Violin, fiddle, and mandolin lessons

Interested in learning music?

I’ve taught violin lessons in the Grand Rapids, Michigan area for quite a few years.  The great thing is that I’ve taught students of all ages (four years to adult), and I have had success with doing so. In addition to violin lessons, I also teach fiddle and mandolin.

My students have a history of receiving ones and high twos at solo and ensembles, and being section leaders in their respective ensembles at school.

My teaching style I think is quite adaptive and strategic to each student’s needs and wants.  Some come to me with some playing experience and are very goal-oriented.  I find these students tend to be easier to push.

Others come to me and are just starting out and just want to learn violin for fun (it CAN be fun, trust me).   No matter what the student’s goals are, I do like to incorporate different styles of music into my lessons.  Even from a technical standpoint, there is a lot of value to be had from playing a cover or movie song that a student knows but it allows us to work on say tone product or correct bowing.

Often though, those types of songs already have a built in emotiveness within the student, and they are really quite useful for developing musicality and phrasing.

Plus, using outside tunes also increases the level of engagement and attentiveness of most students.  Learning technique every day and long exercises and pieces can be tedious at times, it’s nice to be able to have a change of pace.

Technical exercises that I teach:

I start with All for Strings or Essential Elements (I do prefer All For Strings), then we progress to longer etudes such as Wolfhart and Kayser, then to exercises by Sevcik and Kreutzer, then to more advanced etudes such as Dont and Fiorillo.

As far as repertoire, I do like to be working on longer pieces as soon as the student is able to.  This builds stamina and experience.

How long and how often are lessons?

I teach half an hour ($25) or hour ($40) lessons.  I prefer hour long lessons as after thirty minutes, you’re barely warmed up.  With an hour, we can make quite a bit of headway.

Weekly or bi-weekly lessons are normal.  Again, I do prefer weekly as consistency is vital to learning an instrument well.  If you were looking to do bi-weekly lessons, I would strongly recommend against only half an hour lessons.

Where can you get a violin?

Shar Music has some great options, and so does Meyer Music.  For beginners, I recommend a rental (especially for young students who are still growing), and Meyer Music is local and has good service.

What do I teach?

I teach both Irish fiddle and classical violin.  I do teach some beginner mandolin, but as a rule, I mostly stick to teaching violin and fiddle.

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