Frequently Asked Questions

 

This is a list of brief answers to some of the most common questions I hear from new and prospective violin students. Please contact me by email to schedule a meeting if you would like to talk further before signing up for trial lessons.

 

Please also read about the Suzuki Method of violin instruction at the SAA website, www.suzukiassociation.org, and discuss it with your family.

 

  1. Instrument. You do not need a violin before your very first lesson. When it is time to get a violin for your child, please ONLY rent or buy from the approved list of violin shops (listed on right). Consider that renting a higher quality instrument makes every part of the process easier and more enjoyable for you and your child! Your teacher may reject an instrument that is unacceptable. Low quality instruments are difficult to play, tune, and maintain, and do not make a pleasing sound!
    If you already have a violin, please do not let your child experiment with it before lessons begin. Only practice the specific assignments your teacher gives you, resist the urge to push forward and learn on your own in the beginning.
  2. Listening. Start listening to the reference recordings right away! (Suzuki Violin Book 1 and 2) Surrounding your child with good quality music, and especially music they will be learning to play, is vital to their success.
  3. Suggested reading: Nurtured by Love by S. Suzuki; Building Violin Skills by Edmund Sprunger; Ability Development from Age Zero, by S. Suzuki; Helping Parents Practice, by Edmund Sprunger
  4. Observation Observing the lessons of other students is highly encouraged. Please ask your teacher what days and times are best for you to come and observe.
  5. Home Teacher Both parents are encouraged to participate with the child on this journey. One parent or guardian must act as the home practice parent, and take on the duties of daily practicing with the child, as well as attending all lessons, individual and group, and taking notes during those lessons for reference during practice. This continues at least for the first year, and much longer if the child is very young.
  6. Group Instruction Group classes are offered separately from the individual lessons at The Center, and are highly recommended by Kimberly. Group learning is a vital part of Suzuki instruction for many reasons. It is very motivating to the students to play music with their peers. Teamwork and valuable ensemble skills are emphasized, as well as music theory and aural (listening) skills. Often we will perform as a group during recitals. Students at the home studio have these group lessons already included in their tuition cost.
  7. Lesson Length New students will be signed up for 30-minute lessons, and students are moved to longer lessons later in their studies. With very young students, (3 -5 years old) part of the lesson is spent teaching the parent. Usually, students move to a 45-minute lesson when they are learning pieces in mid-to-late Book 1, and starting music theory and note-reading.
  8. How do I know if my child is ready? Every child is different, and readiness to begin instrumental lessons can vary for different ages. Some children are ready to begin at three or four years of age. They can follow directions, focus for short periods and practice at home willingly. It can be a joyful experience because it is something the child wants to do. If your child is not ready yet, wait and let maturity come naturally. There is no hurry to begin! In general, these things are necessary in order to begin:
    Enthusiastic interest in learning to play.
    Ability to concentrate and focus on learning a task.
    Willingness to take instruction from the teacher and parent.
    Enough time in the parent and child’s schedules to devote to study an instrument.
  9. Is my child too old to start? Since all children are unique, the time for each child to begin varies. Students may start at any age! Even adults can study Suzuki method. Dr. Suzuki said, “Let’s begin, for you are younger today than you will be tomorrow.”

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8509 Bentridge Lane  Henrico, VA 23229 (map)

(804) 658-9804

About Kimberly Ryan Studio

Kimberly Ryan is an award-winning performer and dedicated teacher of the viola and violin. Since 2000, Kimberly has maintained a vibrant studio of over 30 students in Richmond, Virginia, offering both Suzuki and traditional methods for all  levels and ages.