Gift for a young violin player?
December 11, 2007 8:33 AM   Subscribe

Help me get a good gift for a young violin player.

My 10-year-old nephew recently began playing the violin, and I'd like to get him a Christmas gift (under $50) that he would both enjoy immensely, and act as a reassurance that his crazy uncle, me, thinks he is very cool for playing the violin -- because he is!
posted by nitsuj to Media & Arts (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
posted by matteo at 8:40 AM on December 11, 2007


I mean, he'll also see that the violin is not the territory of the old, the boring and the ugly but in fact classical music is cooler than most pop/rock/rap out there
posted by matteo at 8:42 AM on December 11, 2007

A friend's daughter just recently took up the violin (she's 14) and I gifted her with a couple of Jade rosins. They're tiny and come wrapped in olive green velvet. Jade rosin has a pretty good reputation. Supposedly Amazon is selling them for a ridiculously low price - the local music store here wants 22.00 for the exact same size, so I bought her two and she was pretty thrilled. She also loves fiddling around with her new electronic tuner, so that may be a good gift as well. Another thing that might be cool is some kind of poster - someone playing the violin, or a vintage art poster.
posted by iconomy at 8:47 AM on December 11, 2007

The violin is one of the most uncomfortable instruments in the world to play. Some things thing that help are a good shoulder rest (that doesn't fall off all the time) - I highly recommend "Comford" brand - or a gel or foam pad for the chin rest. A tuner is helpful to check intonation, and a metronome for timing. This is a good place to shop.
posted by viva viola at 8:52 AM on December 11, 2007

The other posters have great ideas. The first thing that came to mind for me is a K&K pickup, but maybe not.
posted by tmcw at 9:11 AM on December 11, 2007

Maybe take him to an orchestra concert, preferably with a violin soloist.
posted by kiltedtaco at 10:06 AM on December 11, 2007

Seconding metronome, one with a visual indicator as well as audible. These mechanical ones are neat and don't need batteries (a plus for any kid's thing). I love Jade rosin myself, so that's cool. His teacher may or may not want him to use an electronic tuner (if they are old-school and want him to learn tuning by fifths) so I wouldn't give that. A tuning fork may be better especially if you show him how to use it. (Whack it on your knee, then touch the handle to the violin body near the f-hole. I thought it was the coolest thing when I was a kid.)
posted by cabingirl at 10:39 AM on December 11, 2007

Another idea - a subscription to Teen Strings Magazine
posted by viva viola at 10:43 AM on December 11, 2007

Hey! I work the violin counter at Hoover Music, on Jefferson a couple blocks from The Moxie (if you still work there). Ask for Donnie (that's me!). I've got a rather large violin department, and I'll hook you up.

And Jade rosin does indeed rock.
posted by sourwookie at 11:16 AM on December 11, 2007

I would get him some crazily good violin recordings, maybe in a variety of genres.

To me, getting rosin is like getting socks. Plus he probably already has some. And it lasts for frigin ever. I bought a new cake recently because I lost my old one. Then I found the old one, which is 7 years old and still only about 1/3 used.

You might try some non-classical recordings...I really like this one and this one.

Also some Heifitz recordings might be good.
posted by sully75 at 11:24 AM on December 11, 2007

Growing up, I played violin. I got so many violin-related presents. They included...
-a metronome
-a new chin rest
-a violin music tote bag
-a nice music stand
-violin-related jewelry, trinkets, posters, books, etc.
-recordings of classic violin music
-tickets to symphonies

Things, looking back, I wish I had gotten (this might be a slightly older demographic, but you get the idea):
-pop music/electronic/jazz/etc. that featured violin players
-tickets (or a CD) to a funky group or quartet featuring a violinist (groups like Tarantula AD, They Might Be Giants, or Andrew Bird)
-an improv lesson
-sheet music to music I already liked (for a 10-year-old: maybe disney songs? endlessley entertaining, and easy to sing along to)

Also, when I was that young, my mom would always sit in on my violin lessons. If your nephew has someone like that who is paying attention to his progress, you might want to check with them for ideas.

Good luck!
posted by lunit at 11:30 AM on December 11, 2007

Pablo De Sarasate makes for some great violin porn.
posted by sourwookie at 11:41 AM on December 11, 2007

I started playing violin when I was a kid, and my parents gave me a music stand. I switched to saxophone a few years later, but I still use that music stand today (25 years!). So I'd recommend a music-related gift that isn't necessarily violin-specific (stand, tuner, concert experiences, etc.)
posted by candyland at 11:59 AM on December 11, 2007

I have books with play-along cd's for Disney Songs, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Star Wars, etc.
posted by sourwookie at 4:15 PM on December 11, 2007

Nodame Cantabile is a series of comic books (manga) about music students centering around a quirky pianist and a genius conductor/violinist. Funny good stories but maybe not exciting enough for a young boy?

Music that's more on the pops/jazz side might be more accessible, like Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue or Copland's Rodeo. Or try one of the Fantasia DVDs, which liven up classical music for kids that might not be able to sit through a whole symphony.

Useful but maybe boring for a kid:
- nice shoulder rest
- tuning fork
- moisture worm thing
- violin mute: big chunky rubbery or wooden ones seem to mute the best
- tote / music bag for sheet music

The tote bag can be more fun if you get one with characters he likes on it. And then fill it with candy. :)
posted by bumpybear at 11:10 PM on December 11, 2007

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