child’s next Violin / Viola Lessons!
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