Frequently Asked Questions Prior to Taking Lessons
How long are the lessons?
Lessons can be 30 min., 45min., or 1 hour. For young students (ages 5-6) just beginning, I like to start with two 30 min. lessons a week. For students 7 and up, I recommend a 45 minute or 1 hour lesson. Advanced students should consider two, 1 hour lessons a week. This provides ample time for building strong technique and repertoire.
Can the lessons be in my, the student’s home?
No. This is not an option I offer. By teaching in one place, it not only allows more students the opportunity to take lessons, but I also have all of the materials, ie. Technique books, pieces, rosin, cleaners, and other tools that might be needed, at my disposal that might be needed in the lessons at any given moment.
Are the lessons private, semi-private or classroom style?
At this time I am only offering private lessons. In private lessons, students get personal attention that encourages them to do their best.
How long will it take to learn the violin / my first song?
Most students can learn a simple song by rote in about thirty minutes. They can generally learn to read music beginning in the third month.
Will I / my child have performance opportunities?
Many of my students have participated in the various programs below. Performance opportunities are available from a variety of sources: (These activities would be appropriate for students that have studied privately for a minimum of 1-3 years depending on the age and progression.)
School Orchestra (Competitions within the school district)
Florida All State
Solo & Ensemble
Adults or advanced teens can participate in local community orchestras.
Strings Con Brio
One can volunteer for local hospitals, retirement homes, schools, libraries, etc. Music can have a magical effect on people.
Home (appropriate for any playing level)
A performance after dinner is always welcome. When a child performs a couple of short pieces and is greeted with great enthusiasm and encouragement, it can work wonders not only for their playing but for their self-esteem.
More Frequently Asked Questions
What's a good age to start? Is it too late to begin or continue?
Children: I recommend that students begin at age 5. I have taught students as young as 3 and I am always willing to try a few lessons to see how it goes. If a child is talented and/or mature, it is often possible to begin early. I try to be creative and use different styles to connect with the student on their level. If students are not yet ready for private lessons at age 3, children’s music groups are a wonderful addition and prepare them well for learning instruments soon.
Adults: It is never too late to begin, or continue what was started in the past. There is much cognitive information and discipline that is required to play the violin and adults usually have the advantage in these areas.
Is reading music important?
In my experience, I have come across teaching methods that teach beginners by rote or finger number and not note reading and other music theory. By using a rote or finger number method, students may play a piece earlier in their training, but in the long term tend to fall behind when they have to relearn how to read musical notation. Students who are taught to read music at the onset of their instruction, acquire the correct mental processes that allows them to become proficient at it and as a result, advance in their studies more quickly.
Here’s an example. Imagine that you teach a child to recite a rhyme from memory while still holding the text in front of them. If you then present that same child with the same text but place it another book that looked unfamiliar and asked the student to recite it, he/she would not be able to read the text. This is because they cannot read; it is an illusion. It appears that they are reading the text because it is in front of them; however, to learn the rhyme, they were listening to your words and reciting them back. The same applies to reading music. It is well worth the time investment at the beginning of any student’s musical development to teach the reading of musical notation.
As a result rote & finger number methods, I have witnessed students frustrated that they are unable to read the music, having to stop and try to figure out the notes, or ask me in their lesson which prevents them from learning music on their own easily. In my experience, students that have started by rote or finger number, have less proficiency in sight reading (playing through a piece for the first time), even in later years, as students that were started with the traditional method that I teach.
I believe a strong foundation in music is key and can be applied to any instrument and other areas of life. Reading music frees the student to play any music they wish. It creates a sense of independence that inspires confidence and success.
What is a School of Violin-Playing?
A School of violin playing is a combination of two elements; the method (technique) of how one plays the instrument and the overall philosophy of making music. The secret to a good school is consistency; using the same method (technique) every time. When a musical situation arises, one is then able to focus on the style/interpretation of the music and not be hindered by insecure or indecisive technique.
Violin is an ancient art form and much can be learned from the past.