Policies and Expectations for Students and Their Parents
Learning to play a musical instrument is a serious educational endeavor. To succeed requires a commitment to attend weekly lessons faithfully, practise daily, listen to assigned recordings and maintain a healthy attitude. If you find that you are too busy to keep up, then you'll need to re-evaluate your priorities.
When you initially sign up for lessons, please do so with the intent to continue for at least a year. It may take several months to work up to a level of playing where you are having fun and have something to be proud of. If you haven't made a personal commitment to stick with it for at least a year, then the temptation to quit after just a few months will be very great. If you quit just before breaking through your personal barrier, you will truly miss out on an opportunity of a lifetime.
I teach children as well as adults. Many children are able to begin violin lessons as early as three years old, but each child must be evaluated individually.
The main criterion is that she (or he) must have an attention span of at least five minutes. One way to test this is to get a coloring book and crayons, sit with your child, and tell her that the two of you are going to color a picture together. Does she stay focused on the task for at least five minutes? Or do you have to bring her attention back from numerous distractions? Do this two or three times a day for a couple of days to see if her attention span is consistent.
It's also important that your child is emotionally ready to take instruction from someone other than her parent. Sometimes we don't know the answer to this until we start lessons!
As for adults, there is no maximum age. Just be sure you can budget at least half an hour per day for practicing, and be ready to swallow your pride. The violin is not easy to learn. During your early years it is very humbling to see young children playing better than you!
For students 15 and younger, a parent is expected to attend each lesson. I give the student one lesson per week. It is the parent's job to provide his or her child with a lesson on the other six days of the week. To do this effectively, the parent needs to take careful notes during the lesson regarding which pieces to review, new techniques to work on, etc. If you ever feel confused or unclear on a topic, be sure to ask!
If your child is 6 years of age or younger, I will expect you, the parent, to obtain a violin for yourself and to also take lessons. Your child's attention will not span the entire half hour lesson. I'll start each lesson with your child, then when his or her attention wanders, I will teach you for the remaining time. You will learn the same pieces as your child, and this will greatly help you to teach your child during the week.
In addition to weekly individual lessons, group lessons are scheduled once per month. Group lessons are an integral part of the education process, refining techniques, building ensemble skills and improving music reading and theory. They are fun, and you might meet a new friend or two.
Recitals, individual and group performances for an audience, are an important part of a musical education. They build confidence and are an opportunity to celebrate progress. Our recitals are planned to be fun events to include friends and family, and we share refreshments following the performance. Please do your best to participate.