Waiting time and maternity leave
As it stands, there will be a wait for new families until at least March/April 2022.
As I am expecting a 2nd child in mid October, lessons for my current pupils will be stopping around that time and resuming after the February half term. Currently, I have 30 pupils and several siblings of current pupils wanting to start. I am keeping my waitlist very minimal at the moment, because I will need time to adjust to managing a busy studio again after my leave.
However, if you are very keen to start (and happy to wait!) please get in touch to arrange observations from end of February.
In the meantime, I recommend reading up on the Suzuki method. Christine Goodner's book 'Habits of successful Suzuki families' is a great place to start. You can also be doing lots of listening with your child. Lots of classical music plus of course the Suzuki repertoire starting with Books 1-4. After that you can continue listening to books 5-10
Downloadable here https://www.amazon.co.uk/Suzuki-Violin-School-Vol-1/dp/B08KKYK9JV
Step 1: Fill out an Enquiry Form
Step 2: Regularly observe individual and group lessons
Observation is for the benefit of parents, children and teacher.
You are potentially going to be having lessons with me for several years (usually 8-10 years... sometimes longer!), so we all need to be sure it is going to be the right fit. Enjoy the process. Your journey has begun. This time of quiet observation will be incredibly valuable. Consider these observations to be free lessons! When the time comes to start you and your child will be prepared and excited to start.
Step 3: Listen
Listen daily to Suzuki Violin Volume 1. You can also start listening to Books 2, 3 and 4 too.
Before your child has a lesson, they should be able to sing all the pieces in Book 1.
Step 4: Waiting List
Please continue to observe until a slot becomes available.
Nurtured by Love, Suzuki
Helping Parents Practice, Ed Sprunger
In the lesson.....
Observe the role of Suzuki parent in the lesson. Most of the time, parents are quietly taking notes. I suggest parents write down everything I say. Also take plenty of videos and pictures so you have a very clear idea what to work on at home.
Observe the language and atmosphere I set in the lesson. My approach is light-hearted and encouraging but focused. My expectation is that parents give the lesson and child their full attention in lessons. Please put phones on silent and use only to take pictures/videos.
I also give honest, specific praise after a child plays to me. I encourage parents to do the same. There is always something to praise that the child is doing well. I then choose one achievable thing to work on in a positive way.
Observe how I use games in the lessons for repeating tricky spots in the pieces, learning new concepts or working on particular techniques. Your job at home will be to try and recreate the atmosphere in the lesson (lighthearted but focused).
At home, it would be useful if you could carve out 15-20 minutes of time without any distractions (which would become your practice time) to listen to the Suzuki CD and play some musical games. Ask me for ideas.
A message to observing children
I know you will be itching to get your hands on a violin yourself and may be wondering why you can't just start now!
Just know that what you learn before you start lessons will help you become a fine musician. The first thing you will understand is that you can't just pick up a violin and play.
There are lots of little steps to master before you put bow to string.
For example, there is a particular way to stand and a very special way of holding the bow. The violin has to learn to sit on your shoulder without being held tightly in your hand.
Musicians have to get very good at breaking problems down into little steps. Watch the children who are having lessons and see how we make tricky things easier. You can try making a bow hold on a pencil while you watch. Show me at the end of the lesson. I would love to see what you are picking up from the children you are watching!
I like to do things really properly from the beginning so that you won't be disappointed when you do get to play the violin.
It is very much like learning a language. Before you learned to speak, you listened - and watched and listened and listened some more!
I look forward to getting to know you more throughout your observation period.
When will my child be ready?
Throughout your observation period I will get a really good idea whether your child is developmentally ready to start learning the violin. If they can observe quietly and calmly for about 10 minutes, this is a great sign. If they continue to watch with interest over the course of several weeks, even better.
Don't worry if their interest is up and down. This will certainly happen after you have started lessons too.
Expect that there will be ups and downs. Continue to stimulate their interest by playing the recordings every day, carving out time daily for practice, listening to famous violinists on YouTube, going to concerts and showing excitement in their learning. The single biggest motivator for children is being able to play well, so if you stick to your daily practice routine like GLUE, it will be very rewarding for you both.
Very often I am approached by parents who tell me their child is musical and would like to 'try the violin'. This is fantastic! However...the single most important thing is the commitment over time and daily routine established by parents.
Not whether your child has innate or natural musicality. I personally believe and have experienced that every child can develop talent.
New families observe a minimum of 5 lessons. Sometimes I advise a longer observation period.
Parents need to have read Nurtured by Love, by Suzuki before starting lessons.
Please note that you are not guaranteed a slot by observing.