What to Expect ...
Every music teacher is very different, so here's a little guide about what to expect when taking Kaleidoscopes lessons with me. These guidelines will help your child to attain excellent results and experience joyful and vibrant music-making.
If your child is between 4-10 years old, you will be attending lessons and practicing daily with them at home. They will need your help in establishing good posture, learning to build and maintain focus for 30-45 minutes of practice, and scaffolding their learning in a way that effectively builds their skill. 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.
In order to support you in your role as practice parent, 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 huge leg up on the material. Most importantly, you will feel more confident and knowledgeable when it's time for you to lead home practice.
You are welcome to bring your own violin if you have one; otherwise I will provide a violin for you to use during our meeting.
You will need to rent a full-sized violin (a.k.a. 4/4 size) for 1 month. I will provide recommendations for reputable local rental companies.
During these two weeks before your child begins lessons, you will want to begin establishing a practice routine each evening. Some of your family’s usual routines will need to be adjusted to accommodate this additional evening activity. I suggest easing into this practice routine over the next two weeks by doing a violin-related activity each day at the appointed practice time — for example, watching a video of a violin performance. This will help give you a sense whether the practice time you’ve chosen will work well.
Creating a Practice Area
You will also want to set 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 from other family members. Ideally the area should include just one chair (for you), a high-quality music stand (here, or for taller families here), a keyboard or piano, and some pencils. Eliminating cushy furniture from the practice area will help your child build the discipline of standing throughout the practice.
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.
During your child’s first lessons, I will measure your child for the appropriate size violin and recommend a local rental company. You can pick up the violin after this measurement is taken. To avoid bad habits being formed, please have your child refrain from playing the violin before our first lesson.
Your Role in the Lesson
One parent (who will take on the official role of being the Violin Parent Extraordinaire, or VPE) will attend their child’s lesson and take notes, which will guide your home practice. My studio has a “no cell phone rule” to ensure that the VPE will not miss key points of the lesson. A good practice parent will be writing notes continuously throughout the lesson. Please leave your cell phone in another room so that it does not present a distraction.
Your child and their violin study will enjoy a tremendous benefit when the space of the lesson is reserved for its dedicated purpose. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation in respecting this policy