"Music for Everyone, All Ages "
1515 WARREN STREET, (NORTHSHORE) PITTSBURGH, PA 15212-3332
(412) 322-0520                                             info@KikuchiMusic.com
                                                                     Founder: Lee W. Kikuchi

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INFO FOR PARENTS

Studying Voice

INSTRUMENTS

STRING INSTRUMENTS

(Why piano first?)

The Kikuchi Music Institute offers private music instruction on all orchestral string instruments (violin, viola, cello, bass) starting at age 5. Any student younger than age 5 should begin music study on the piano, and will be able to transition to the string instrument after 1-2 years. [Ex. A student studies piano starting at 4, and switches to violin at age 5.] The KMI faculty have found this to be a far more effective approach, both in keeping the student interested in music and having meaningful progress on the string instrument. KMI does NOT offer Suzuki method, but Mr. Kikuchi has developed his OWN approach that is very effective for young string students.

Below are listed the string instruments which are part of the standard symphonic orchestra. All these instruments are also capable of performing as featured solists, but the added ability of participating in a large group performance creates many opportunities and substantial fulfillment for the student during the Middle School and High School years. In addition, there are infinite possible combinations for these instruments as chamber music (smaller groups), such as trios, quartets, quintets, octets, chamber strings, etc. (For an understanding of a student's pathways to other musical activities such as orchestra, band or choir, see ELEMENTARY DEVELOPMENT. See STRING ENSEMBLES descriptions of available orchestras.)

VIOLIN: Of all the string instruments, nearly every one thinks of the violin first. The result is that there are more violinists than players of other string instruments and the competition is usually much more difficult for getting into local orchestras. For this reason, at KMI we strongly encourage students to consider other string instruments before settling on the violin. If you or your child have your heart set on the violin, you will first need to obtain (rent or buy) an instrument of appropriate size. The instrument will be traded in as the student grows and a new size is needed. Any student age 5 or older can begin violin lessons, but we strongly encourage the study of piano prior to or concurrently with violin, to give a good music foundation. CLEF: violin music is written ONLY in the treble clef.

VIOLA: Most violists actually begin by studying violin, and this is probably the best idea for all young and beginning violists (reading Treble clef is important for viola). If you or your child are not sure about viola, starting with violin is fine and the student can switch to viola at any time, and many of the violin skills will transfer directly. If your child is a sibling of another student who is studying violin, we strongly encourage starting directly with viola, cello or bass so that the sibling is playing a different instrument, but within the same family (see above). Whether your child is starting viola directly or violin first, you will need to obtain (rent or buy) an instrument of appropriate size. The instrument will be traded in as the student grows and a new size is needed. Any student age 5 or older can begin viola lessons, but we strongly encourage the study of piano prior to or concurrently with viola, to give a good music foundation. CLEF: viola music is written primarily in the alto clef, then sometimes the treble clef for high notes.

CELLO: Many people shy away from the cello because it is a large instrument. The fact that it is made of light weight wood usually does not figure in. The need for good cellists is so much greater than for the other string instruments (see above) so we strongly encouarge beginning string students to consider the cello as an option to violin. Unfortunatly, unlike viola starting, on the violin does not help the beginning cello student because the hand shape, fingering, and clef are all different. Cello students should begin with piano, but starting on violin is of no advantage. Before starting cello lessons you will first need to obtain (rent or buy) an instrument of appropriate size. The instrument will be traded in as the student grows and a new size is needed. Any student age 5 or older can begin cello lessons, but we strongly encourage the study of piano first to give a good foundation. CLEF: cello music is written primarily in the bass clef, then sometimes in the tenor clef or treble clef for high notes.

BASS: If many people shy away from the cello because it is a large instrument, even more shy away from the string bass for the same reason. Good bassists are in the same demand as good cellists, and often cello students who gain admission to an orchestra are invited to switch to bass when there is a need for more basses. Many cello skills transfer to the bass directly, and if the student decides she/he likes it better the student may stay with the bass. Although physical stature is not really important, sometimes particularly larger persons are encouraged to switch from cello to bass (the same thing happens with violin to viola), just beccause playing a larger instrument might be more comfortable. (This only happens at adolescence.) We strongly encouarge beginning string students to consider either the cello or the bass as an option to violin, especially if an older sibling plays violin or viola. Bass students should begin with piano and/or cello, but starting on violin or viola is of no advantage because the hand shape, fingering, and clef are all different. Before starting bass lessons you will first need to obtain (rent or buy) an instrument of appropriate size. The instrument will be traded in as the student grows and a new size is needed. Any student age 9 or older can begin bass lessons, but we strongly encourage the study of piano first to give a good foundation. CLEF: bass music is written primarily in the bass clef, then sometimes in the tenor clef or treble clef for high notes.

(Once you have choosen an instrument, see GETTING AN INSTRUMENT for information about renting or buying.)

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