When people ask us, “What’s the best violin for high school students?” the first two things we ask in return are, “What level is the player?” and “Do they plan on playing after high school?” Because the right violin isn’t solely dependent on a player’s age.
When it comes to choosing the best violin for an individual, experience and commitment level matter. What’s “good” for a high school student just starting out and one headed to the Royal Academy of Music are vastly different.
High School Violin Reviews
In this article, we will point out some of the features or student violins and — when necessary — explain how it is different from a regular violin.
A Brief History of the Violin
Music historians believe violins are descendants of earlier instruments like the rebec, vielle, and lira da braccio, but Italians made the first violins, cellos, and violas in the 1500s. The first artistic evidence of the instrument popped up in the works of Gaudenzio Ferrari around 1530. In those nascent orchestral days, however, violins only had three strings.
By 1556, Philibert Jambe de Fer, a Renaissance composer, had written a treatise called Academie Musicale, which detailed the basic violin we know today. Between the 1600s and 1800s, luthiers made slight changes to the violin shape, including:
- Lengthening the fingerboard
- Lengthening the neck
- Adding a chin rest
- Lightening the bass bar
Over the years, different types have appeared on the scene, including electric versions and Stroh violins, which sport horn attachments. But overall, the classical violin hasn’t changed much over the last 200 years.
Violins are the highest bowed orchestral instrument, and they have four strings tuned to G, D, A, and E. The overwhelming majority of violins are made from spruce, ebony, and maple and don’t contain nails, staples, or other fasteners. Instead, luthiers use glue to hold pieces together.
Technically, violins have about 70 individual parts, but the nine main components are:
- Neck and fingerboard
- Chin rest
Student Violin vs Regular Violin
What makes a good violin? It’s a difficult question to answer. Instruments crafted by skilled artisans are, of course, superior to mass-marketed violins. However, we’ve known professional players who insist that their first student violins still rank among their favorites.
Sentimentality likely plays a role in their remembrances, but it shows that the components of a “good violin” can be highly subjective. However, when assessing the merits of a given instrument, the sound matters most, and desirable acoustics are usually achieved by using the best materials and precise body shaping.
But using high-quality materials isn’t a guarantee, and luthiers can have off days, too!
12 Fun Facts About the Violin
- Andrea Amati, a luthier from Cremona, Italy, invented the modern violin. He lived from 1505 to 1577. Gasparo da Salò and Antonio Stradivari are also given credit in some circles for developing certain aspects of the modern model.
- King Louis XIII of France started an orchestra known as Les 24 Violons du Roi — The King’s 24 Violins. The group played a major role in popularizing the violin.
The word violin derives from the Medieval Latin word vitula, which means “stringed instrument.”
- Mozart played the violin before the piano.
- Violins come in a variety of sizes. Young beginners typically use a 1/32 or 1/16 size violin. However, people embarking on musical instruction in high school usually start with a full-size model.
- Believe it or not, someone holds the world record for cycling backward while playing the violin. The current champ was able to do it for 60.45 kilometers in 5 hours 8 seconds.
- Currently, the Messiah Stradivarius is considered the most expensive violin in the world. Antonio Stradivari crafted it in 1716. String musicians practically worship the instrument — so much so that it has rarely been played. It currently resides at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, England.
- Joseph Joachim and Nathan Milstein are two known violinists who’ve had the honor of playing the Messiah Stradivarius.
String players, including violinists, often have larger than normal brains.
- Violin bowstrings are usually nylon or horsehair, and most bows have 150 to 200 hairs.
- The original violin strings were first made of catgut, aka sheep gut. Craftsmen would stretch, dry, and twist the material to make the thin threads.
- Violinists burn approximately 170 calories per hour while playing.
Choosing The Best Violin For High School Student
Now that we’ve reviewed some violin basics let’s circle back to our original question: What is the best violin for a high school student?
The first thing to consider is how long the person has been playing. Some folks start violin in preschool, and by the time they’re in high school, they may be quite accomplished. Others may start their string instrument journey in high school and are beginners at 16. The former would probably want a high-end violin, whereas the former would do fine with a starter violin.
Suppose the high school student in question is serious about the violin and headed to Julliard, Berklee, a conservatory, or another music school. In that case, it’s probably time to spring for a special instrument for advanced players to stay competitive.
People who plan to play the violin as a hobby after high school may want something better than a starter instrument but less expensive than an advanced one. If the person in question is a beginner, the Mendini By Cecilio Violin is a great option.
More than just a single instrument, the Mendini is a package deal that includes:
- Two bows
- Chromatic string tuner
- Adjustable shoulder rest
- Lesson book
If you’re searching for the perfect violin, we hope you find it soon and cherish it for years to come! If you have questions about violins or other string instruments, please reach out. Our friendly experts and luthiers are always willing to lend a helping hand.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What is a decent student violin?
The Mendini By Cecilio Violin is an excellent student violin. It’s a very good quality instrument for the price, and it comes with some handy accessories.
How much should I spend on a high school violin?
An entry level high school violin should cost you somewhere in the ballpark of $200. Of course, you can find models that cost considerably more, but you can get yourself a good quality violin for several hundred dollars.
What is a good entry level violin?
As stated above, we really prefer the The Mendini By Cecilio Violin. It’s a tremendous value for the price, and it’s an excellent choice for an entry level instrument.