Do I need to have a violin? Yes, you will need to rent or purchase a good quality violin. I recommend Loveland Violin Shop in Santa Rosa. Their website is http://lovelandviolinshop.com/. I am happy to measure your child or you can take your child with you and they will measure. Always call before you go in.
Do you do group/private lessons? I prefer to start preschool/kindergarten children in a weekly group lesson (although I do make exceptions). We start with games, hand motions, and songs that will help your child learn good technique from the beginning. This lesson is 45 minutes in length. Depending on the group, the class will continue six months to a year when they will be transitioned into weekly private lessons with a group lesson every other week on Friday.
How long do we need to practice? I don’t recommend a length of time to practice for very young children because their attention spans can vary greatly. I do, however, stress daily practice. Once the routine has been established, generally accepted guidelines are as follows: Book 1, 30 minutes; Books 2-3, 45 minutes; Books 4-5, 60 minutes; and Books 6 and up, 90 minutes. Again, these are guidelines. Remember, the more you put in, the more you will get out (confidence, fun, knowledge, progress, etc.).
Where and when do you teach? I teach in Napa on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday, and in Yountville on Monday and Thursday. Call for more information--707-256-9299.
When will your next “Pre-twinkler” (beginners) group start? Call or email for information about the Pre-twinkler group.
Will I be attending lessons with my child? Absolutely! You will be their "coach" throughout the week at home. And, not only that, but kids enjoy having their parents involved in their activities. So be prepared to take notes and have fun learning with your child. Plan to be present at their lessons at least until they are nine or ten (depending on the child--some younger, some older).
How do I know if my preschooler is ready for violin lessons? Is he/she cooperative? Are you able to get your child to accomplish things even on resistant days? Do you only have occasional resistant days? Does he/she have daily "chores?" Although there are no guarantees either way, an affirmative response to these questions probably indicates a higher chance of success.
Do I need to have a knowledge of music? While a previous knowledge of music will give you a head start, it is absolutely not a requirement. You will be learning in small steps along with your child. It will help if you like the violin, see the value in it, and are excited about learning because you will transmit this excitement to your child and motivate them.
Can I bring my child's siblings to the lessons? Siblings are highly encouraged at lessons, but the expectation is that they will not be distracting either to you or the student during the lesson.
Other questions to ask yourself regarding the commitment you and your child are making when you start violin lessons:
Do you and your child have the time? How many other activities are you both involved in? I recommend no more than two extra-curricular activities, i.e. violin and one other. You and your child will need to make a commitment to practice at least six days a week and attend two group lessons twice a month in addition to your private lessons.
Am I in this for the long haul? I view the Suzuki program as a major life decision for everyone involved and consider the relationship the student and parent have with the teacher as one of the components that will contribute to your child's success.
Are you familiar with Dr. Suzuki's "Mother Tongue" approach to teaching violin to young children? I recommend reading the book "Nurtured by Love" before starting the program. Also, check out the Suzuki Association website to familiarize yourself with his philosophy and the Suzuki community.