2019 Back-To-School Violin Tips
It’s officially September and Back-To-School season is underway. Every year I get excited for the potential that my students have when they play and perform their violins!
For parents reading this post, Back-To-School can be overwhelming also. With regular supplies like the standard notebooks, pencil case, and textbooks, those are pretty easy to figure out because they’re one-size-fits-all supplies. With the violin, getting the wrong item or not getting the right violin teacher can slow the process down for you or your child. Here are a list of suggestions to make sure that you are starting the 2019-2020 calendar year right:
Get a qualified violin teacher
If you already have an awesome violin teacher, then you can skip this step. That means you’re already ahead of the game!
This point is number one for a reason. If you’re a new student or a parent searching for a violin teacher for their child, it’s important that you find a teacher with a music education background or performance degree from a credited institution. (this information goes for non violin students also)
Even starting the search for someone with a pedagogy degree can help narrow the search in your area.
You’ve found a great violin teacher in your area, excellent! The next step is to make sure that this teacher is a good fit for you or your child. I highly recommend any new student to have what’s called a Trial Lesson. Trial lessons are exactly what they sound like, you’re having a sample lesson with the teacher to make sure that it will be a good fit between the two parties.
You’ll be investing your time, energy, and hard earned dollars for violin lessons. You want to make sure that your teacher is transparent, and is dedicated to your goals.
SUPPLIES, the dreaded “s’ word for parents and students. For the parent reading this, it means budgeting for the extra costs associated with violin lessons.I’m going to make it simple for you by providing this list of supplies you absolutely must get:
1. Sheet Music/Books
2. Extra set of strings
4. Correct violin and bow size from a reliable rental shop in your area.
These four things should get you going and are pretty much the bare minimum of what you need for the school year. Talk to your teacher as to what kind of books you should get. If you already bought sheet music/books in the past, there’s a likely chance you can check that off your list.
In regards to violin strings, they can get really expensive really fast if you don’t know what you’re shopping for. I recommend my students Pirastro Tonica violin strings because they’re in the $35-$40 range (as of the date of this article), they feel nice under the finger when press down on the finger board, they have consistent tuning stability, and the strings sound great for the price. Talk to your teacher about what which strings might sound the best for your instrument. Many rental shops prepare the violin rentals with new strings so you may not have to purchase them anyway. If you purchased your instrument, you’ll be responsible for the strings that you buy.
Also, selecting the right size violin is important so you can prevent injuries (yes, violinists can get injuries). Make sure to consult with the experts at the rental shops to discuss how big or how small your violin should be.
As an extra tip, another thing you could ask your violin teacher about is violin set up. What does that mean exactly? Different teachers and pedagogues come from different schools of learning how to play the violin. There are many traditions and not just one way to play. Some teachers prefer to play without a shoulder rest or they might like to use a sponge instead of a traditional should rest. That’s what I mean when I say that playing the violin is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor. Ask your teacher to get started on the right foot.
Of course there is a lot information out there and many more questions you can ask, but at least with this article you can have a basic idea of how to start the school year right! Comment below if you have any questions or thoughts!