Finding an affordable violin or viola for your beginning student can seem like a confusing process!  The good news is, it doesn't have to be. Feel free to use these guidelines to find an affordable student violin or viola that will work well for your young musician. Please don't hesitate to contact me if I can answer any more questions on finding a student instrument.


1. I strongly recommend not purchasing a student violin from Amazon, Ebay, Target, etc. Many of these instruments will not work well, will cost a great deal of money in repairs and will create frustration for your young musician. Use a great deal of caution when obtaining a violin online. I would also caution against instruments that come in "fun" colors such as pink, blue, etc. They may look pretty but are typically not well made and will result in frustration and costly repairs.


2. Violins and Violas come in different sizes! It is important for young musicians to have a correctly sized instrument to prevent any injury or muscle strain as well as to promote proper technique. I can size your child at their first lesson, or you can use the guide below to size your child.


3. For beginners, renting an instrument is a great way to start out! This way, you can get a correctly sized instrument and easily switch to a larger size as your child grows. You do not have to purchase an expensive violin or viola to get started with lessons. Many rental programs also allow you to put some of the cost of renting towards purchasing an instrument.


4. Where to find a rental instrument- many of the local music stores in town can provide you with a rental instrument. They should also be able to size your child before you rent. I also recommend the following online companies: Shar Music and Southwest Strings. I do not recommend any other online companies or websites for obtaining a violin.

Instrument Sizing Guide

I am happy to size your student at their first lesson. However, if you prefer to measure yourself, please use the following guidelines to find what sized instrument your child needs.


If you have an instrument, place the instrument on the child's left shoulder under the chin, have the child reach their left arm around the scroll of the instrument. If they can comfortably reach most of their fingers around the scroll, the instrument is the correct size.


With the student’s left arm fully extended and palm up, place a measuring tape or stick under the chin and record the measurement at the center of the palm. You can also find a very precise measuring chart here.



Arm Length
Violin Size
Viola Size
14"-15"
1/16

15"-17"
1/10

17"-18"
1/8

18"-20"
1/4
11"
20"-22"
1/2
12"
22"-23"
3/4
13"
23-25"
4/4
14"
25"-26"
4/4
15"
25"-26"
4/4
15.5"






Always choose the smaller size if the student is in between sizes. An instrument that is too large will limit a student's progress and could potentially create muscle strain and injury.