Violin FAQs

Have questions about violin lessons?

View our Frequently Asked Questions below to learn more about the violin lessons I offer to students in the Greater Twin Cities Metro, including St. Paul, Falcon Heights, Crystal, and North Oaks.

If your question is not answered here, please contact me and I will be happy to answer any additional questions


I primarily use the Suzuki method as it has been a well-established, sequential and proven method for studying the violin. Suzuki violin books as well as supplemental technique books are used.

Yes.  Since I began teaching violin lessons in 2004, I have noticed substantial differences between the Suzuki method and the traditional method.  The main difference that sets the Suzuki method apart from the traditional method is parental involvement.  When parents are present during lessons, they can take notes on technique as it is introduced.  These notes can then be reinforced in the home with gentle reminders, which allows for the technique to develop into the child’s muscle memory.  Ingraining good technique into muscle memory will help the child advance quickly, which leads to improved motivation.  The traditional method relies on the child to do everything that was discussed in the lesson during his/her home practice.  While this may work for an adult, it can quickly become overwhelming for the younger student.  It is important to have a practice helper (the parent) so that more of the lesson is recalled.

No.  While it is helpful for parents to learn the violin along with their children, I do not require this.  Some teachers do require that parents learn to play so parents gain an understanding of what may be more challenging aspects on the violin.  However, if a parent wants to learn to play, I do give private violin lessons for adults.


Yes.  Sometimes children like to figure things out on their own.  As a result, the strategy for helping them is different. Rather than telling them, for example, “Make sure your thumb is bent on the bow,” it is advisable to ask questions to let them form their own conclusions.  Asking the question, “Is your thumb bent on the bow?” will encourage the student to be more independent.


Yes, but I generally introduce note reading as soon as the student is ready for a few reasons:
Introducing note reading gives students more things to do during practice.  This helps keep the mind fresh.  When a student’s mind is fresher during practice, they can concentrate better.  I have noticed that it takes time to read music, so it is better to get an earlier start.  Reading music is a valuable skill, especially if a recording does not exist for a particular piece of music.  When learning to play with other musicians, being able to read music is a must.

Sometimes you may hear a piece on YouTube and there is no written music available.  If your child can play by ear, sheet music is not necessary.


Training the student to play by ear and read music allows them to learn pieces quickly.  Another reason it is important to play by ear is because some elements such as phrasing is not picked up by looking at notes on the written page.

The number of lessons you need to learn violin depends on the skill level you want to aspire to and frequency of practice.  It is more important to practice daily in shorter bursts than one long practice session. Practicing for shorter lengths of time helps keep the mind more mentally alert which leads to greater practice efficiency. Generally speaking, students can expect to play Twinkle pretty well within a couple of months.


Here is a short violin tuning video which explains how to tune: It should be noted that it is important to pluck or use pizzicato when tuning a violin so there is constant awareness of the pitch being produced when tuning the violin. If a fine tuner or peg on the violin is turned too much, the string will break.  By clicking on the hyperlink for the word fine tuner, there is a diagram that explains where the peg is located on the violin.


The violin and a fiddle are the same instruments.  The only difference is the type of music played.  Playing the violin usually refers to performing classical music.  Performing on the fiddle symbolizes playing fiddle or bluegrass music.


Yes.  Learning how to play by ear helps adult violinists become better players for the reasons mentioned previously.  The review of Suzuki violin pieces helps adult students refine their technique as they progress through the Suzuki repertoire.


Contrary to popular belief, it is never too late to learn how to play the violin.  There are past and present violinists which were/are famous violinists who began playing after age seven. These include Stephane GrappelliMark O’ConnorElmar Oliviera,and Ronald Mutchnik.


I teach all levels of violin from beginning to concertos.  I have taught a number of special needs children.


Most beginners take 30 minute lessons.  However, some very young children start with fifteen minute lessons and progress to a 30 minute lesson.  As a student advances, more lesson time is usually needed to work on more difficult pieces and/or techniques.


Some people may feel differently about this but I don’t feel that it is necessary to take piano before starting violin lessons.


Students have the option to play in two recitals a year.  I may occasionally have students play for other people after or before their lessons to gain performance opportunities.  Six violin students of mine are in Minnesota Youth Symphonies and Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies.  During the year, I help my students prepare for their auditions for these orchestra programs.


This can best be explained in the first lesson as I will need to point to different parts of the violin, which if set up right, will make it easier for the student to play the violin.


Yes, starting with the 1/16 size, violins are available to rent.  One hundred percent of the money paid into an instrument will be credited to the next size.  Visit this page for more information or contact me if you have any questions about where to go.


I would stick with your regular violin for two reasons:
An electric violin will be heavier and is more difficult to hear without an amplifier.  With a heavier violin, fatigue will set in more quickly.  Vibrato and other aspects of your playing will suffer.

This depends on the age and skill level of the student. Older and more advanced students may want lengthier classes because of the quantity of technique needed to improve. Most students start with a thirty-minute lesson. A five-year-old student can get the most out of a fifteen-minute lesson when they first start. Most students have 30, 45 or 60 minute lessons.

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