One size does not fit all
In teaching the violin, I get a lot of questions. Some of them it’s best not to repeat here on the internet(funny, but not appropriate). However, one that Im more than willing to share and talk about is: How do I know which size violin is right for me(or my child)? Luckily for us, as long as there have been violins, there has been an answer to that question. So let’s start by getting a few things out of the way.
1: Aren’t all violins the same?
No. The violin has 9 specific sizes that are generally suggested for use.
2: Is it really that big a deal if I play a violin that isn’t the right size for me?
Generally, yes. There are extenuating circumstances, but you want to play an instrument that fits you because if it doesn’t, your playing will be slowed by unnecessary fatigue(if the instrument is too big), and unnecessary crowding on the instrument(if the instrument is too small).
3: How do I make sure the violin is the right size for me?
Well, I’m glad you asked! Very simply, we measure the length of the left arm(for right handed players, right arm for left handed players) and use that measurement to specify exactly which violin size is right for you. However, there are two ways to measure your arm. The standard method is to measure the arm from your neck, to the middle of the palm of the hand. The Suzuki method is to measure from the neck to the wrist.
The latter method allows for a more comfortable posture on the instrument. If a child seems to be growing swiftly(in other words, the likelihood that they will outgrow a new violin relatively soon), then it is wise to measure using the standard method so as to allow the child to grow into the new instrument while still having full access to all finger locations on the violin.
Once you’ve chosen the standard or Suzuki method(I generally use the Suzuki method), and measured the length of your arm, you can use this chart to find the right size violin for you or your child. Ive included the general age ranges that correlate with the sizes of the violin. I want to stress that it is a very loose guideline. The best way is to measure, but the age ranges help give you a general physical guideline as well.
I just want to say a few things about the 7/8 size. It’s very useful for individuals that are otherwise full size(4/4) but have small hands or small fingers. This size violin might aid someone who finds themselves in this situation. Find the violin that fits you best and it will help you learn smoothly and happily!
Check out the size chart to help you find what you need!