The violin is known as being one of the more difficult and expensive instruments to learn. Unfortunately, not everyone can afford lessons or has access to a teacher, so we thought why not look and see what resources parents can use at home to try and teach their own kids. There is actually a decent amount of learning resources available to teach beginning violin, mainly in the form of online video lessons. There are also some really good books, an app, and a few free online games that can help kids get started.
Best Websites and Free Online Videos
A number of music teachers have set up websites where they have uploaded video lessons that are a fantastic resource for parents. You have to pay for some of the content but compared to music lessons the cost is minimal.
- Violin Lab is an interactive video-based website that has a HUGE number of video lessons ranging from beginner to advanced. You can watch some of the videos for free and if you want to watch more, you can become a member of the site for $19.99 for a month or $71.88 for a year to have access to all the videos.
- Violin Stars is another site that has very helpful online video lessons for beginners. It is similar to Violin Lab in that it lets you watch the first ten videos for free and you can purchase a DVD if you would like to continue.
- String Lessons has an amazing collection of free violin (and cello) video lessons by Todd Ehle that kids can watch to learn at home.
- String Savvy is another good collection of violin lessons and good tips and advice for beginners starting out who are learning on their own.
There are lots of violin books that are designed for beginners, but not many books that are specifically written for the very young learner or for parents who are trying to teach their own kids. When trying to figure out the best book for teaching violin to kids, we narrowed it down to these books/series:
- The Violin Book by Eden Vaning-Rosen gets mentioned quite a bit by homeschoolers and parents who are teaching young kids at home. This book is set up in a way that parents do not need to have any musical background to be able to teach their kids. The website even says “The pictures and explanations are so simple, a child could actually teach a parent from this book! “If you look through the website you will be able to find a few examples of the writing style and illustrations from the book.
- Early Start on the Violin Book published by Baerenreiter Verlag is a series of books that are helpful for beginner players to learn note reading. There are four books in the series and they are filled with colorful pictures and well-known songs for children. This book would be good for a parent who has some musical background.
- String Explorer: Violin Book by is a two-book series where students are guided through the structured lessons by the characters Arco Dakota and Rosalyn Le Bow. The book is laid out in a step by step manner with challenges and trivia included helping keep students interested. The introduction has clear pictures on how to hold the violin and properly care for it. It teaches the use of the fourth finger as well as pizzicato. You can find more info on the book and the method here.
I couldn’t really find many violin apps for kids with good reviews that seemed worth mentioning. Let me know in the comments below if you have any app recommendations.
Learn Violin is one app that is well-reviewed and is appropriate for kids to use. It shows how you can tune your first notes, helps you learn simple techniques to remember violin fingering, shows you how to string your instrument, etc.
Free Online Games
Kid love online games, so here are a few that are somewhat violin related:
Instruments for Beginners
If you are buying a violin for a child, you need to make sure that you get the sizing right. With violins, you do get what you pay for, but obviously not everyone can afford $400+ for an instrument that their kids may or may not stick with. Luckily there are a few options under $100 that are decent enough for a kid who is interested in learning to play to get started with. Mendini has a number of sizing options and student starter packages that are an option for a beginner. Another slightly more expensive choice is Cremona, that also has student and beginner instruments between $100 and $200.
Hopefully, you found something you were looking for if you have any tips or great resources to help kids learn this great instrument, please let us know in the comments below.
photo credit: Niels Linneberg via photopin cc
The drums are an excellent instrument for kids to learn. Not only does drumming help with brain development and coordination, but it can also help with stress relief, improve kids’ ability to concentrate, help increase physical stamina and even lead to an increase in IQ scores. If you are a parent who would like to get your kids into drumming, we have found lots of super cool resources that you can use at home to teach your kids.
Becoming a great drummer takes lots of practice so having different resources available will help your child to become less bored with practicing. So, with that in mind, here is our roundup of the best books, DVDs, online videos, apps, and some recommendations for the best drum sets for kids that will help parents help their kids to become amazing drummers!
- Drumset For Preschoolers is a book that was written for parents and teachers of 2-6 year-olds who want their preschoolers to learn to play. It uses a color-coding music notation system and is organized into three skill levels so the parent can choose which level fits the child’s abilities. Parents who don’t play themselves will find this book easy to use as it covers everything you need to know to get your child drumming.
- Alfred’s Kid’s Drum Course Complete (for ages 5+) is a fun method that teaches kids to play rhythms and songs on a variety of instruments and sound sources. The CDs let you hear how the music should sound, and each lesson is explained in plain language that makes it easy for kids to understand.
- Mel bay presents Kid’s Rock Drum Method Book/CD Set has exercises and beats for kids to practice. The book is geared towards younger drummers but is appropriate for older kids who are beginning too. The book is moderately paced, introducing concepts one at a time for an easy learning process. A CD is also included.
- Mel Bay Drum Lessons for Kids of All Ages book/CD set is another book for the beginning drum student. It’s a fun book for kids learning to play that teaches the fundamentals that kids need to learn. The CD that is included has eight play-along tunes.
