What ages of students do you teach?
I currently teach a wide age range of students. My youngest is 5 and my oldest is
What is the right age for my son/daughter to start learning the Violin?
I generally advise starting anytime after they have started at Kindergarten. It is at this time when the student has minimum 20 minutes of concentration plus some strength for individual finger movement.
My Son/daughter hasn't started school yet, and I would like them to start having some
music lessons. What do you advise?
There are many Local music schools which offer music courses to children who haven't started school yet. These courses are focused on developing a sense of rhythm, and pitch, while also teaching children to have a fun early interaction with music. This is usually an advantage to the child and the teacher for when they start private music lessons.
What levels of students do you teach?
I have experience teaching all levels of students in many styles of Violin playing. My students have been successful Exam candidates, and are regularly encouraged to perform.
How do you teach, or what is your teaching methodology?
The first job of a good teacher is to listen to the student. As a Violin teacher I look at "What does the student want to play?" , "what does the student want to gain from playing?" and perhaps even more crucially "what are the potential paths for this student that they have not thought of?"
I don't teach the same lesson to every student, rather I cater the lesson to what the student needs to improve at that time, whilst keeping an eye on the longer term goals.
To do this I draw upon techniques of traditional Eastern European Conservatoriums (where my pedagogy goes back to Leopold Auer), aural training as used by Gypsy and Jazz musicians, plus the techniques of breathing and singing to help find the students and Violins combined 'voice'.
This is all supported by an enormous library of pieces that are catered to suit each student.
What role should the parents take in the lessons and in practice?
I encourage parents to sit in on lessons so that they can take an active role in helping their child practice. The Violin is a complex instrument with many intricate details, especially relating to posture. It is of enormous benefit to the student to be able to have a parent help them during their practice, in order to help secure a strong elementary technique.
I don't know how to read music, is this something you can help with?
To gain a basic understanding of reading music takes between 2 weeks to a month of effort at 10 minutes a day. Reading music is a core part of early lessons, and I will absolutely take you through this.
We want to start lessons, what do we need?
If you are a beginner, you will need:
- A Violin
- A copy of either "A Tune A Day - Book 1 for Violin" or "Abracadabra Violin Book 1"
- A Blank manuscript book
If you have learnt before, bring your Violin, and the most recent pieces and exercises you have been working on.
Where do we get a Violin from?
If you contact me, I can put you in touch with some of the most competitively priced dealers in Sydney. Currently some of the Chinese imports represent excellent value for money.
I also have an ability to source some Violins directly from China. If you wish to purchase these, please feel free to discuss it with me.
Do you have any advice for when we go to purchase a Violin?
- Take whomever the student is going to be with you. It is important to get the right size of Violin.
- Make sure that the Violin has been 'set-up'. Many Violins which have not been 'set up', come at a cheaper price. However, in order to then have them properly set-up, you will usually find that the overall initial expense is greater.
- I regularly visit the places which I recommend. If we co-ordinate our timetables, I can assist you in your decision making and purchasing process.
Do you offer a mobile service?
No. I have three studios in Sydney, and a network of teachers which I can recommend in other areas.
Your studios are too far away for me, do you have any teachers you can recommend, or do you have any recommendations when looking for a teacher?
There are other teachers I can recommend yes for some areas. If i personally do not know a teacher or what their capabilities are, then I will not recommend blindly.
As far as what to look for in a teacher, look at qualifications (diploma, degree) experience -not only as a performer, but as a teacher i.e. schools they have taught at, exams and levels they have submitted students for.
Also the studio you learn in should be open with at least one window where parents or passers by can easily see in, plus the teacher should have a "Working with Children" certificate.
Also listen to the teacher play. The Violin is an instrument that can take you on a fantastic journey of sound - if you enjoy the sound the teacher makes, then this is a good start, if however the sound the teacher makes is not enjoyable, I would personally recommend looking elsewhere.