Have you been interested in learning a new instrument lately? You might be considering violin lessons in Orlando, for yourself or for your child. But let’s face it, no matter what age you are and what kind of experience you have, private lessons are a big commitment – a commitment in time, budget, effort, and energy. After all, a lot of people have had success teaching themselves a bit of guitar, piano or ukulele, so will a private violin lesson really be worth the effort? The short answer is a hard YES, And I’m not just saying that because I’m an Orlando violin teacher! More than most instruments, real fluency on the violin will only come with hard work, determination, and personal attention from an experienced teacher. Here’s why:
Posture Is Essential
On the violin, posture is everything . From the bow grip to the violin hold, the right-hand angle to the finger spacing, everything about the violin requires a unique body position. Posture on the violin isn’t just about looking good and preventing back problems in old age, posture for a violinist affects the sound on every level – in tune or not, smooth or scratchy, the right strings or the wrong strings – everything depends on posture. Even if you have a good grasp on what your body is supposed to be doing, a good teacher can nip bad habits in the bud. A tight neck grip, a drooping left hand, or a tight right elbow can all hamper a violinist’s development, and it takes a skilled teacher to recognize these elements and correct them.
Violin is All About Detail
Every instrument has its own unique set of strengths and weaknesses. Piano offers harmonic complexity – ie, the ability to play a lot of notes at the same time. Drums offer a rhythmic focus that other instruments lack. For violin, the distinguishing factor is the detail. Unlike piano or guitar, violinists are usually playing one note at a time – but a skilled violinist can control every detail of the sound coming out of their instrument.
A piano player might be familiar with the musical styles legato (long, smooth notes) and staccato (short notes), but a violinist will also need vibrato (a quick, subtle movement that creates a “shimmering” sound), spiccato (a bouncing bow stroke), portato (a gently pulsing articulation), and glissando (sliding from one note to the next). These aren’t just fancy Italian words that are fun to say, they also illustrate a major truth of violin – it’s not just the notes you play, it’s how you play them that counts. A good violin teacher will know how to teach all of these nuanced techniques, but more importantly they will know when to use them, and how they can bring a piece of music to life.
Knowing What To Play
Beyond just teaching the basics of how to play, a violin teacher will know what songs their students should learn. Good violin teachers know violin music, and will be able to assign pieces that gradually build on their students’ knowledge. By building a personalized musical relationship with their students, private teachers will keep their students engaged by teaching them things they want to learn – songs that are fun to play, songs that match their interests, and songs that expand their musical horizons. A great teacher will also provide interesting finger exercises to improve violin play. Regardless of age and ability, all teachers have these basic goals for their students – keep them learning, keep them challenged, and keep them engaged.
The Student-Teacher Relationship
Mentorship is so important and it can be hard to put in to words, so I’ll defer you to a master here – Ivan Galamian, in the preface to Principles of Violin Playing and Teaching (the Moby Dick of violin books), “No printed work can ever replace the live teacher-student relationship. The very best that a teacher can give to a student is the individualized, unique approach.” When it comes to violin, truer words have never been spoken. Violin is a unique instrument, and it requires a unique and personal approach that can only be found in a private, personalized lesson.
If you’re ready for violin lessons, you’ll be happy to know you’re in the right place! Our Seattle violin teachers are qualified, professional musicians who will give you practice advice, guidance, and new challenges to keep you growing as a musician. They can either come to your home to teach or can also provide online music lessons. Our virtual music lessons are taught by local music teachers who plan their lessons to suit your child. Contact us today to find an instructor near you who will help your child master their skills.
By Jonah Byrne