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Fitting Your Child For Their Instrument

21/08/2014

We get this a lot here at Allegro Music. We must have hundreds of children and their (sometimes begrudging) parents walk through our doors every month to see and hear our instruments. Music is a very innate thing for a child, and if they hear something they like, then more often than not they want to try it for themselves and that's absolutely wonderful; we vehemently encourage that! But it's a lot easier for a 6 year old to sit down and press the keys on a piano than it is to lift and summon enough puff to get a sound out of a saxophone, for instance, so an alternative or something more suitable is required. That's where we come in.

 

   With any instrument comes the need for independence with it - by which I mean being able to both play and maintain it without your teacher or parent being ever-present. For instruments such as the guitar or the violin, these are just part and parcel of being guitarists and violinists.

Incidentally guitars and violins are readily available in a number of sizes and we can help you determine which is the most appropriate.

   Guitars are quite easy instruments to fit, as the child will usually tell you if it's uncomfortable for them to hold. But key signs to look out for include the ease with which they can reach along the neck, how far their arm comes over the body and whether (with it placed on the knee in a sitting position) they are able to balance the guitar.

   The violin is a little trickier as the child needs to be able to reproduce the correct hold (balanced between the chin and shoulder, with the neck facing away from the body). But once that's been accomplished, the way to fit the violin is to see if the child's hand fits all the way over the scroll, i.e. the furthest point on the violin, with their arm fully extended. If they can't quite reach then it's too large; if they can comfortably reach it's just right and if their arm is bent with their hand around the scroll so then it's time look at a bigger instrument.

Sometimes however, no matter how much enthusiasm they show, an alternative instrument is the only way to go. Nobody willingly does anything uncomfortable, even less so a child, so even if you do decide to go ahead with buying them something that's an inappropriate size, chances are it'll be picked up a few times and then forgotten about. In this case, if the child is showing an interest in the guitar, try them on one of our ukuleles! They're small, sweet and easy enough for anyone to play. Plus, as a stringed and fretted instrument, it's the natural precursor to the guitar. Similarly, if the saxophone or the clarinet is proving too much puff why not try the flageolet or the recorder? (Though there is always the option of a curved head flute or an ‘Alpha Sax', both from Trevor James, which we hold in stock that you're more than welcome to try).

 

   So whether you just need the right fit, or the next best thing, we here at Allegro Music can help with whatever your needs may be, and hopefully this will help in some small part to your child gaining that little bit more independence with their instrument.

    (Less work for you that way, eh?). 

 

Written By Alex Condliffe, Allegro Music Chelmsford


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