Do you or your child really need a violin teacher? Yes! A violin teacher can help you establish good playing habits and enable you to achieve your full potential as a musician. Even adults with busy schedules find it helpful to take lessons once or twice a month to help them with violin technique.
When you’re looking for a violin teacher for yourself or your child, remember that teaching styles and personalities differ. Some teachers may work well with some individuals and not others. An ideal teacher is one who will not only provide you with a solid foundation of violin technique, but also one who will motivate and inspire you as a musician.
- Recommendations. Get violin teacher recommendations from friends, other violin students, music stores, and local schools (school music teachers are a good source of referrals).
- Local concerts. Attend school and community concerts and local recitals. Watch for good players and ask the students whom they study with. 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.
- University music departments. 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 don't have room for new students, ask if any of their advanced pupils give lessons (this approach may work for any good teacher with a full studio).
- Professional musician unions. Local chapters of professional musician unions often maintain a list of musicians you could contact for referrals.
- Music teacher organizations. Contact local music teacher organizations for referrals Sample organizations: in the United States, Music Teachers National Association or the American String Teachers Association; in Canada, the Canadian Federation of Music Teachers' Associations; and in Europe, the European String Teachers Association. If you’re interested in Suzuki Violin, most Suzuki Associations have an online "find a Suzuki teacher" directory. Sample: Suzuki Assocation of the Americas (USA and Canada), European Suzuki Association or Suzuki Music Australia.
- Online directories. 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 search terms such as Suzuki Association of the Americas or International Suzuki Association in your Internet search for teachers.
- References. Once you have a list of prospective violin teachers, ask each one for references, and evaluate their credentials. Who did they study with? Do they ever perform professionally 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? Is there a particular violin methodology they favor? What are their expectations of students?
- Observe their teaching. Ask if you can attend a lesson and observe how they teach. If the teacher is uncomfortable doing this, ask for a trial lesson. What is their teaching style? Is it a relaxed environment? Strict? Is this a style of teaching that would work well for you or your child? Does the teacher seem to have a good grasp of violin technique? Are they able to assist the student in a positive, motivating manner? If the teacher has any upcoming recitals for students, attending a recital is a terrific way to observe how well their students play and could give you an idea of the level of playing you or your child might achieve some day.
Once lessons begin, it's important to ask yourself: are you or your child motivated by this violin teacher? Are violin lessons a positive experience, or are they discouraging? Effective teaching is very personal experience, so if you or your child are uncomfortable or don’t quite connect with the personality and teaching style of the teacher, find another violin teacher!