How Do I Choose the Best Cello for Children?

String instruments, such as the cello or violin, are popular among children because they are easier to learn. Choosing a cello for a child can be difficult, and there are several factors to consider. Size is one of the most important factors to consider when buying a cello for a child, as a full-sized instrument is far too large for most children to comfortably play. A cello teacher or experienced professional can help, and it’s a good idea to have the child sit and try the instrument on for size if possible. Another important factor to consider is the cello’s quality, as it must be well-made in order to produce a pleasing sound. Cellos are expensive, so choosing between buying and renting is usually the best option, especially for young children who will need larger instruments as they grow.

Children as young as three years old can learn to play the cello or another stringed instrument because these instruments have fewer restrictions on a child’s ability. As with many other instrument families, such as woodwinds, there is no need to wait until the child is older and has more mature lungs or larger hands. Smaller versions of stringed instruments, such as the cello, are available to accommodate a child’s smaller body. Cellos, for example, come in 1/16, 1/8, 1/4, 1/2, and 3/4 sizes, as well as full-sized (4/4) instruments. The smaller the instrument, the younger the child, and teenagers and adults can play a full-sized cello.

When buying a cello for a child, it’s a good idea to first measure the child who will be playing the instrument and then consult an expert about the appropriate size based on the child’s height. As part of the selection process, the child should be brought along to the instrument store to try out the cello. He or she should be seated and able to reach an interval of at least two half-steps, or a minor third, between the first and fourth fingers with his or her left hand. The cello’s top should rest against the child’s chest, and the scroll and neck should be to the left of the child’s head. A cello teacher or other qualified expert can assist you in determining the appropriate size.

Another factor to consider when buying a cello for a child is the quality of the instrument in order to get the best sound. Lower-quality instruments produce less pleasing sounds, so pay attention to the materials used in their construction. Handmade, solidly built, and made of genuine hardwoods like maple or spruce, the instrument should be a joy to play. The soundpost should be properly fitted and positioned, and the strings should be the correct size and placed across the bridge.

Finally, decide whether you want to buy or rent the instrument. While larger families may opt for a new instrument in the hopes of passing it down through the generations, smaller families may opt for a used instrument if money is an issue. Rentals are often the most cost-effective option for children’s instruments, as they will inevitably require larger instruments as they grow. Many music stores have excellent rental programs, often providing discounts to specific schools or students who take lessons at the store.