The greatest joy of teaching is seeing the musical progress of my students from week to week. Therefore, I adopt strategies to facilitate their growth and find new ways to promote musical progress. I also like the challenge of learning about my various students because they all grasp music differently.
Why My Suzuki Violin Lessons?
Continued Musical Support Throughout the Week
I offer my violin students support during the week if you cannot understand why the music is not progressing. This is best accomplished by emailing a video of the piece you are playing. You may contact me by email if you need help troubleshooting why your young violinist is not progressing with a particular piece of music. 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.
Experience has taught me that the more proficient a student becomes in reading music, the more self reliant he or she becomes in learning repertoire. This leads to learning pieces faster and placing higher in orchestra auditions as mentioned here. When a student becomes more self sufficient in learning music, they are inspired to practice more and become a better musician. Standard violin etude books such as Wohlfahrt, Kreutzer and Mazas can facilitate note reading. Therefore, I encourage my students to email me videos of them playing the above various etudes. This, in turn, frees up more lesson time to focus on their pieces.
Suzuki Violin Recordings & Piano Accompaniments
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.
Become A Well-Rounded Musician
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.
Minnesota Youth Symphones (MYS) and Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies (GTCYS) requires that students sight read at their auditions. To support my student’s sight reading skills, I encourage them to email me videos of various violin etudes throughout the week so they can practice their sight reading skills and receive feedback from me during the week.
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.
Proper Playing Position
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.
Violin Rental & Repairs
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.
Piano Accompaniments & Duets
Helping Parents Help Their Children
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.