Top 8 Gift Ideas for Violin and Viola Students

by | Dec 13, 2023

It is that time of year again! Or maybe it isn’t and you are reading this in the middle of summer for someone’s birthday. Either way, gifts are needed and a student violin or viola player is the intended recipient. What do you do?

Below are a list of top recommendations for violin students. All of these gifts will improve any student’s experience learning and playing the violin and are a worthy investment in your student(s) any time of year.

Note that this is a short list for violin and viola students. Professional musicians are a different class of people to go shopping for. For that crowd, I recommend this article by Meadowlark Violin.

Peak SMS-20 music stand

A Sturdy Stand

I cannot stress how valuable it is to have a reliable, sturdy stand to work with. Wire frame stands are appealing because of their cheap price. However, they also do a terrible job of holding music, make it a real pain to write on our music, are poor at holding pencils and metronomes, and did I mention they are terrible at holding music?

Instead, a Peak collapsible stand (when they are finally available again) or a sturdy metal stand are both worth their price. I recommend avoiding the Cahaya stands on Amazon (usually around $30) as they will not stand the test of time (no pun intended, but I’ll take it). Instead, spend at least $50 for something that will last.

wall-mounted violin/viola hanger

A Wall-Mounted Violin/Viola Hanger

These things are great on multiple levels. I have two of them, personally, and intend to get one more. The biggest benefit is that they are a safe, secure way to store the violin and bow at home without having to constantly take it in and out of the case. This makes it easier for a student to simply pick the violin or viola up and play it. Another major benefit is that hangers turn the violin or viola into a great wall decoration when the instrument is not in use. Seriously. You will never look at it and think, “That is terrible; it shouldn’t be there.” Lastly, they are great because they are cheap, just $14.

At Shar

At Fiddlershop

Big Book of Christmas Songs for Violin

Music!

I mean, obviously. But what music!?

The hardest thing about getting music books is knowing that you are getting good music. I’ve been given many books over the years that were completely useless to me because the songs in them were to dumbed down to really be playable or enjoyable. This is a common problem among beginner books – they are sometimes too beginner. Something to be aware of when shopping for experienced beginners and intermediate students.

Otherwise, song books for their favorite movie or genre of music is often a good place to try. I have one definite recommendation for Christmas music below and a word of wisdom. Growing up, it was the random things I didn’t expect that often times had the biggest impact on me. So don’t afraid to pull something from left field, too.

Christmas: Big Book of Christmas Songs for Violin or Viola

More Music!

Specifically, a 1 year subscription to MuseScore. MuseScore makes some high quality, open-source, completely-free-to-use music notation software. What you want to pay for, though, is their online user-created music library. There you can often find a version of whatever song it is you are looking for and want to learn. Some things are restricted due to copyright claims, such as Star Wars music; but a whole heap of music is there to be had.

MuseScore Pro costs $50/year and gets you unlimited access to user-created scores. Pro+ is $70 per year and adds access to official scores licensed from their creators.

MusreScore.com

Fiddlerman Hybrid Carbon Fiber Wood Violin Bow

An Upgraded Bow

A lot of attention is always paid to the violin or viola. However, the bow is just as important to the instrument and a lot cheaper to upgrade. If your student is playing on a basic beginner bow, then even just a $100 upgrade can do a lot to help them play better and learn faster. A bow of at least $200 to $300 quality is a must for advancing beginners.

These are a worthy consideration if you haven’t invested in one yet, especially for students who are on full size violins. I have no specific recommendations, here. Bows of similar price tend to have similar levels of benefit to the player. DON’T buy from Amazon. Use Shar or Fiddler Shop.

Fiddler Shop | Shar Music

 

Hidersine Rosin for violin and viola, light

Stocking Stuffers

Good rosin, stand clips and pencil holders, better strings….

There are a lot of cheap and easy ways to make life easier and more enjoyable for a student violinist. Here a few links to some of them.

Good Rosin

Magic Rosin

Music Clip

Pencil Guard

 

Violin on wall

Private Lessons

I’m borrowing this one from the Meadowlark Violin article I listed at the start of the post. If you don’t already have your student in private lessons, it is heavily worth considering investing in them, especially if they like the instrument. School orchestras are great, but every student needs one-on-one help to really learn this instrument well. It is the only way to really unlock your student’s full potential and grow at their best pace.

 

violin and bridge top view

A New Violin or Viola

When it is time, it is time. A new violin or viola is, of course, the top of the line for gifts to give a violin or viola student. The main recommendation here is to spend well on the instrument.

$500 is a good starting point for a beginner outfit.

$700-$900 is a good range for a nice beginner violin that can serve into early intermediate stages of play.

$1,200 to $1,800 (instrument only) is a good range for dedicated players who already have good tone on a cheaper instrument. At this level, I recommend visiting a local violin shop, not a chain retailer and not online. Bring your student’s private teacher along if they have one.

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