I do not usually take students younger than four. There are physical things that three year-olds really have a much harder time with, and that’s frustrating to them. Four year-olds have a hard enough time coordinating all that it takes to play violin. I also take adults of any age or experience. I once taught an 80 year old, blind man. That was really interesting.
It’s relatively expensive, and so, it’s best if you really want to do it. Violins are expensive little things. Even renting them from Backstage costs, albeit much less than purchasing them, except for on eBay, and then you have no idea about the hunk of unusable junk you are probably getting. The size of the instrument, especially in the beginning, matters more than the quality. Unless the student is truly exceptional, until you get to an instrument which has a large enough body to sound decent, you don’t much need to worry about quality of the violin. You can get some pretty good ½ sizes and I’ve seen really decent ¾ sizes. In 4/4 size, the quality matters most! Sound is everything with violin. Those little tiny bodies can’t produce enough sound to be pretty. Rarely, you can find a really well-made 1/8 size, and makers are putting more effort into them than they used to. With the more advanced students, the bow becomes almost more important than the violin. Then, it becomes about matching the sound quality that a bow produces to the sound of the violin. Weights of bows vary. Types of woods used varies, as does whether it’s even made of wood. The “bounce” of the stick varies. All of those elements matter greatly.
Once a student has a time on my schedule, until they tell me otherwise, that is their time. My schedule is pretty flexible, and I’m putting my schedule online. Also, I’m emailing all of my parents the emails of all my parents, so that they can switch easily, and so that forming a parent organization is easier.
A good time of year to start is at the beginning of a semester, usually just after Labor Day. But, I will start anyone anytime.
“I’ve always wanted to play the violin. What do I need to know before the first lesson?” You need a violin, a bow, a case for it, and rosin. On the 2nd lesson, you’ll probably want to have the book titled Suzuki Vol. 1, but since I teach depending on what you want to learn, you’ll have to tell me what brought you to the violin in the first place. Do you like fiddle, or violin? We can start with either—the technique I will teach you will be the same as classical violin, in the event that you want to do that. There are lots of methods, so we can start with what attracted you to it in the first place.
“My child wants to play violin. How do I get them started?” With children, I use Suzuki method because it’s a very solid method — it's proven. The number one thing that you can do for your child is to listen to classical violin music, starting specifically with what they’ll be learning in the beginning—Suzuki Vol. 1 CD. But, listening to other violin music is a wonderful thing to do for children. Listen to things like Peter and the Wolf. Listen to anything that has a violin or a fiddle in it. None of it is harmful, so enjoy it.