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Cello lessons for my 5 year old? #950468
10/23/08 02:06 PM
10/23/08 02:06 PM
Joined: Mar 2007
Posts: 3,042
Bethesda, MD (Washington D.C)
knotty Offline OP
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knotty  Offline OP
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What do you all think?

My older son turned 5. He is your average 5 year old, likes to play, and is fairly well behaved. He has the attention span of a 5 year old.

He's obviously exposed to music. At least an hour of Jazz in the car every day, and the countless hours of piano practice (that's me).

A few days ago, he hinted that he'd like to play the bass. Now, to me, this would be a dream come true. If the youngest can pick up the drums, we're all set. But that's a different story.

I'm thinking Cello lessons. For several reasons (feel free to criticize):
- Music is music, if he wants to pick up the piano, he has one at home. Learning the cello will be a clear distinction from what I'm doing.
- Cello is a good path to the double bass.
- Cello (like the violin) helps develop good ear.

Do you all think 5 is too young? Based on your experience, can the Cello be fun for a 5 year old ?

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Re: Cello lessons for my 5 year old? #950469
10/23/08 02:16 PM
10/23/08 02:16 PM
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 16,652
Boynton Beach, FL
Morodiene Offline
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You might be better off asking these questions to a cello teacher. I'm sure there may be an issue with his size compared to a cello. I believe he would then have to learn on a 3/4 size instrument or something. Again, these questions are better suited for a cello instructor.

Personally, I would get your child into an early childhood music program like Kindermusik, in which he would learn in the Young Child curriculum how to play a glockenspiel (pre-keyboard), a dulcimer (pre-string) and a recorder (pre-wind). That way, he gets a taste for each plus learning a lot of basics in music while being in a class of other children, thus keeping it fun. Then then he finishes these classes (about the age of 7) he will be better suited for one-on-one lessons. I know that Suzuki students start at the age of 5, but I don't know if they do Suzuki cello or if they all start on violin then move to cello later on.


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Re: Cello lessons for my 5 year old? #950470
10/23/08 02:18 PM
10/23/08 02:18 PM
Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 386
Michigan
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Why not have him try out a couple of instruments? While he's starting out he can probably take on two or more and see what he likes.


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Re: Cello lessons for my 5 year old? #950471
10/23/08 02:23 PM
10/23/08 02:23 PM
Joined: Mar 2007
Posts: 1,789
Central TX
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bitWrangler Offline
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Both my kids started with cello at 5. For a time they did both cello and piano, and after a year (and we realized that we didn't have the bandwidth to do justice to both) we had them choose. They both chose the piano but would still like to pick cello back up again.

So no, I don't think 5 is too young at all. And you are correct in that it helps develop a good ear, more so than piano (at least with my kids, esp my son). Check with some local colleges/universities. UT (Texas) offers the "String Project" which allows music majors the opportunity to train kids in various string instruments (violin, viola, cello). Kids can start as early as 4 IIRC and it is generally far cheaper than individual lessons (plus they provide cheap instrument rental) and it puts them in a more social environment that many kids that young might enjoy more than pure 1:1. Be warned though, if you do find such a program locally, the one here has like a 2 year waiting list so it may not be an option for you just due to the wait. They follow the usual school year so it may be too late for this year.

Re: Cello lessons for my 5 year old? #950472
10/23/08 02:25 PM
10/23/08 02:25 PM
Joined: Mar 2007
Posts: 1,789
Central TX
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bitWrangler Offline
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Quote
Originally posted by Morodiene:
You might be better off asking these questions to a cello teacher. I'm sure there may be an issue with his size compared to a cello. I believe he would then have to learn on a 3/4 size instrument or something. Again, these questions are better suited for a cello instructor.
They actually go to 1/8 for cellos (and I think 16ths for violins/viola). Cute little buggers.

Re: Cello lessons for my 5 year old? #950473
10/23/08 02:28 PM
10/23/08 02:28 PM
Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 1,173
Washington metro
Piano Again Offline
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I'm a cellist and used to teach. A 5-year-old can definitely take cello lessons; there are fractional-sized cellos down to 1/8, and Suzuki cello instruction is widely available. I became a certified Suzuki instructor when I was teaching, and though I never taught full-blown classes, I used a lot of the techniques in my studio teaching. I think the youngest student I had was 4.

The cello is not exactly the same as the bass, so you might want to explore exactly what it is about the bass that appeals to him. (Yo-Yo Ma tells the story that he wanted to play the bass because it was so big; he started on cello instead and the rest is history.)

You could try signing him up for a class/lessons for a limited time and rent a cello that is correctly sized. He may love it, he may hate it, but you'd know after a few months.

So based on my experience, to answer your questions: no, 5 is not too young; yes, the cello can be fun for a 5-year-old.

Good luck!


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Re: Cello lessons for my 5 year old? #950474
10/23/08 02:30 PM
10/23/08 02:30 PM
Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 1,173
Washington metro
Piano Again Offline
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bitWrangler, you and I cross-posted, I see. smile


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Re: Cello lessons for my 5 year old? #950475
10/23/08 02:41 PM
10/23/08 02:41 PM
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 16,652
Boynton Beach, FL
Morodiene Offline
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Quote
Originally posted by bitWrangler:
Quote
Originally posted by Morodiene:
[b] You might be better off asking these questions to a cello teacher. I'm sure there may be an issue with his size compared to a cello. I believe he would then have to learn on a 3/4 size instrument or something. Again, these questions are better suited for a cello instructor.
They actually go to 1/8 for cellos (and I think 16ths for violins/viola). Cute little buggers. [/b]
I bet that is adorable! heart

I always said that if I played a string instrument, it would be cello.


