Changing instruments?

Stephanie said: Oct 1, 2013
1 posts

I have three children that play both piano (traditional lessons) and violin (suzuki). They are all three doing very well and enjoy playing. However, my stoic middle child has mentioned several times of her interest in playing cello. I never intended on pursuing two instruments, but when the middle child was struggling with piano, we decided to switch her to violin and have the older two children on different instruments. The plan backfired (in a good way) since the oldest begged to also play violin, and then once playing the violin, music began to click for the middle child and she no longer wanted to give up piano. The girls took traditional lessons for the first two years of violin. By the time my youngest begged to also begin violin, I had learned about Suzuki and we started him with a Suzuki teacher and soon switched the girls over as well.

Music comes very easy for the oldest and youngest. The middle child holds her own fairly well, but I feel that it might be healthy if she had her own thing. Unlike the other two, she is not a child that would beg for something she really wanted. The fact that she has mentioned interest in cello makes me feel like it might worth considering providing her with her very own trail to blaze that would not constantly leave her in the shadow of her siblings.

I really don’t know how to explore the possibility or if it is even a wise consideration. Any wisdom or personal experience would be much appreciated.

Sue Hunt said: Oct 2, 2013
Sue HuntViola, Violin
403 posts

Different instruments do suit different personalities. I think that the cello is great for children who like to consider things in a deep way. It suited my son very well. He wasn’t focussed with the violin and kept throwing himself on the floor—not so easy to do when sitting down behind a cello. Once he switched to the cello, he found it easier to calm down and focus.

Something else to bear in mind: does she have a lower voice. The cello is a wonderful singing instrument.

Anita said: Oct 2, 2013
 40 posts

My daughter recently started on the cello because her school offered it. She plays violin and is in the middle of book 3, and she wants to continue playing violin. However, her schoolmates are just learning violin, and she would have been very, very bored at school. Cello offered her a chance to learn to read the base clef, and she loves it. I leave it up to her to practice, however. If she decides to stick with it in middle school, we’ll find a private teacher. For now, she’s learning something new and different and is very happy. It’s also something that differentiates her from her younger brother, for whom the violin is easy.


Laura said: Oct 2, 2013
Suzuki Association Member
Stanton, MN
26 posts

my sister was a wonderful violin player when we were young. She has always stated that one of the reasons she quit was because she was playing in the shadow of her older sister. I think it can be very healthy for siblings to play different instruments. Especially if a younger sibling will potentially overtake an older sibling in playing ability on a specific instrument. It removes the competition, and gives the one who is not progressing as quickly freedom to do their own thing at their own pace. I discuss this with my families who have multiple siblings and encourage them to consider whether violin is the right instrument for all of the children, or if a different instrument for one of the children would be better.

Heather Reichgott said: Oct 2, 2013
Heather ReichgottPiano
South Hadley, MA
102 posts

I’m one of three kids myself. My sister, the middle child, went through piano (what the older sister was already playing) and viola (what the schools suggested for her) before settling on voice (her own choice). Today she is a happy and successful singer, church musician and voice teacher. It’s important for middle children to find their own identity, and having an instrument that is unique in the family might really help :)

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