How to choose the right study tool?

Back to school is a tough time. Having barely passed the entrance exam at the conservatory or at a music school, it is already necessary to think about a new stage: to find a musical instrument to study. Not everyone has an airard in the living room, let alone a flute, trombone, or ukulele in the attic. So how?

Where do you inquire?

It is very important to talk to the machine tutor first, Explains Aurore Doise, violinist at the Orchester Philharmonique de Radio France, who has been studying violin at the Conservatory for a long time. If the conservatory has an instrument garden, a student can rent one directly from the institution. But this is not the case for all conservatories, in addition, conservatories rarely have a complete or well-maintained instrument garden due to lack of budget. But all teachers are accustomed to working with miniatures and gadget shops, and can give advice to the student based on their contacts. says the violinist.

Once you have the list of addresses in your pocket, don’t forget to know the details to consider depending on the family of the gadget you are looking for, the age of the child and your budget. Finally, plan to go there with your family: The selection of the form must be carried out in the presence of the child, Aurore Doise explains. It is your conformation that will determine which tool will be best to start with. »

Which tool to choose?

Threads rubbed

Among the different families of machines, most come in different sizes depending on the age of the child. For stringed instruments, especially for violins, small-sized models are widely known: for example, 1/8 of a violin is the right size for students aged 5 or 6, although there are still smaller models. It should be replaced with a larger size every two years or so, up to the size of the entire violin, which is suitable for a schoolboy of about 12 years old. But by trying the tool, the child will be able to choose the best: When you hold the violin under your chin and extend your left arm, you should be able to circle the head of the violin with your hand, without fully extending the arm. This is the criterion for choosing the size that corresponds to the child’s morphology Violinist Aurore Doise advises.

It’s the same for a cello: from 1/8 at age 6, up to full size (which a student will be able to adopt around age 15), its growth will be accompanied by various transitional instruments. What is less well known is that the violin and bass double are also present today in small size: “ Before, failed violins and cellists turn to viola and double bass, Patrick Charton, Lothair jokes in the 11th arrondissement in Paris. Over twenty years, we also manufacture the two machines in reduced size, adapted to small shapes Luthier explains.


On the wind family side, a transitional instrument will be more practical for a small child. “Some wind instruments are suitable because they can be heavy to hold. For a trumpet, for example, a six-year-old will start a trumpet with a smaller mouthpiece, but the blowing technique remains the same. In general, transition instruments last for two or three years. , and then one can move on to the normal-sized tool, Benjamin, a woodwind consultant at Parisian music store Paul Beuscher explains. There is also a model of the transverse flute with a curved head that allows the instrument to be shortened for very young children. Among the models suitable for children, there are also a curved soprano saxophone, a clarinet in a flat C or E shape, picolos, “little hands” or “water drop” flutes.


The guitar is one of the most popular instruments. ” It is selected according to comfort and sound says Fabrice, a consultant for cut string instruments at Paul Beuscher. The first criterion depends on the size of the body and neck and then the handling of the machine. Care must be taken to ensure that the child is seated comfortably with a suitable crate. If his elbow goes beyond the shoulder, then eventually the child will have pain in the shoulder and back, He indicates. From 5 to 8 years old will be half a guitar, Fabrice teaches us, Until the age of 12 it will be a three-quarter guitar, and at the age of 12 you can switch to a full guitar “.

the piano

It is the most complex tool and the most difficult to hide from the neighbors. But there are solutions, less in terms of space you still have to find, than in the volume, which you can control thanks to the possibility of working with headphones or lowering the volume.

Conservatory teachers demand a real piano from the start, says Thomas, consultant at Paul Beuscher. Get out of keyboards and other electric pianos. They often prefer acoustic pianos, because digital sound is of lower sound quality. However, a digital piano can be a good solution for beginners in that it has a weighted keyboard with 88 tones of the acoustic piano, a piece of furniture that ensures the correct position of the student: the correct height and distance of the pedals, a frame close to the acoustic piano. Today, you can easily find acoustic pianos that are equipped with a silent system, but they are still quite expensive for the first instrument. ‘, he explains.

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Rent or buy? And at what cost?

There are families who buy because they think that having their own machine can stimulate the child more, Lothair Patrick Charton says: At first I would advise renting the machine, because we don’t know how the baby will react. You have to change the size about every two years for a developing child, so reselling the tool to buy a larger machine becomes complicated. But parents can also start by renting a tool, and if they decide to buy it, the rental costs incurred are deducted from the price. Between the violin and double bass, the rental cost is 12 to 40 euros per month, plus insurance costs Luthier says.

Same principle as woodwinds: to buy you need to calculate between 200 euros for a flute and about 400 euros for a saxophone. ” Renting today is not always profitable, because you can find entry-level cars worth about ten months of rent. The account will always be more interesting when you buy the gadget, knowing that it can then be resold. Trumpet 325 euros, between 20 and 30 euros per month for rent The cost would be less significant for the guitar, explains Benjamin. In terms of sound, small, well-made models are well-suited as transitional instruments, and if a child continues, it will be more than worth the cost of investing in a complete guitar. For the basic model, the price is about 150 euros says Fabrice.

When it comes to cost, the piano wins the award. ” Renting can be an interesting solution, Thomas recommends. For an acoustic piano equipped with a silent system, it costs about 90 euros per month. Without the silent system, the cost is about 50 euros. A good solution for a maximum of two years, after which it becomes very expensive compared to the purchase price. But leasing also means the freedom to return the tool. On the other hand, an acoustic piano equipped with a silent system represents a very important investment for the first purchase, which is 5,000 euros. And unlike a digital piano, which costs around 1,000 euros, it does not lose its value on sale. “, Identifies.

How do you take care of her?

The study instrument does not require any specific maintenance conditions. However, when using a musical instrument, there are some precautions to take to avoid breakage and make it last longer. Improper handling or an inappropriate place to store it can cause headaches and additional costs:

Often parents stretch a rope too much and it ends up breaking, sometimes you have to pay up to 40 euros for a new rope, Explains Rachel, Lothair in Patrick Charton’s workshop. Don’t neglect the bow either, loosen the wicks well when the kids stop playing. Fusers can accompany you in the first steps of passing on best practices. In general, wooden tools are sensitive to sudden changes in temperature, and remain brittle in transport states: Do not store the device in direct sunlight or near a heater. When it is too dry, the tool may break or peel off. During transportation, it must be well protected. Rental caps are often a little thin, and the slightest shock can crack or disable them. Luthier explains.

Wind instruments should be regularly cleaned of moisture and protected from dust. It is best to keep it in its packaging or in the wrapper.

An annual visit to the luthier is recommended to accomodate a bit of beauty. ” Study tools deserve as much attention as professionals’ tools, Our luthier Patrick Charton captivates. It is important that students learn in the best conditions so that their learning does not encounter unnecessary and avoidable obstacles luthier concludes.

Some ways to find out:

> cat luthier

> Music rental

> Music publisher and store Paul Bucher

> luthier Patrick Charton

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