Archive for January, 2016

First Five Steps to Violin Lessons

Sunday, January 24th, 2016

Would you love for your son or daughter to learn to play the violin? Where do you begin? How do you find a teacher? What questions should you ask when you are interviewing teachers? How much expense, equipment, and time commitment is needed to begin this life changing experience? So many questions! My hope is that you can find some of the answers in this blog post.

1. When is the right time for my child to begin violin lessons?

As soon as they show interest is a fabulous time! Catch them while they are excited and use that energy to get them through the baby steps.

Maybe this is all your idea. Perhaps you think playing the violin would be a great experience for your child but they haven’t shown any interest yet. You need to decide how young you want to expose them to lessons. Expose them to music (take them to an orchestra concert or a local studio recital) to encourage their interest. Every teacher has a different age recommendation. Some start as young as 3 years! Personally, I recommend somewhere between ages 5 – 7 years old, depending on maturity.

2. Does the teacher or the violin come first?

Please find the teacher first!! You can thank me now fellow teachers. 🙂 Every teacher has experience and recommendations to offer you in regards to this big decision of finding the right instrument. Buying a violin is a tricky task! There are some pretty crummy violins for sale on websites like ebay, if you don’t know what to look for, you could end up just having to buy a second violin once you start lessons.

As for expense, you will be looking at about $200 for a full violin setup.

3. Where do I look for a teacher?

Ask the music teacher at your local school for a recommendation. Drop in at your local music storm, they usually keep a master list of all the private teachers in the area. You can find teachers in your area by searching websites like, Learning, or the Oregon Music Teacher’s Association. Do you know a musician? Ask them if they have a collegue they would recommend.

4. What am I looking for in a teacher?

It is so important to find a teacher that can connect with your child on many levels. Most teachers will offer a free trial lesson or an interview so you can get to know each other a bit, interact, and see if you will be a good fit for each other. Not only will your child learn music from this person, they will learn life from them! A teacher is a role model, what kind of role model do you want your child to have?

You want a confident teacher who can think on their feet. Teachers often have to come up with different perspectives on a point in order to teach a principle.

Have you heard the teacher perform? Ask them to play a sample for you. Not only will this show you their proficiency, it will also allow your child to admire their ability and generate a desire for more.

Is this something the teacher does full time? Are they spreading themselves too thin by having too many students? Are they passionate about their music? You may ask if they are a member of any music teacher associations such as the Music Teacher’s National Association or the National Federation of Music Clubs.

5. Preparing for the first lesson.

Every teacher should give you a brief description of their expectations for the first lesson. For beginners, I recommend that you sit in on the lessons and take notes! There are so many little details to take note of in regards to holding the violin correctly. The teacher may jot some notes down as an assignment, but they are busy teaching! They can’t possibly write it all down. You need to know how to help your child practice at home.

Final Thoughts

Learning a musical instrument requires commitment. Teacher, parent, and child all need to be commited if this is going to be a success. I ask for a 6 month commitment from new students. This allows us time to cover the basis of the instrument and be able to get a good sense of enjoyment, or lack thereof, so that the student/parent can make an educated decision in regard to continueing lessons.

In the beginning, 20 to 30 minutes of daily practice will likely be expected. If your child is old enough to practice on their own, great! (But they might need a friendly reminder from time to time.) If not, you will need to be available to practice with them. You might just consider learning right alongside them!

I believe that playing an instrument can be a life changing experience! Everyone should have a chance to learn music at a young age, it forms us, empowers us, and gives us more life.