- If you are a parent with some musical background, the two books that are recommended the most for beginners are Progressive Steps to Syncopation for the Modern Drummer and Stick Control: For the Snare Drummer. These aren’t for very small children but would be suitable for ages 11 or 12 + with the help of someone with drumming experience who can read musical notation.
There are a few DVDs that are specifically made to help teach children how to play the drums, although unfortunately, the reviews for the DVDs that are available are pretty mixed. If you are thinking of buying a DVD, make sure you check out the previews. Here are some of the DVDs that are available:
- Drumming For Kids I first watched this DVD maybe five years ago and wasn’t a huge fan. It’s pretty dated and very corny. However, my husband loved it and still (inexplicably) quotes the star of this DVD, Sam Zucchini. Younger kids might like this DVD, but kids over age 8 or so would probably not get much out of it.
- Realistic Rock for Kids has a book as well as 2 CDs and the DVD. There aren’t many reviews for this DVD around, so have a look at the preview if you are thinking of buying it. Although this is Carmine Appice’s DVD, 12-year-old contest winner Pete Biggiani does all of the lessons. This DVD teaches the basics of Drumming, such as how to read notes, how to hold the sticks, simple hand/foot coordination exercises, etc.
- Alfred’s Kid’s Drumset Course (Kid’s Courses!) is another DVD that you might come across, but beware because the reviews for this DVD aren’t great. It kind of looks like an adult course where they just added some graphics with a cartoon crocodile. You can view the preview for it here.
- A DVD that gets recommended a lot and is okay for kids (ages 10+) even though it is made for an adult audience is Getting Started on Drums Featuring Tommy Igoe DVD – Setting Up / Start Playing. This DVD takes you through setting up the drum set and then goes through all the necessary stuff that you need to know to begin playing—highly recommended for beginners.
Online Drumming Lessons
There are lots of great drumming lessons online; most are geared for adults but would be sufficient for kids as well. Here are a few that are for kids that we like:
- Beginner Drum Lessons for Kids is an online series that is geared toward kids. The videos are well done and easy to follow.
- Little Kids Rock has an intro lesson on how to hold the drum sticks and then several super short lessons on different beats.
Fun Drumming Apps
There isn’t much in the way of drumming lesson apps that are designed specifically for kids, but if your kids are into drumming and are looking for some fun or useful apps here are a few to have a look at:
- Drum Kids is a simple drumming app for toddlers and preschoolers. The app allows children to hear the rhythms of drummers and music from around the world, including the American Trap Set, Caribbean Steel Pan, Chinese Drum, Cuban Conga, and the West African Djembe. The app also helps kids learn fun facts about each of the types of drums.
- Drum Kidz Free helps kids learn rhythm on the drum kit (as well as Congas, Bongos, Doumbek, and Djembe). This app has a feature that when a loop is played, the drum will light up when hit at the right time, so this helps kids learn basic rhythm. Some other features include the ability to record your drumming, change the pitch, touch sensitivity, reverb, delay, and more. You can also play to your own music on your iPod from within the app.
- Ratatap Drums Free is designed for adults but would be fun for kids who already have a bit of drumming experience. This app is considered one of the best drum apps in the app store. It has 15 kits to choose from with a fast response time that makes it fun to play.
- Drums Master is another great drum app. It lets you play with a 6-piece drum kit. You can use it to play along with songs, record your songs, vocals, and drums altogether, learn info about each part of the instrument, and a tonne of other things.
If you haven’t got a drum kit for your kids yet and they are under the age of 10, you might want to consider getting a good quality junior drum set. Junior drum kits are just mini versions of real drum sets and are a much better option for kids who love to drum than getting a toy set at Toys R Us or Walmart. Here are a few drum kits that have excellent reviews and are highly recommended.
- De Rosa DRM312-BU Children’s 3 Piece 12 Inch Drum Set (for ages 3-5) is a great priced set that is available in eight different colors. Reviewers love the quality of this set and find it an especially good choice for toddlers. This set is made of metal and chrome and includes a 12 inch Bass Drum, 8 inch Tom Tom with holder, 8 inch Snare with holder, and Cymbal holder with 8-inch Cymbal. You also get sticks, Bass Drum Pedal, and a junior drum throne.
- Mendini MJDS-3-BL 16-inch 3-Piece Blue Junior Drum Set is another great choice for a junior drum set. It is slightly bigger than the DeRosa and is suitable for kids ages 5-10. It comes in 6 different colors, and reviewers also love the quality of this kit. This set includes a 16 inch Bass Drum, 10-inch Hanging Tom, 10-inch snare drum with stand, and a 9.5-inch cymbal with bass mounted holder. You also get a bass drum chain driven pedal, a pair of wooden drum sticks, and an adjustable round padded drum throne.
If you have an older kid who wants to learn the drums, but you aren’t quite into buying a full drum set, you could get a Practice Pad. Practice pads are MUCH cheaper than buying a full set, and it will buy you some time to see if your kids will stick with learning.
Let us know if you have any other recommendations for great resources to help kids learn drums.
photo credit: Garrette via photopin cc