You're in a great place to be a beginning string player (or the parent of one)! Our Houston metropolitan area has a very large number of good string programs in public and private schools. There are also many ways to get an excellent education in the instrument of your choice outside of school.
Our #1 piece of advice: DON'T WAIT! Come on and let's get started on a lifelong musical journey.
Are you interested in beginning a stringed instrument in the Houston Metro area?
Is your child interested in starting a stringed instrument at school?
Or, perhaps, with a private teacher, Suzuki program, or homeschool group?
Our #1 piece of advice is DON'T WAIT! Starting to learn the violin, viola, cello or bass is an exciting journey, and you're surrounded by great resources.
Here are some resources and steps:
Have you (or your child) ever been close up to, and handled, stringed instruments? Come on in to see us at Quantum Bass Center, where you can touch and try out all the instruments as much as you like. You probably have many questions, and our friendly, knowledgeable staff can assist you with violins, violas, cellos, and basses. This is a great place to explore and discover the world of stringed-instrument playing! Browse our multiple rooms of instruments, see how each instrument comes in different sizes, try different types of bows, learn how to apply rosin, get a glimpse of how stringed instruments are constructed and repaired, and peruse sheet music. Meet and interact with other string players from beginners to world-class touring professionals.
Are you concerned about handling instruments in a store, because they're fragile? Our rental instruments are almost always in the hands of beginners, who started with the same concern! We will gladly sit with you and show you how to safely handle them, until you feel comfortable.
How expensive is it?
You can get a high-quality violin (important!) in your hands, with its necessary accessories, for less than $75 out of pocket! Just rent one monthly - this is the safest, lowest-risk, best investment. You will be able to exchange and upgrade it at any time, and your rental includes a protection plan. You are FAR better off renting or purchasing a used, entry-level quality violin from a caring, education-oriented dealer [like us] than buying a super-cheap mail-order violin sight-unseen, only to find it needs expensive work to make it playable, and has no warranty or support. See our blog post on this topic
Can I start learning on my own?
Considering the subtleties of holding the instrument properly and playing in tune, you should REALLY have a tutor when you start. We are fortunate to be in a major metropolis with many well-trained, qualified teachers. Even if your school offers starting from beginner level in orchestra class, you will get far better and quicker results if you start with individual lessons, though you might concurrently be in a class.
Should I start with viola as my beginner instrument?
Unless you are close to a really great viola teacher, we recommend beginners, especially small children, begin on violin, and switch to viola when they are physically large enough to play a 14" (if it's a high-quality one), a 15" or larger.
How old does my child have to be to start playing?
In Suzuki education, you can begin the violin, cello, or piano at age 3. If you are not embedded in a local Suzuki program (with access to the parent training, group classes, and certified teachers) we recommend beginning to explore music at the piano keyboard, learning the concepts of notes and how music works, and gently and naturally developing the child's attention span for practicing music, perhaps beginning the study of a stringed instrument at about age 6. This is very individual! Only you know your child's aptitude for trying tasks over and over until she succeeds. You can rent an instrument from us and take a few trial lessons with a teacher. If your child seems "not ready", keep the experience positive and try again when she's a little older. In the meantime, keep a piano keyboard available, encourage her to keep looking up music-learning online resources, and keep taking her to concerts and meeting musicians. If she has positive memories of early violin or cello lessons (or bass), she may well ask to begin again when she develops a vision for it.
At what age should my child begin the double bass?
The top double bass pedagogues recommend a minimum age of 6. Young-bassist pedagogy is a specialty, and properly set up mini-basses are not available everywhere (although we do carry a full line, and we ship), so, if you are in an area without a specialized young-bassist teacher, we advise beginning the cello with a very good teacher, perhaps switching to double bass when the child grows large enough for a 1/4 size bass. As we are, naturally, huge advocates of beginning the bass at early ages, it's not a statement made lightly. MANY FINE and ELITE DOUBLE BASSISTS have studied with cello teachers! Cello pedagogy and technique is highly developed, standards are high, and cello teachers are likely to be able to impart the skills of an ideal bow hold, along with the other foundations of good core technique and reading bass clef, to a young student.
Isn't it hard to play a stringed instrument?
The first day is the hardest! True! Learning subtle and complex movements with both hands is a physical and mental task. Your beginning teacher will know how to guide you into breaking down the complex motions into achievable bits, and you WILL make progress day by day. Divide and conquer - keep separating the complex issues and tackling them individually, keep at it, and NEVER GIVE UP. Develop your ability to analyze, and your patience, and you will find it is no more difficult to advance at a stringed instrument than any other instrument.