1.    I would like my young child to begin music lessons. What is the appropriate age to enrol a child and how do I know if my child has musical potential?

If you believe that your child has a musical nature, Young European Strings School of Music can help to develop your child's musical potential. Children of preschool age often show musical tendencies in their reaction to music - tapping of the feet, dancing, singing, conducting. These reactions are encouraging signs that your child has a musical nature.

We offer a free aptitude test to young children from the age of 3, which, through a few minutes of child-oriented games, can establish your child's musical promise. We can then advise you on how best to proceed with your child's further musical development.
During this free assessment, the parent is always present and the child-friendly approach is suitable even for the very reserved or shy preschool-aged child. Any questions you may have will be answered without any obligation to start lessons, unless both you and your child wish to proceed further.

Admission to the school is available through the whole school year. To book a free assessment, please fill out the contact form here. Alternatively, email yes@youngeuropeanstrings.com or phone +353 (0)1 490 5263.

2.    What are the benefits for children of learning a musical instrument?

Learning to play a musical instrument from a young age helps to improve a child's concentration and memory skills. The ability to play a musical instrument requires self-discipline which is beneficial to a child's future development. Children learn how to multi-task, as they are accustomed to both listening and playing during their music studies. Furthermore, group classes and ensemble activities have social benefits for children.

The philosophy at Young European Strings School of Music is that a child's musical education should begin as early as possible to nurture musical potential and learning skills. At preschool age, the child's mind is like a sponge and children have a good natural pitch for singing which fades as they get older.

3.    Which string instruments are taught at Young European Strings School of Music?

At YES, we provide professional instruction for young students learning the violin, viola, cello and double bass.

4.    Which string instrument will best suit my child's musical talents?

The type of string instrument best suited to an individual student will depend on a number of factors including the age of the child. During the free assessment at YES, we give the prospective student the opportunity to listen to and engage with instruments compatible with his or her age, so that the choice of instrument is decided by the child.

YES provides professional instruction for children learning the violin from the age of 3 years and upwards. Preschool students at YES always begin their music education with the violin because the instrument is lighter and comes in a greater variety of sizes than other string instruments. For e.g. the smallest size violin (1/16) can be suitable for children as young as 2.5 years old, depending on the child's size.

YES provides professional instruction for children learning the viola from the age of 8 years and upwards. The viola is bigger and heavier than the violin and the smallest size viola does not accommodate children of younger ages. A student may graduate to playing the viola because he or she has a greater affinity for the deeper and warmer sound produced by the instrument or because he or she feels more natural playing the instrument.

YES provides professional instruction for children learning the cello from the age of 7 years and sometimes even younger, depending on the child's size. Children will progress to the cello from the violin because they find it more comfortable to sit rather than stand when playing an instrument or because they prefer the deep, rich tone the cello produces.

YES provides professional instruction for children learning the double bass from the age of 9 years and upwards. The double bass is the largest and lowest pitched of the bowed string instruments. The student requires upper body strength to play on the double bass, which also benefits children who become interested in playing an instrument at an older age.

5.    What size instrument should I buy?

After the first lesson, the instructor will advise the parent on which size instrument to purchase for their child.

6.    What kind of commitment is involved once I enrol my child in lessons?

At the beginning, young children will only be required to attend one 30-minute instrumental lesson per week and one 30-minute group music appreciation class. YES recommends 10-20 minutes of daily practice for beginners.

7.    I've never had music lessons. How will I be able to help my child's musical progress?

During individual classes for young beginners the parent or guardian will remain with the student for the duration of the lesson. In this way, the parent or guardian learns the necessary steps for guiding the child's daily practice. YES also recommends that parents buy 'Michaela's Music House: The Magic of the Violin', a violin tutor written for young children and their parents by the violinist Gwendolyn Masin.

8.    What teaching method is preferred at the YES School of Music?

We employ a teaching method called the Kodály Approach to develop the musical potential of young children. The use of words as a means of describing and conceptualising spatial movements can often be more of a hindrance than a help in teaching a young child a musical instrument. Our child-centred approach stimulates the curiosity and imagination of young children through the singing voice and game playing, fostering in young students not only the ability to play an instrument but learning skills in general. Through the Kodály Approach, the students' overall understanding of music becomes as natural to them as the speaking of a mother tongue. You can learn more about the Kodály Approach here.

9.    My daughter is in secondary school and wants to learn how to play the violin. Is it too late for her to start learning a musical instrument?

The YES School of Music specialises in developing the musical potential of children from a young age. For an older child or teenager who has never played a musical instrument, it would be necessary to undergo a free assessment at YES to determine the potential for musical growth. The instructor would then advise on how best to proceed with your child's further musical development.

10.    My son has been playing the violin since he was a young child but he has recently lost interest. He is 10 years old. Should I encourage him to take up a new instrument?

There are many reasons why a child loses interest in playing a musical instrument. He may feel that the violin is not the instrument for him and would like to progress to another string instrument. It will often depend on both the child's temperament and musical disposition. He may prefer the sound of an instrument that is played at a lower pitch; for example, the cello or double bass. If he is a very active child, the cello may suit him best as it absorbs a child's energy. The double bass is a great instrument for sociable children who enjoy ensemble playing. As a key component in the rhythm sections of a number of musical genres, including jazz, blues and folk music, the variety of musical playing afforded to the double bass may have a greater appeal for him.

Alternatively, he may feel frustrated by the lack of progress in his violin playing and may benefit from a new approach. The YES School of Music can arrange for a free assessment to determine if a new approach or progressing to a new instrument would best suit his musical development.

At YES, we do encourage children not to abandon playing a musical instrument as the self-discipline that comes with musical training is important for a child's general development.

11.    At what age should a child decide whether playing a musical instrument is a career option?

The YES school of music specialises in the early development and training of young professional musicians. Of course, children who start the violin at preschool age do so because they are musically inclined and are not thinking of their career options! We advocate for ensemble playing from a young age to further a child's musical development. Young children start their ensemble playing at YES by joining the Junior Orchestra. After 5 or more years of training, students will graduate to the Intermediate Orchestra. Advanced students will be invited to join the Young European Strings Chamber Orchestra (YESCO). A student's progression will often determine whether a career as a professional musician is a viable option.

Learning a musical instrument is beneficial to a child's future life skills, regardless of the career option that he or she subsequently chooses. Concentration, memory skills, self-discipline, the ability to multi-task and the socialisation of children, which comes with engaging in ensemble activities are just some of the benefits of a musical education.