If your child is beginning violin these books and cds may well be part of the curicculum. I'm a bit older and decided to teach myself violin after dabbling a little with fiddle music. The first 3 books of this series really give you a great foundation and contain some great pieces to play. They are challanging enough but it's at book 4 that things start to get more intermediate with the Bach double concerto for instance. Don't get me wrong though because in the first 3 books there is really a wealth of great materialincluding several Bach pieces, Dvorak's Humoresque and many more familiar works. Of course you will definetly want and need to get the cds that accompany each book and as well as each piece with the piano accompanyment they also contain the accompanyment alone so you can practice the violin along with just that. I see amazon is charging list price as does almost everyone else, music stores etc. Shar Music, which deals only in violins, violas, cellos and related accessories, has these books and cds for 30% off all the time so you may want to get one of their catalogs. Another great book and cd combo for violin is Solos for Young Violinists, although there's nothing childish about the selection and it is indeed suitable for any age. This is a 6 volume book/cd series and it gets pretty tough even at the end of volume 1, but it's very good. It's by Barbara Barber and also available through Shar. As for teaching yourself; violin teachers will scoff at this but then again they're the ones getting $30.00 for a half hour lesson. Of course there is some wisdom in having a teacher and with violin there is more than a little technique to learn as well as proper form, holding the bow correctly, bowing itself etc., but ultimatly the goal of any teacher should be to teach you to teach yourself. If you know anyone that plays the fiddle, either classically or folk, or both, playing with them can teach you as much as formal lessons. I wouldn't advise against lessons but in a way it's a bit like little league; it might be more fun and less presure to go free form- look and see if there are fiddle associations in your area or county as these often hold monthly jams at a local school where fiddlers just get together to play and jam and you can learn alot by being exposed to this. Also there's alot of book/cd combos that are great learning tools not to mention videos or dvd teaching methods for violin and fiddle styles.