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The greatest joy of teaching for me is seeing the musical progress of my students from week to week. Therefore, I have adopted strategies to facilitate their growth and enjoy finding new ways to promote musical progress. I also like the challenge of learning about my various students because they all grasp music differently.
Continued Musical Support Throughout the Week
I offer support during the week if you cannot figure out why you are getting a certain kind of sound on the violin or why your piece isn’t sounding right. This can be best accomplished by emailing me a video of the piece you are playing. I believe contacting me by email is also a great way to trouble shoot why a particular section of the music is not getting any better. Perhaps the practicing technique used isn’t ideal for that particular issue or some aspect of violin technique isn’t quite there so fixing this by email, in my view is ideal. I like to be able to fix any rough spots during the week so the student and I can work on other parts of the piece in the lesson so student advancement is quicker. In addition, if I can fix a particular part or issue by emailing a student’s parent, then a faulty habit may become less ingrained in the student.
Free Access to Violin MP3’s and Piano Accompaniments for Violin Pieces
I know it’s important to begin listening to the Suzuki pieces as soon as students begin studying the violin. Therefore, I have included Suzuki Violin 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 lesson mp3’s and piano accompaniment mp3’s in the future.
Versatility in Playing by Ear and with Music
I have found that it is important to become a balanced, well rounded musician; being able to read notes and play by ear at the very beginning unless note reading isn’t appropriate at a certain point in time. 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). In my opinion, playing by ear helps develop pitch sensitivity. I find that playing by ear is very helpful as a student isn’t limited to playing a particular genre of music. If a student discovers later that they want to learn jazz and/or fiddle music, they are able to do this. I find that in jazz and fiddle music, the sheet music to these pieces is not always written out. If a student wants to play in orchestra, note reading as well as basic music theory is very important. I try to inject a little bit of theory into every lesson so playing music for the first time is not as hard.
My students have the option to play in two recitals a year. I may occasionally have students play for other people after or before them in lessons to gain performance opportunities. In addition to the recitals, all of my students have the option of participating in the East Surburban Federation of Music Clubs which is a chapter of the Minnesota Federation of Music Clubs.
Experience with Chinrest and Shoulder Rest Set-up
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 on the market, it is even more possible to play the violin with ease and proper support.
Convenient and Economically Priced Violin Rentals and Repairs
Part of why I asked my father to get into renting violins out to my students is because I want my students to have properly set up violins as I know this will facilitate a more pleasurable playing experience. Experience has taught me that if a student enjoys playing the violin, they are more likely to continue wanting to play it. With a minor violin repair, I can bring it home and a student’s parent and I 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.
Parent Education Showing How To Help Their Child Practice At Home
I believe that practicing effectively is just as important as practicing. By trying different things in the lessons and figuring out what works as practicing tools, I find that giving specific practice suggestions to parents on how to coach their child gives the desired musical results.
Experience playing with piano and violin
Part of playing music is playing with others whether it be another violin or entirely different instrument. I occasionally play violin duets with my students so they gain experience in playing a part different from their own. In addition to the violin, I really enjoy playing piano and am currently taking lessons for the basic Suzuki pieces. I like to be able to accompany beginning violin students a few times in lessons so that they get familiar with how the violin and piano parts fit together. Therefore, I find that accompanying beginning students in lessons makes them more at ease when meeting and playing with a professional pianist for the very first time.