Sunday, January 17, 2016

Violin Teacher - How to Choose?

Considering getting a violin teacher for private violin lessons? You need to understand, if you have five violin teachers, each one of them is going to have five different opinions on how to do everything. So if you have a teacher who says, “Well, that’s not what I want you to do,” you must listen to your teacher and do as they say. Now you’re stuck learning violin their way.

There is an alternative. We recommend you consider a combination of both private lessons with a violin teacher as well as online violin lessons through violin videos. There is a method to learn violin online with videos. When you watch videos, you can perform the technique over and over again until it becomes a habit, until you master the technique. Because you do it so many times, it becomes a habit and then you can move onto the next video and start incorporating another technique. Wash, rinse, repeat. So you do it at your pace, not your teacher’s pace. Everyone learns differently and at a different pace. The famous violin teacher Shin’ichi Suzuki always said, “Knowledge is not skill. Knowledge plus 10,000 times creates automatic execution.” So don’t move onto learning the next technique without mastering the previous one. Knowledge plus 10,000 repetitions creates automatic execution. So you must do something so many times that you don’t have to think about it anymore.

The part of your brain called the cerebellum is responsible for muscle memory. As you program your cerebellum by performing an act over and over again, it will take over and then you don’t have to think about it. Like tying your shoes - you just do it, you don’t think about how to do it. You just know how. And the same thing applies to violin - you need to get to the point where you can just do it. That way when you’re nervous or under pressure in front of people, your training kicks in because you’ve done 10,000 repetitions and then you can do your best. Be patient, It will come. And as Yoda said, “Do or Do Not. There is No Try.” Do a little bit at a time, you will improve with each stroke. Learning to play the violin is certainly worth the effort. Don’t be in a hurry. Your skill as a violinist is a gift you give yourself that you will treasure forever.

This post inspired by R. Todd Ehle, Associate Professor of Violin at Del Mar College, Corpus Christi, Texas. If you are a violin teacher, please feel free to post your services below in the comments.

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