Frequently Asked Questions
In regards to the physical instrument, there is no difference. "Fiddle" can be used as a nickname for violin, or to denote a particular style of music played on the violin (Irish Fiddle, Bluegrass Fiddle) as opposed to classical music. I consider myself a "fiddle" teacher and player, in the sense that I play and teach fiddle music. When a student is first learning to play, the approach of a classical violin teacher and a fiddle teacher may be very similar; the foundation and techniques required to play the violin are essential and compulsory before specializing in a particular style. For children, I primarily use the Mark O'Connor Method during the first two years. This curriculum is analogous to the Suzuki Method used by classical teachers for beginning students, which also uses folk music to introduce fundamentals of classical violin playing.
*For beginning students enrolled in school orchestra programs, our lessons will focus on learning the pieces assigned by the student's orchestra teacher, as well as improving sight- reading and music theory skills.
An adult is required to attend lessons for students under 10 years old, and welcome to attend after that. Parents are an integral part of their child’s music education. Observing lessons will help you understand how to best help your child practice.
I do not teach multiple children or children and adults together in a combined lesson format. The reason for this that I find adults and children of different ages (especially young ones) learn at dramatically different speeds and require different areas of focus that are best served in separate instructional periods. However, parents who observe their child’s lessons often find they are able to pick up enough information to begin playing themselves.
I prioritize children over 8 years old for lessons. However, I am willing to consider a younger student, pending availability and an introductory lesson. This lesson will help us to determine if violin is appropriate for the child at this time, and for the parent to get a sense of how they will need to support their student during the lesson. It should be taken into consideration that children are not developmentally able to practice on their own until they are at least 10 years old. Until they reach this age, constant parental involvement (both at lessons, and in home practice) will be necessary for the child's success.
If the student is not yet ready for private lessons, there are a variety of resources designed for younger children, both for violin and music in general.
Before starting instrumental lessons of any kind, I would strongly recommend a general music class, like "Music Together." Classes are a great way for children to garner a musical foundation, and for them to practice the listening and concentration skills required for instrumental study. If the child is specifically interested in violin, "Suzuki" violin teachers start children as young as 3 years old. A violin shop can provide a referral.
Due to COVID-19 precautions, as of March 2020 all lessons are conducted online via Zoom conferencing. General hours for lessons are Mondays- Wednesdays with start times from 10am to 7pm. Saturdays are offered twice monthly for adult students depending on interest level. Please specify your availability within this time frame in your intial email.
The first lesson is a chance for us to determine if I am the right teacher for you or your child. If either of us feel this is not the case, I am happy to make a referral to a more appropriate activity or another teacher. In this case, the lesson will be charged at the drop-in fee of $35 for 30 minutes (children) or $60 for an hour (adults).
I do not offer complimentary “meet and greets”. I feel that the best way to determine if my lessons are right for you or your child is to take a lesson. As such, the student must rent a violin prior to the first lesson to be able to get an accurate feel for lessons. Please see the “Obtaining a Violin” section to select the appropriate sized instrument for the student.
Unfortunately it is unlikely. Please read the “Obtaining a Violin” section below before scheduling lessons or purchasing a violin.
Sadly, no. I don’t know how to play the viola. Viola and violin are related, but it is best to receive instruction directly from a viola instructor. Many violists play violin as well, if you would like to study both instruments. Please contact RL Violin Shop for a Viola teacher referral.
All youth tuition rates are a flat-monthly amount. You pay the same amount each month, September-June, regardless of the amount of lessons there are in a given month.
These rates are calculated based on a pro-rated formula. I count up all of the lesson days we have in the school year total (not counting holidays and breaks) and add an extra 2 or 4 lessons (depending on the age and preference of the student) to that number that you may use during the summer time.
(Example: There are 39 lessons total in a school year, including the allotted summer lessons. Lessons are $35 (30 minutes) or $45 (45 minutes) each. I multiple the rate times 39 and divide by 10 months (September-June) so that the rate is the same each month. In July and August, you may use your pre-paid summer lessons on a schedule of your choice. If you wish to come for more lessons than the amount you have pre-paid for, you can pay per lesson at the above rates.
*Please note- the rates listed on the website are an average- your rate may be a few dollars more of less each month, depending on the day of the week of your lesson (Mondays in general are slightly cheaper because there are more school holidays on Mondays, and therefore less lessons in a calendar year)
There are many different kinds of music teachers. Some are retired and doing it has a hobby. Some are supported by their spouse and don't need income. And some make a living. As a small business owner, this is my sole source of income. I recognize that not every music teacher uses contracts. In order for me to run my business sustainably, I need to create some of the same protections for myself as a self-employed person that are afforded to people who have employers, in order to have job security. If I were to get rid of these stipulations, it would be potentially devastating to my economy. Thank you for supporting a sustainable model of working artistry 🙂