Finding the best violin teacherPosted: May 2, 2011
When selecting a violin teacher, remember that teaching styles and personalities differ. Some teachers may work better one-on-one or in a group setting (group lessons are usually cheaper, anyway). An ideal teacher is one who will not only provide you with a solid foundation of violin technique, but also one who will teach you in a manner that motivates and inspires you as a musician.
Suggestions to find and select a violin teacher:
- Seek violin teacher recommendations from friends, other violin students, music stores and local school music teachers
- Attend school and community concerts and local recitals. Watch for good players and ask them with whom they study with.
- If you have a university or college nearby, contact the music department. Many music professors run private studios or can give you a recommendation for good teachers in your area.If the professors are unavailble, ask if any of their advanced pupils give lessons. I was instructed by an Arizona State University graduate student about 10 years ago and I would say it was on-par to being taught by a claimed “professional” music professor.
- Local chapters of professional musician unions often maintain a list of musicians you could contact for referrals. If your community has a professional symphony or chamber group, attend their concerts and ask the performers if they or their students have a teaching studio with room for new students.
- Contact local music teacher organizations for referrals (e.g. in the United States, members of the Music Teachers National Association or the American String Teachers Association).
- Numerous online music teacher directories are available on the Internet. For example, if you’re interested in a particular teaching approach such as the Suzuki method, use Internet search terms such as Suzuki Association of the Americas or International Suzuki Association.
- Ask prospective violin teachers for references, and evaluate their credentials. Who did they study with? Do they ever perform on the violin? How long have they been teaching? What level or age of students do they generally teach? What approach to the study of the violin do they take? (e.g. is there a particular violin methodology they favor?) What are their expectations of students? (Reflect on your personal time commitment to learning and practicing will be. Some music teachers demand hours of practice time from their pupils.)
Once lessons begin, it’s important to ask yourself: are you motivated by this violin teacher? Are violin lessons a positive experience, or are they discouraging? Effective teaching is very personal experience, so if you feel uncomfortable with the personality and teaching style of the teacher, it is perfectly acceptable to find another violin teacher!