What is the youngest age a child can learn the violin? I want to teach my son and daughter the violin and saxophone. As a person who played the sax and piano I know they can’t blow hard enough for the sax. As far as the piano I’m looking for the right 88 key already. I want them to learn the violin and cello first.


This depends alot on your children. There are many examples of children starting at age 3 and becoming very successful, even virtuoso. See Brianna Kahane at 7, or Viktor Lin at 10, to see how successful.

But be aware many more gave it up, or failed to develop well.

Please read this related question (may actually be a duplicate) - starting piano at 4 is also mentioned there. And from myself and my own children I know that piano at 6, sax at 7, guitar at 6 and violin at 4 all seemed to work well.

  • Thanks I just read through the reference as well as your response. Your response was insightful. Most of the reference discussed reading music. I as someone who played many instruments I was not able to play the sax for the first few years because I couldn’t hold specific notes long enough(my Kong’s were too small I guess). However, the post doesn’t discuss the violin and cello and what age would anyone recommend a child could learn and grasp such instruments. I mean many factors come into play and I was hoping to get a response-pros and cons from those who have tried and been(un)successful.
    – Mr. Litty
    Oct 26 '18 at 13:59

Generally speaking, a child who has been exposed to a lot of violin music since or before birth, and has seen and watched many violinists playing since birth, a child who sings a lot and has a lot of adults singing with or to them, a child who has participated in some kind of early childhood music and movement activities for months or years, this child is probably going to be ready to start formal violin lessons at or around the age of 3 or 4 years old, if you can find a violin teacher who specializes in teaching pre-school age beginners.

Most violin teachers will want the child to be able to focus (look) at a particular thing when directed for at least 10 seconds, if not longer. Some children are developmentally able to do this at age 3, some will develop this ability at 3 and a half, some at age 4, and so on.

Many of the skills a child learns in pre-school violin lessons can also be learned in other contexts - counting, finger discrimination, physical coordination, a sense of rhythm and pitch, learning how to follow directions from a teacher, a first experience learning how to act in a class of peers, etc. For this reason some violin teachers may wish to wait until at least age 5 or 6 before starting new beginners.

Some children may not be ready to start formal lessons until age 7 or 8. Most children are probably ready to start lessons around age 8 or 9 if they were not ready before then.

In my experience as a violin and viola teacher, I find that the success of the pre-school or Kindergarten aged child depends largely on the commitment of the parent and teacher to work together to create a musical environment that:

  1. Gives the child short term reasons to practice

(such as peer/social motivation like playing with other students and family members, or the parents noticeably and visibly enjoying listening to professional violin recordings, or going to violin concerts, or the family genuinely celebrating each stage of the child's learning, or learning to play familiar or favorite songs, or periodic but irregularly spaced rewards for the hard work of practicing, etc.)

  1. Breaks down violin practice into very tiny steps, which the child can successfully complete within their current natural attention span

  2. Allows the child to practice alongside an encouraging practice partner (i.e. their parent) for short amounts of time that don't exhaust the child or the practice partner, but which occur regularly 1-5 times a day, 5 to 7 days a week, 40 to 52 weeks a year, several years in a row.

(Actually this is probably a good recipe for any age beginner... )

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