So your child wants to learn to play the violin?
Every music teacher is very different, so here's a an introduction and what to expect when taking Kaleidoscopes lessons at my studio. This information will help you and your child to attain excellent results and enjoy a wonderful musical experience.
If your child is between 4-10 years old, you will be attending lessons and practicing
together daily. You will take on the official role of Violin Parent Extraordinaire, or VPE.
That's because what you will be doing is nothing short of extraordinary. You are giving the
gift of music! As VPE, you will attend their child’s lesson and take notes to guide your home
Your child will need your help in establishing a great practice routine, all the while learning
and establishing good posture and technique. They'll learn to build and maintain focus for 30-
45 minutes of practice and build their violin skills. As middle schoolers, they will continue to
benefit from some gentle parental oversight. Once they have developed the necessary
organization, self-awareness, and discipline, they will be able to practice fully independently.
Even if you don't have any musical experience, you can be a
wonderful Violin Parent Extraordinaire.
I will give you all the tools to succeed, which includes getting a head start in parent-only
lessons. I will meet with you individually for 4 one-hour violin lessons (2 of which will start before your child even begins). These parent-only lessons are crucial as they give you a chance to gain full understanding of the material before being responsible for helping your child master it. You will feel more confident and knowledgeable when it's time for you to lead home practice. Your child will benefit from attending the parent-only lessons, but not participate just yet. They'll get to know the studio space, learn lesson behavior by watching you model their role, all the while quietly entertaining themselves with coloring books, reading, etc.
You are welcome to bring your own violin if you have one; otherwise I will provide a violin for you to use during our parent-only lessons. The cost of rental will be billed with your parent-only lessons. I can also provide recommendations for reputable local rental companies, so you have plenty of options.
During these two weeks before you begin lessons, put your best foot forward by establishing a practice routine each afternoon or evening. Some of your family’s usual routines will need to be adjusted to accommodate this additional activity. I suggest easing into this practice routine by doing a violin-related activity each day at the appointed practice time — for example, watching a YouTube video of a violinist performing. This will help give you a sense whether the practice time you’ve chosen will work well.
A good VPE will be writing notes continuously throughout the lesson. My studio has a "no cell phone rule” to ensure that the you will not miss key points of the lesson. Please get into the habit of stowing your phone away during lessons and home practice.Your child will enjoy a tremendous benefit when the learning space is reserved for its dedicated purpose.
Creating a Home Music Space
First, start by setting aside a specific area in your home which is reserved for music practice. Having a dedicated practice area helps your child (and you) focus more fully on your practice time, without other tasks and distractions pulling on your attention. The practice area should be relatively quiet and free from distraction (especially from other family members and pets.)
Ideally the area should include just one chair (for you), a high-quality music stand (here, or for taller families here), a piano (or a keyboard), a CD player or bluetooth speaker, and some pencils. Lastly, have a basket store your miscellaneous music items (Ex: Rosin, nail clippers) and a bookshelf for your many music books and sheet music. I highly recommend stocking some seasonal stickers to celebrate achievements.
Fun tip: I like to decorate the space with music-related artwork and a white board to help keep track of tasks. After our recitals, I give each child a Bravo, which includes compliments from each of the students in my studio. You can frame your Bravo to display too!
Getting a Violin
Like Suzuki Method, your child will not need a violin to start lessons. We will focus on the Violin Movement building blocks, which are fun exercises that build body awareness and the fine motor skills needed to play the violin well. In fact, we will start by learning on the piano (or keyboard), so your child will be making music from day one.
During your child’s first lessons, I will measure your child for the appropriate size violin and recommend either a local rental company or store. You can pick up the violin once this measurement has been taken. To avoid bad habits being formed, please have your child refrain from playing the violin before our first lesson. Earning the violin is an achievement and a moment to celebrate, so I will introduce them to their violin in the lesson.