My middle son and I share a special bond through our mutual love for the violin. After a bit of self doubt, I am now his tutor. I have special time with all my boys each day but violin is our special time to sit down and have some good classical fun together. Its also time for me to help develop his love of music. Making this step wasn't easy as I scoured the internet for a proper tutor. Which method would be best and how much time and money should I devote to beginner training? That's when a very late night internet search pointed me to this amazing page: A Treble Maker. Such a great website for some quick tips & training ideas for those brave parents who are delving into the world of teaching their child piano or violin. I have bookmarked this particular page as my "go to" before each lesson just to refresh what I need to accomplish each day. Having a plan, as with anything, makes things more enjoyable but not perfect. I also don't follow each detail to theT but it is a great blueprint to creating an intro music lesson that flows like Debussy. There are always going to be those sporadic boy breakouts into silly songs & fidgety fingers but our goal is to learn a bit and have a bunch of fun.
I'm no musical professional myself but have had years of expert training which at this stage qualifies me to attempt at introducing and teaching a child his first violin lessons. If only for the time together, teaching your child a skill, craft, or art form is an invaluable memory you will both always share.
How many mothers have said to me, "I signed my child up for this class and they refuse to go"? They will tell me that their child really liked it at first but completely lost interest halfway through and they lost out on all paid fees, deposits, and etc... We've avoided this and saved a bit of cash with music lessons by tapping into our own past skills to train our children at the beginning stages of their musical education.
You thinking about teaching your child music at home? If you have atleast moderate musical experience, you can offer this as introductory lessons for your child. It doesn't have to be forever so give you and your child some goals and then monitor their progress. It takes time and commitment on both parts but if you make the choice you absolutely can do it. Give it a go!
Ready to start? Here are simple tips for making the most out of home lessons:
1. Let your child show interest in the chosen instrument or at the very least, they should be receptive to your questioning them about taking it up as a hobby. The worst thing you can do is force a child.
2. There is no golden age or method. You start when they are ready & honestly interested in the instrument of choice. Choose a method that works for both the parent & child. Any route you choose will require practice in order to improve.
3. In the beginning, always use a plan, timer and a reward chart just to keep track of progress & practice time. Children love visual rewards so use this along with stickers to show then what hard work they have put into musical training. It motivates them to keep trying!
4. Set a reasonable time limit for each lesson. Have a break in the middle & offer a snack with water as well. You won't get lasting results with a tired or cranky child who has been overextended.
My very edited typical lesson:
Musical coloring sheet together.
Violin care/Resin bow.
Parts of instrument
Llama bows (see above sure for llama details) & have llama hand pick up bow several times
Play me a string & name the note
Snack/water in middle
Silly wriggle time/finger exercises
Total time: 30 min. (including 5-10 for snack, break & bathroom)
5. Purchase used instruments & clean them well. You don't need a Stradivarius or a Steinway to create good music. Find second hand ones in the paper, at garage sales, online classified ads, or local music store. You will feel less guilty if your don't spend a furtune upfront and only upgrade when needed.
6. With little ones, stress correct form practices. At the piano- sit up straight. Rounded hands. Violin- Apply a light yet controlled grip on your bow. Put away instrument. Push in your chair/stool. These may seem trivial but proper form translates no matter who their teacher will be in the future.