I teach all levels and ages of violinist, from beginners through to conservatoire entry level and young ages upwards, including adults. I’m a highly trained classical violinist and have extensive experience of teaching British and European folk styles as well.
I have no minimum age for violin students, but reserve the right to refuse any child under the age of 8, after a consultation lesson, if I feel that they are not yet ready for lessons. Every child develops differently at these young ages, so often 6 months will make all the difference to a child who is not yet ready!
There are so many reasons that students come for violin lessons, from those interested in advancing through the exam grades, to those who just want to have the most enjoyable experience they can with playing the violin. Some prefer to work on classical repertoire or music theory, while others want to learn to play be ear or get to grips with Irish fiddle ornamentation. I pride myself in listening to my students wants and needs and creating each a bespoke curriculum that caters to them. The most important thing is that each student enjoys their playing and lessons whilst achieving their goals.
It is so easy when playing the violin – or any instrument – to get in to bad habits with posture and technique, which can cause a whole range of aches and injuries. In all my lessons, I use information and advice issued by the British Association of Performing Arts Medicine to make sure that my students are comfortable and safe when playing. This is something that if often neglected at the beginner stage, as there is so much else to teach! But I believe that learning a good posture and technique from the beginning can save a violinist a lifetime of trouble.
During lessons, I draw on Paul Harris’ Simultaneous Learning strategy. The core of this is that all aspects of musicianship – technique, musicality, aural, sight reading, scales and composition – are taught together, rather than being separated in to different portions of the lesson, often resulting in some of these being neglected. As well as ensuring that many more aspects are covered in a lesson, Simultaneous Learning is much more fun! A scale by itself is pretty boring, but when you can spot it in your favourite piece or try playing it ten different ways, then suddenly it’s much more interesting.