1. What is a good age to start learning a stringed instrument?
A. There are different age recommendations depending on instrument. However, don't be discouraged, there are plenty of things to learn for younger students who wish to get a head start on their instrument of choice. Here are my age recommendations (may depend on height and size of individual child):
Piano- as early as 3 years old
Violin- as early as 4 years old
Viola- as early as 5 years old
Cello- as early as 5 years old
Bass- as early as 10 years old
2. How much time should we practice?
A. Your child and I will discuss practice schedules in our weekly lessons. Generally, I recommend that beginner students practice at least 20-30 min a day, intermediate students at least 40-90 min a day, advanced at least 2-5 hours a day, and college level at least 6-8 hours a day. I understand that most children have after school activities and homework so note that every child is different. That is why it is best that practice schedules be discussed individually.
3. Purchase vs. Renting?
A. This can be a complicated questions, definitely bring this up in your child's lesson. Generally, I do not recommend investing in an instrument until the student has reached the advanced level. Purchasing an instrument is an investment and should be treated like one. Quality instruments can be quite expensive and will often require insurance. It is best to wait until your child is deeply invested in continuing to learn music before making such an important purchase. When it is time to purchase an instrument, I will be happy to make recommendations and listen to various choices. The purchasing process can be long, but finding the right instrument is well worth the wait.
4. Should I sit in on my child's lesson?
A. This depends on the level and age of your child. For all beginners, I strongly recommend a parent be present during weekly lessons. You may be asked to join in on a game or try a new technique with your child. As your child grows more independent, you may decide to leave the lesson and sit in another room or wait in your car. Eventually, the goal is to have the student become completely responsible and self-reliant. But, if you notice your child acting up in lessons, I may ask you to leave. In my experience, a child will sometimes try to "show-off" for the parent who is watching their lesson.
5. What happens if we need to miss a lesson?
A. Please see my studio policies to help you answer this question. You must notify me in advance when you know you need to miss a lesson. Only family or weather emergencies are an acceptable excuse for a missed lesson with less than 24 hours notice. You can always fill out a switch request--this will send a notice to the entire studio allowing anyone who can temporarily switch lesson day/times with you to respond. It is your responsibility to keep me informed on any confirmed lesson switches.
6. What is proper concert attire?
A. As part of the learning process, we will have regular studio recitals and other performance opportunities. Appropriate concert attire is somewhat conservative: no flip-flops, tennis shoes, t-shirts, tank tops, or other revealing clothing. All skirts must be below the knee (especially for cello students). You may wear a suit and jacket if you would like--however, it is not required (also, you may overheat!). But, above all, please practice in your concert attire! You must feel comfortable wearing your fancy get-up so that come concert time, nothing will throw you off!
7. What should I do if I break a string or another part of my instrument?
A. Don't panic! If I am available, please call ahead and I will happily change a string for you provided you have an extra. Always carry a full set! If you are renting, take your instrument to the dealer, they will change your string as well. Consult your rental agreement for more information. For more severe damage, you may need to take your instrument to a luthier. Please visit the Fun Stuff tab under Current Students to view some recommended violin shops in the area.
8. Here is a great article on the benefits of learning to play an instrument!