I will never forget my first violin lesson. I didn’t initially want to play the violin. But, it was part of what we had to do at school. I walked into my first lesson angry and annoyed. I hated this stupid instrument. But, as my teacher showed me how to raise the violin to my chest, carefully place my fingers, balance the bow on the strings and begin to draw sound from the instrument, I fell instantly and deeply in love. From that first lesson, the violin became the essence of my creative soul. Perhaps the same will be true for your child.
The violin has been said to be the closest instrument to the human voice and invokes the spirit-being when played. Resting against the chest, its vibrations are felt deeply in the heart, in the vocal chords (the energetic source of self-expression), and in the whole body. Because it is a very physical instrument, and both engages the thinking, feeling, sensing and listening faculties of the child, it is considered by many the best instrument to begin furthering a child’s musical development.
Playing violin is important to children’s development because, unlike any other instrument, it equally uses left and right brain functioning, fosters kinesthetic awareness, and held against the heart, is warming to the body and soothing to the being. Many studies have been conducted proving the violin to have a direct impact on brain-development and to especially support children struggling with physiological or physiological challenges. In a recent study conducted by a research team in the physiotherapy department at the University of Vermont, children who played the violin showed an increase in their ability to focus, to process emotions, and improve coordination, communication and cognitive processing.
I meet each student where he/she is and strive to offer unique lessons aligned with their needs and desires to help them become the best player they can be and have lots of fun doing it!
For the beginning violin student, we will learn simple pieces by ear, and slowly begin to work on note reading, rhythm concepts, scales and other basic music theory – all taught in a hands on, imaginative way to meet the young child’s pedagogical needs.
First lessons are all about learning the violin by engaging our feeling senses and curious mind..
Emphasis for the first month or two will be on how to balance it against our chest, how our arms move gracefully with the bow and how our fingers “talk” to one another as we carefully learn to place them on each string.
We will then move into practicing listening to our tone, expanding our awareness of how to draw the bow across the strings with changes in pressure and speed. We will have fun exploring vast possibilities of movement and sound, sharing our findings in group discussions.
Children will be encouraged to learn at their own pace, to practice at home, discover their own expression and celebrate their accomplishments. The class environment will be one of collaboration and helping each other learn, discover and explore.
Develop an embodied relationship to playing, rooted in kinesthetic awareness of proper bow and violin use so they can experience ease and joy in all aspects of playing.
Work on deep listening skills so they can easily pick up pieces by ear, and (improve) (develop) great tone and tuning a key asset for any aspiring fiddler.
Develop a personal relationship to the ritual of practice in a graceful dance of discipline, focus, fun and freedom so that they are empowered to work toward their own success and fall in love with playing.
Witness their ability to master a piece of music and improve over time by learning 4-5 songs by ear ranging from fiddle tunes and other folk songs to basic classical repertoire.
Learn the art of collaboration to develop leadership skills in helping each other learn, discover, explore and play well together.
Learn basic note reading and rhythmic skills so they have the concrete knowledge needed to expand future musical endeavors.