Frequently Asked Questions
1.) Should my child take private lessons if he or she is enrolled in a school orchestra program?
Yes! If your child has demonstrated a reliable interest in learning how to play the violin or viola, your child will benefit from private instruction. In-school programs vary widely in their success, but even the best instructors in the most successful school programs are limited in how much individual attention they can offer each student. Recognizing that the stringed family of instruments is perhaps the most challenging family of instruments to learn in the initial stages, private instruction time ensures that good habits are instilled from the very beginning.
2.) Is the Suzuki Method right for my child?
While the Suzuki Method is one of the most common methods for learning how to play the violin or viola, it is not the only method out there. It is widely accepted however, that one of the advantages of the Suzuki system is the wide network of teachers and related activities to support a child's education anywhere in the country. More traditional methods, however, may be more easily tailored to your child's particular desires or needs. Often, it is the teacher who makes the biggest difference. Students need to feel confident and supported by their instructor, regardless of the method. Click here for more information on Suzuki and Modified Suzuki.
3.) How old should my child be in order to start violin lessons?
The Suzuki Method is famous for starting children at a very young age. (Sometimes as young and two or three years old!) It is somewhat more common for children to begin their studies between the ages of five and seven. While there are some teachers who would prefer NOT to start children over the age of eight, it is not too late to begin lessons as an older student. These older children often have the advantages of more maturity and more developed motor skills to aid them in their study.
When all is said and done, perhaps the most important factors in deciding when to begin your child's lessons include the extent to which your child wants lessons, your child's ability to sustain concentration, your personal knowledge of your child's temperament when faced with challenges, and your personal ability to commit time and energy to your child's efforts in lessons and at home.
4.) Is there a list of other teachers in the area?
There are a number of different lists of teachers working in the area. Click here to go to the Resources page for more information.
5.) How much do violin lessons cost?
On average, one hour violin lessons inside the Beltway range from $80 an hour to $100 an hour. Artist teachers and other pre-conservatory level studios may charge more.
6.) Where are you located?
My Studio is run out of my home in Arlington, VA, just half a mile from I 66, and just over one mile from the Ballston Metro Station. For specific directions,please contact me directly.
7.) How do I enroll my child in your studio?
Please click here to read the Acceptance Policy.
8.) Is there a waiting list?
Because openings in the studio roster are so rare, it is difficult to predict when an opening will become available. For that reason, there is no waiting list. The most reliable time to contact me about enrollment is early in the summer for the upcoming school year. As always, however, interested families are encouraged to check the Studio Website where all openings will be announced as they become available.
9.) How much should my child be practicing?
Duration and frequency of practice are often related to a student's age and level of advancement. Very young children may not find it possible to focus more than ten or fifteen minutes at a time. Being creative with practice routines can help increase a child's motivation to practice.
In my studio, I suggest as a loose guideline that students practice every day for the length of their private lesson. If a student's lesson is 45 minutes long, that student should try to practice 45 minutes a day.
Keep in mind that practicing does not have to be completed in one long block. It may be better for students to break up their practicing into smaller blocks of time. Also, some families have worked out an arrangement where students are allowed to take a day off from practicing on lesson days. Click here to go to the Resources page for more ideas on practicing.
10.) Where do families go to get an instrument?
Click here to go to the Resources page for a list of local violin shops and their contact information.
11.) Is it better to rent or buy?
This decision is best made based on the personal circumstances and needs of your family. Most shops in the area have a program that allows a percentage of rental costs to go toward the ultimate purchase of a violin, or a program that allows the full purchase price (or a large percentage of it) to be applied to the purchase of the next size up. It is always wise to research each shop's individual policy before either renting or buying.