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Re: Cello lessons for my 5 year old? #950476
10/23/08 02:48 PM
10/23/08 02:48 PM
Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 1,173
Washington metro
Piano Again Offline
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If the kid is really small, I've seen them put sticks on the ends of violas. So it's an octave higher -- who's counting.


Recovering cellist, amateur pianist.
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Re: Cello lessons for my 5 year old? #950477
10/23/08 04:06 PM
10/23/08 04:06 PM
Joined: Mar 2007
Posts: 3,042
Bethesda, MD (Washington D.C)
knotty Offline OP
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I can't believe how many replies I got!!

To answer:
- What appealed to him? We were listening to a CD of Monty Alexander @ Montreux in the car. They played the Work Song (high in energy). He said "hey., that's my favorite song!", "I love the guitar". Since there was no guitar, I concluded he was talking about the bass. I don't think he's seen one, but yes, the size should be appealing to a 5 year old smile
I also know he likes the guitar because his friend plays guitar hero. I'd rather do the real thing, I'm quite convinced Guitar Hero has nothing to do with learning music.

- His size is average. A few kids in his class are tall, some shorter, he's average. Good to hear they have 1/8 or 1/16. I suppose it makes sense to rent.

Here are a few more questions then.
- "Piano Again", do you recommend any place in the NW dc area / bethesda / Chevy Chase?

I want to emphasize fun because my parents put me into clarinet lessons in a local conservatory in Paris (where I grew up), and I absolutely hated it. I liked the clarinet, but they would not let me play it until I had earned some theory stars or whatever. 30 years later I still remember how much I hated these "games" about recognizing notes... Those were group lessons.

I am sure things changed, and that people are less stuck up here about music than they are in Paris. So I agree group should be more fun ...


Thanks for all the replies so far. Any more comments are welcome.

Re: Cello lessons for my 5 year old? #950478
10/23/08 05:59 PM
10/23/08 05:59 PM
Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 1,173
Washington metro
Piano Again Offline
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Washington metro
knotty, I didn't see that you are a local! Try the Washington Conservatory (they are in Bethesda right at the District line -- should be very near you) or the Levine School (I think they have a couple of locations now). I think both have group lessons for young children.


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Re: Cello lessons for my 5 year old? #950479
10/28/08 02:39 AM
10/28/08 02:39 AM
Joined: Mar 2008
Posts: 622
California
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Knotty, as a child I was semi "forced" into violin at 6 years old and did violin for about 8 years. I really wanted to learn guitar instead BUT my brother was already learning it at the time. I didn't enjoy it very much the first couple years. After that, it became a routine for me while I was secretly learning guitar from my brother ( a big nono for those violin fingers ). What I am trying to say is that let your child learn what he likes to learn rather than making the decision for him. Personally, I would think bass will be more enjoyable right from the start and it will fuel his musical interest nicely.

Re: Cello lessons for my 5 year old? #950480
10/31/08 05:30 PM
10/31/08 05:30 PM
Joined: Mar 2008
Posts: 68
Scotland
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Scotland
I play piano and cello.
I started the piano when I was 8 and the cello when I was 10. I wish I had started both earlier.
I don't think 5 is too young - I'm sure Jacqueline Du pre started younger. =)
I think I was able to pick up the cello quickly because of what I knew of the piano. I could already read music, so everything came to me a bit more easily.
I think the two instruments compliment each other fantastically, by the way. And it will be so useful for you to be able to accompany him. If only I had an accompanist in the house!

Re: Cello lessons for my 5 year old? #950481
10/31/08 08:58 PM
10/31/08 08:58 PM
Joined: Mar 2007
Posts: 3,042
Bethesda, MD (Washington D.C)
knotty Offline OP
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knotty  Offline OP
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Joined: Mar 2007
Posts: 3,042
Bethesda, MD (Washington D.C)
Koiloco,

I'm 100% with you. I think the bass is simply too big for him. He's keen on learning the cello right now, but there's 0 pressure, if he doesn't like it, he'll do something else. Plus the piano's always there, he's free to play it.

He's pretty excited about getting started right now, and I found a friend who'd do violin at the same time. They already do Ice skating and it's a big plus to do it with a friend.

PandO, the idea of playing together is very appealing to me. I'm also gonna try and get involved and "learn" the cello at the same time.

We'll see how it goes. Let me know if you all want updates.

And by the way, we're gonna try the international school of music, they seem good and it's awefully close.

thanks all

Re: Cello lessons for my 5 year old? #950482
11/13/08 12:33 PM
11/13/08 12:33 PM
Joined: Mar 2007
Posts: 3,042
Bethesda, MD (Washington D.C)
knotty Offline OP
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knotty  Offline OP
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Posts: 3,042
Bethesda, MD (Washington D.C)
quick update,
my son started his first lesson yesterday. And it went really well. He was very excited about it, and I think the teacher connected really well. Or at least, she pretended to really enjoy it.

For those interested, I'll keep some updates on my blog (you can find the url in my signature), add it to your RSS reader if you haven't already.
I can't wait to do our first recording together!

Thanks again for all the great advice I got here.


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