It’s almost impossible to have lived this long without receiving some form of formal education. While we all sat in classrooms to receive lectures, it became evident that all teachers weren’t the same. Some impacted knowledge, others didn’t.

You’ve probably experienced having a good instructor, likewise a bad one. Thus, you know what it means to have a bad teacher. But the question is, do you know how to find a good one?

In a country like Nigeria where music is celebrated, there are umpteen credible music tutors capable of improving your playing. But you must be strategic in your search for a violin teacher. This article seeks to discuss qualities to consider when searching for an experienced violin tutor.

The Different Techniques for Learning Violin

There are different methods of teaching the violin. As a prospective violinist, it’s advisable to know the most popular techniques taught by violin teachers. Here are the three most used ones implemented in violin lessons:

“There is music in the air, music all around us; the world is full of it, and you simply take as much as you require.”

- Edward Elgar, English Composer.

violin lessons
Music reading requires constant practice. Photo Credit: Unsplash.
  • The Kodaly Method

Invented by the famous Zoltan Kodaly in the 1940s, the Hungarian learned to play the cello, piano, and violin without formal education. The Kodaly philosophy is that music learning is most effective at an early age and everyone can attain music literacy. The technique involves students listening to the native folk music from foreign countries. These native songs would help broaden their minds. Then they would sing, dance, and play the violin from memory to achieve music proficiency. Furthermore, students would read, as well as, compose music using hand signals, rhythmic duration syllables, and tonic sulfa.

  • The Suzuki Method

This was invented by the renowned Japanese violinist, Dr. Shinichi Suzuki. The Suzuki philosophy is that children learn their native language (L1) effortlessly. Thus, a child’s development is greatly influenced by his/her environment. The method is referred to as the “Talent Education Movement”. Here, children start learning to play the violin at age 2 or 3. Before real violin lessons begin, however, they would be exposed to popular violin recordings and pieces they would learn in the future. These recordings would be played while the kids are at school. It’s believed that kids would develop musical ears, detect changes in tone, timing, and pitch.

  • The Traditional Method

The mid-eighteenth century marked the production of violin instruction materials. Francesco Geminiani’s book covered bowing, fingering, and scales. For this method, a child must be 5 years or older to take violin lessons from a tutor. This technique emphasizes note reading as against Suzuki’s rote learning technique.

"Information is not knowledge. Knowledge is not wisdom. Wisdom is not truth. Truth is not beauty. Beauty is not love. Love is not music. Music is the best."

- Frank Zappa, American Singer and Composer.

learn the violin
Find someone with a flexible teaching style. Photo Credit: Unsplash.
  • Self-study: this is the least expensive way to learn the violin but not the most productive. There are tons of useful music materials and video tutorials online that can speed up your progress. You need extra discipline and determination to practise and study consistently as there’s no music teacher to motivate or monitor you. YouTube is resourceful for independent learning and there are umpteen tutorial videos for beginners, mid-level, and professional violinists.
  • Group learning: this is less expensive than hiring a private music teacher, but it eliminates the luxury of personalized learning. However, learning in groups initiates social interaction, boosts confidence, and creates an environment for healthy learning. You would meet more experienced violin students willing to teach you playing techniques and tricks. There are many music schools in Nigeria that offer group tuition.
  • Online lessons: this eliminates the need for a physical classroom, as music learning is virtual. This option allows you to learn from top violin teachers residing in other countries. This is recommended if you have a strong internet connection and an internet-enabled device. Data is affordable in Nigeria and electricity is relatively available.
  • Private lessons: this is your best bet at personalized music learning. Private Lessons is the conventional music learning method practised by most prospective violinists. Though it’s expensive for the average-earning Nigerian, the knowledge and experience you would gain are invaluable. One-on-one music lessons are best suited for kids and teenage students but recommended to all.

"You have to, take a deep breath. and allow the music to flow through you. Revel in it, allow yourself to awe. When you play allow the music to break your heart with its beauty."

- Kelly White.

Why Should You Hire a Violin Tutor?

Before hiring a violin instructor, have milestones you want to achieve with the music lessons you intend taking. This would determine the type of music teacher you would hire. For instance, if you have a concert to play in a couple of weeks, enrolling for group tuition would be inappropriate. Rather, paying for short-term private tuition would prove effective.

Many have given up playing the violin because of the difficulty that comes with its mastery. The majority would have struggled less had there been a good teacher present to simplify the learning curve. If this isn’t enough reason to hire a tutor, consider the umpteen online music materials with garbage content in them. It takes a professional to recommend educative music books devoid of ambiguous explanations.

Furthermore, a violin teacher serves as your voice of reasoning. S/he would detect mistakes, correct your posture, and give honest feedback when needed. Also, you need external motivation when you feel like giving up. A good tutor isn’t only someone who imparts knowledge but one capable of motivating and inspiring his students.

“A man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of his life, in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful which God has implanted in the human soul.”

― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, German Poet.

how to learn the violin
Some of the violin methods include the kodaly, traditional, and suzuki methods. Photo Credit: Unsplash.

Finding the Perfect Violin Tutor for Music Lessons

Nothing beats hiring an experienced tutor. This is because some of the most talented violinists have difficulty imparting knowledge to their students. You need someone with years of teaching experience, professionalism, patience, and a proven record of teaching success. A bachelors degree from a professional Nigerian music school is enough.

  • Networking

Inquire from friends, music stores, violin students, music schools if they have music tutors they can recommend to you. The best recommendations often come from school music teachers.

  • Local Concerts

Attend local recitals and school concerts; lookout for excellent players and inquire who their teachers are. If there’s a pro symphony group, watch them perform at concerts. If you’re impressed, ask if there’s a teaching studio open for enrollment.

  • Compare Rates

Hiring the most expensive music teacher doesn’t imply that you’d have the best learning experience. Compare the rates of other tutors to have an idea of what you need. You might experience tremendous success with a university music student as your tutor. A university student would charge less and might have a better teaching style than a 45-year-old music teacher.

  • Teaching Style

It’s one thing to be knowledgeable and another to impact knowledge. While anyone can learn to play the violin, only a few can teach it. As discussed earlier, music teachers employ different violin teaching methods. Find a tutor with matching energy, one with an intriguing, commendable, and flexible teaching style. Ask your prospective music tutor if you could attend one of his classes to assess his teaching style. If he refuses, request a trial lesson. On Superprof, for instance, most teachers offer their first lesson free to enable you to assess their styles, before making a commitment.

  • Surf the Web

Tutors are only a click away from you. There are tons of online tuitions platforms you can check, like the superprof platform for  Nigerians. Our platform has verified music tutors you can interview and make arrangements with, whether online or one-on-one. Check reviews from past students to have an idea of what to expect.

“Music is a proud, temperamental mistress. Give her the time and attention she deserves, and she is yours. Slight her and there will come a day when you call and she will not answer. So I began sleeping less to give her the time she needed.”

― Patrick Rothfuss, American Writer.

How to Secure a Healthy Learning Environment for You

  • If you’re hiring an online music tutor, find one with detailed and convincing positive reviews.
  • Search for someone with B.A. in Music or other music certification. Also, ensure s/he has some years of violin teaching experience.
  • If you’re hiring a private tutor for your child, don’t drop off your kid at the tutor’s house. Besides monitoring your child’s progress, be present when lessons are going on.

There’s the genius, the intelligent, and the average student. All would learn at different paces. What matters is who teaches them, how enjoyable the is class, and the teaching style that’s adopted. Besides having a good violin tutor, the student must be passionate, hardworking, and patient. Either you choose to learn independently or hire a tutor is up to you.

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