Equipment, useful addresses, discounts

This page details all the necessary equipment for violin practice and lessons. At the end of the text are some useful addresses.

Please note that some of the shops indicated offer price reductions upon presentation of a Brussels Suzuki Association card! Check the details under "useful addresses".

1. The violin and bow

Although for the first few weeks the child may be asked to use a fake violin and bow (provided by us), so as to learn the basic moves and posture, quite soon you will need to acquire the real violin and bow. In any case the parent will need a full-size violin and bow straight away.

Renting the child’s violin and bow is generally the best solution for beginners. The rental will usually include the violin, bow, rosin, violin case, insurance for damage, and the basic upkeep service. When the violin becomes too small, the shop will simply exchange it for a bigger one, continuing with the same rental contract. So it is usually a better option than buying.

To choose the right violin size, you will need to go with the child to the shop and let theshop's luthier advise you. If given the choice between two sizes, take the smaller one: the larger-sized violin may sound better, but too large a violin is not good for the child’s comfort, posture and technique.

Parents will also need to acquire a full-size violin and bow for themselves. In that case it is less obvious that rental is the best solution: the violin size will not change and you are likely to need the violin for at least 3 years. Nevertheless, keep in mind that low-prices violins will tend to depreciate in time (whereas older, more expensive violins tend to gain in market value), so you are unlikely to be able to resell your instrument for anything like the price you bought it; and the advantages of the rental in terms of insurance cover and services remain.

Whether you choose to rent or to buy, you should go to a luthier (specialised violin maker and repairer) rather than to a less specialised musical instruments shop. You will then get better service and advice, directly from the luthier himself or his apprentice, rather than from a mere shopkeeper. We provide some useful addresses further down in this text.

2. Accessories

Here is a list of necessary or useful accessories. Those marked with an * are indispensable even for beginners. The other accessories will become useful by the by.

Some of these accessories may be found at the luthier, but for others you will need to go to a less specialised music shop. We provide some useful addresses further down in this text.

· * The book “Nurtured by Love” by Shinichi Suzuki. To be read asap by any parent who wishes to understand what the Suzuki Method is about!

· *Volume 1 of the Suzuki Violin Method (with CD!) The child and parent should listen to the CD every day. The music book should be brought to the single lessons.

· *Shoulder rest or cushion. For the very smallest pupils a simple foam or sponge cushion may suffice (check with your teacher!) Later a real violin shoulder-rest may become useful. Several models exist

· *Rosin (colophane in French). This is a small block of sticky resin which must be regularly rubbed against the hair of the bow. Without rosin the bow will not produce a very good sound when stroking the string. Be careful: the rosin breaks easily if it falls - and then it’s a sticky mess!

· *A notebook and pen and/or a recording device. You’ll need to observe each lesson carefully in order to try to reproduce it at home. Writing down some notes can be useful; and making audio or video recordings of the lessons have been found to be very useful by many parents in order to better practise at home!

· *Electronic tuner. A small device that “hears” whether the strings are in tune. Very useful if you are not a musician and/or not confident in tuning a violin. This should be specifically a violin tuner: don’t get a guitar tuner!

· *Small electronic keyboard. If you don’t already have a well-tuned acoustic piano or electronic keyboard at home, a small, even toy-sized keyboard will be very useful for checking the intonation of difficult notes and learning to sing them. Make sure it’s good quality, i.e. that the A (la) is a true 440hz A, that more than one note can sound at once, and that at least some of the sound options are sustained sounds without vibrato (i.e. organ- or clarinet-like). Check this with the shop.

· *Spare strings. Often forgotten, but useful to avoid a crisis if a string breaks just before a lesson or concert!

· *A silk scarf to wrap the violin in before putting it in its case. This is to protect the violin from sudden temperature changes, which are quite likely in winter when stepping in or out of the house!

· *A dust cloth, to be kept in the violin case. Some of the rosin on the bow will become a white dust that settles on the violin. Wipe it off regularly!

· *A nail clipper, also to be kept in the violin case. The violin can’t be played with long nails! And children’s nails grow astonishingly fast… Try to avoid the humiliation of being asked to clip nails during a lesson!

· “I Can Read Music” (violin) / vol. 1, by Joanne Martin. Not necessary at first, but once the child can play a few pieces this book will be used to teach it to begin to read music!

· A music stand. Not necessary at first, but will be used as soon as you start on “I Can Read Music”

· A metronome. Not necessary at first, but useful perhaps already from Book 2 or 3 of the Suzuki Method.

· A tuning fork. Not necessary at first, if you use the electronic tuner. But useful for more advanced students who tune without the help of a teacher or a tuner.

3. Useful addresses

and reduction rates for ASB cards

METENY QUARTET INSTRUMENTS

P. Gilis, luthier

Avenue de Broqueville, 245 – 1200 Bruxelles

Tel. 02-762 39 27

Recommended for all beginner violin hires and repairs

Upon presentation of a Brussels Suzuki Association card:

5% reduction on rentals and repairs; 10% reduction on sales

AZZATO musical instruments, accessories

Rue de la Violette 42 - 1000 Bruxelles

Tel. 02-512 37 52

20% reduction on sales upon presentation of a Brussels Suzuki Association card

POINT D’ORGUE

Musical library

Place de la Justice 22 – 1000 Bruxelles

Tel. 02-511 20 57

20% reduction on sales upon presentation of a Brussels Suzuki Association card

MAISON BERNARD

J. Strick, luthier & P.-M. Guillaume, archetier

Rue Ernest Allard 38 - 1000 Bruxelles

Tel. 02-514 18 71

Only for expensive, high-quality instruments