I offer support during the week if you cannot understand why your violin or piece isn’t sounding right. This is best accomplished by emailing a video of the piece you are playing. Contacting me by email is another good way to trouble shoot why the music is not progressing. I will offer alternative practice techniques to fix problems. Fixing rough spots or improper technique before it becomes ingrained during the week enables faster student advancement.
It’s important to begin listening to the Suzuki pieces as soon as students begin studying the violin. Therefore, I have included Suzuki Recordings and piano accompaniments for violin so students can feel more at ease knowing what the accompaniments sound like before they rehearse with a pianist for the first time. Knowing the piano part also helps the violinist know how their part fits in particular sections of the piece. For example, it is important to know if the violin is playing the melody or a secondary melody in certain parts of the piece. I will be adding to the Suzuki recordings and piano accompaniments in the future.
To become a well-rounded musician, it is important to read notes and play by ear. Therefore, I begin teaching note reading when a student is ready. If a student wants to play in orchestra, note reading as well as basic music theory is very important. I incorporate some theory into every lesson which makes playing new music easier.
I find that a student advances more quickly when they have a good ear which means they are able to tell if a note is too high (sharp) or too low (flat). Playing by ear helps develop pitch sensitivity. Playing by ear is very helpful as a student isn’t limited to playing a particular genre of music. If a student discovers they like jazz and/or fiddle music, they can play this music without the aid of sheet music. Sometimes this music isn’t available in sheet music form.
I strive to make sure my students have the optimal chinrest and shoulder rest set-up so they are comfortable. This is very important to me because of personal experience. Until a few years ago, I struggled with finding enough support when playing because of my longer neck. Luckily with newer products that are continually becoming available, it is more possible to play the violin with ease and proper support.
I asked my father, who has repaired violins for many years, to start renting violins to my students because I wanted them to have properly set up violins. I have seen students struggle with violin rentals from many shops and often these students quit. When students enjoy playing the violin, they are more likely to continue taking lessons. If a minor repair is needed, I bring it to my father to be fixed and can meet in a mutually convenient location the next day so the student can continue practicing. For more information on rentals and repairs, please see Rentals and Repairs.
I believe that practicing effectively is just as important as practicing. After trying various approaches, I give specific practice suggestions to parents on how to coach their child.
Part of playing music is playing with others whether it be another violin or an entirely different instrument. I occasionally play violin duets with my students so they gain experience hearing a part different from their own. In addition to the violin, I enjoy playing piano and am currently taking lessons for the basic Suzuki pieces and accompany beginning violin students a few times in lessons before their first recital. It is important that they hear how the violin and piano parts fit together. Accompanying beginning students in lessons makes them more at ease when playing with a professional pianist for the first time.