I am writting a screenplay about a 7 years child-prodigy violinist who is given a rare, incredibly sounding violin. I am having a difficult time finding such a violin that a small child would be able to play made by a maker that the audience whould recognize. However, would it be impossible for a 7 or 8 yr. old to play on a full size? Richard
Thank you for your question. Best of luck with your screenplay. No, a seven year old would absolutely not be playing a 4/4 (full-size) violin. No reputable teacher would allow it, since it would be physically bad for the child, and terrible for his or her learning of the instrument. A seven year old would typically be in a 1/4 size instrument. At eight, they might be getting ready for a 1/2. Depends on the child, of course. And, you're correct that it would be very difficult to fine one of quality to match the abilities of a true prodigy. In a real life situation, given infinite cash resources, that child's parents would probably commission an instrument from a reputable maker. (Though, even then, they'd have to think ahead, since a commissioned instrument could take several years.) But, keep in mind that this is an instrument that the child is going to use for a year, perhaps two. Most parents, no matter how skilled their children, are not willing to put $20,000 or more into an instrument that is only temporary.
Parents who really feel that their children are talented, and who have the money, usually find an old German, Czechoslovakian, etc. instrument in the $1,500 - $3,000 range that has been lovingly restored by a reputable luthier. Or, they might go with one of the better new instruments that are available on the market from Companies like Eastman Strings, in smaller sizes. - Rudoulf Doetsch (model 701) comes to mind ($1,899.95 in most shops).
For a truly authentic account, I'd recommend calling a few high-end shops - old world shops in New York or elsewhere - run by master luthiers, to see what they have to say.
P.S. I should certainly have mentioned the violins from the Hiroshi Kono lutherie, near Tokyo. I have a photo from the U.S. importer showing a professor with sixteen young adults. The caption reads, "Every person in this picture owns a Hiroshi Kono violin, including the professor, Mike Ferril, and Josh Bell. I only carry the 4/4 and 3/4 sizes in my shop, except by special order, but I'm fairly sure Kono violins are available in smaller sizes. And, these violins are absolutely superb, considering the modest cost. Our price is $2,500.00. This would be an excellent choice for the hypothetical prodigy that you have in mind.