Private Lessons

Private lessons are the best way to learn an instrument!

Resources for Private Students:

Practice Chart

7 Steps  to Correctly Hold a Violin or Viola

About my Studio:

Please contact me directly if you would like to schedule a trial lesson or be added to the waiting list. Scroll down to see other local teachers that I recommend.

I have been teaching private violin and viola lessons for twelve years. I have experience teaching students of all ages and levels. I tailor my lessons and curriculum for each student and incorporate musicality, theory, music history, listening skills, and other important areas of music along with learning to play the violin.  I strive to teach my students to be excellent violinists, but just as importantly, excellent musicians. I  teach using the traditional method (beginning with note reading for most students) and supplement with many of the Suzuki pieces so that my students learn the traditional repertoire.

Ages 5-8: 30 minute lessons, parents required to attend lessons
Ages 8-12: 30 or 45 minutes lessons, parents invited to attend lessons
Ages 12 to adult: 45 or hour lessons, parents invited to attend lessons

Location: Lessons are held at my home or in my classroom.

Days and times: I am currently offering lessons on Fridays only.

Items needed: Please see the Instrument Rental/Purchase tab.

Practicing at Home:

Home practice is required for all private students. A practice contract will be made between myself, the student, and a parent. Home practice is the key to musical success! We will work together to make it rewarding, meaningful, and even fun! Expected practice times vary depending on the personality and schedule of each student, but here are general guidelines:

Ages 5-8: 20-30 minutes, 5 times per week
Ages 8-10: 30 minutes, 5 times per week
Ages 11-15: 30-45 minutes, 6 times per week

Recitals:

Recitals are held at least twice a year. Recitals are a great opportunity for students to share their music with friends, family, and others. After all, music is sweetest when it is shared! All students who attend lessons on a weekly basis perform a memorized solo and possibly a chamber music piece. A reception follows each recital to celebrate the success of each student. Siblings, grandparents, and friends are all welcome!

Finding the Right Teacher:

There are many wonderful musicians giving private lesson. The teacher you choose will spend influential one-on-one time with your student on a weekly basis. While some musicians do teach “because they have to,” many musicians are inspiring and skilled teachers. How do you find the right private teacher for your student? Conduct a phone interview and ask for a trial lesson.

I recommend that you “interview” private teachers on the phone or through e-mail. Here are some questions to ask:
How long have you been teaching?
How many students do you have?
What is your primary instrument? (some musicians teach many instruments but have one they consider primary)
What is your favorite part about teaching?
What is your make-up policy?
How much do you charge?
Do you have recitals or other performance opportunities for my student?
What method books or methodology do you follow?
What teaching training have you had?
Do you have openings or a waiting list?

After the phone interview and before committing, ask for a trial lesson. Some teachers, like myself, offer a free trial lesson to meet the student to find out if the student/teacher match is a good one. Some teachers will ask that you pay for this time. Regardless, I highly recommend committing to no more than four lessons before you have met the teacher. It is tempting to make scheduling and convenience the primary factor in teacher choice, but remember that this person will be key to the musical success of your student. Take the time to see if it is a good fit.

Suzuki or Traditional? What’s the difference?

I am often asked the difference between the Suzuki method of music teaching and the “traditional” American method.

The Suzuki Method of instrumental music instruction is based on the belief that all children possess the ability to learn music, as they are similarly able to learn language. Suzuki Teachers receive certifications to teach the method and curriculum for each level. Suzuki students may begin at an early age (3-4 years old). Students learn the importance of listening and playing before learning to read music. Students study a predetermined core repertoire used by students throughout the world. To learn more or find a Suzuki Teacher, visit this website:  Suzuki Association of the Americas

The Traditional Method of instrumental music instruction is a term that summarizes most methods used by non-Suzuki teachers. Traditional teachers are not certified by one particular association.  Many are members of the American String Teachers Association (ASTA), the local Music Teacher Association (MTA), or SCSBOA (Southern California School Band and Orchestra Association).  Traditional teachers typically integrate instruction in reading music from the very first lessons.  Students usually begin instruction when they are able to read.  Repertoire varies widely from teacher to teacher.  To find a large database of well-qualified, active private teachers in your area, search the Music Teachers’ Association of California (MTAC) website: MTAC Find A Teacher

What is best for you?

The Suzuki Method is an excellent choice if you have a preschool to elementary aged student, and you are serious about committing to making music a part of the life of your student and your family. The social aspects of the method, including group classes and city-wide festivals, make music making a social experience where you will meet other like-minded families. The method has been tried and tested for many years with wonderful results. Occasionally, the Suzuki method is criticized when students progress quickly but are unable to read music. I believe that when this happens, it is usually the case of the private teacher attempting to use the method without actually receiving the official Suzuki Teacher Certification. Because of this, I highly recommend that if you choose the Suzuki Method for your student, find a certified teacher for the level of your student.

The Traditional Method is an excellent choice if you have an elementary or older student who is interested in learning to read music right away, can already read music due to prior music lessons, or will soon be participating in a school or community ensemble. Most schools use the traditional approach in the classroom. Private teachers using these methods will “speak the same language” as the orchestra and band directors at school. Because of the flexibility of the repertoire, traditional teachers may also incorporate more fiddle tunes, movie music, or sacred music. If your student is wanting to “try out” an instrument, the traditional method best choice for you.

My methodology:  I use the traditional method and incorporate the Suzuki repertoire.  Because of my background and training in early childhood music, I often begin teaching violin students before they are able to read (ages 3-5).  In these lessons, I strive to lay important musical foundations including tonality, rhythm, and beginning violin technique.  This same foundation is taught to older students in addition to note reading and theory.  Because I believe that the Suzuki pieces are important, solid repertoire for all students to learn, most of my students learn the Suzuki repertoire in addition to scales, etudes, and a method book at their level.

Private Teacher Recommendations:

Violin/Viola:  Mr. J.B. Wieners, jbwieners1 {at} mac {dot} com

Arts and Learning Conservatory, Santa Ana:  714.728.7100

MTAC Find A Teacher

Suzuki Association of the Americas

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