Courses  Instructors  How It Works Plans & Pricing Blog Resources 
x

Log In

Log In 
Don't have an account? Sign Up

Reset Password

Submit 
An email has been sent with instructions on how to reset your password.

Sign Up For Free

Then join a course

Continue 
Already have an account? Log In

What Makes for Effective Violin Lessons

violin lessonsViolin lessons: the phrase conjures up dreary black-and-white images of young boys, violin cases in hand, dressed in thick wool suits. They’re being bundled off to visit a stern maestro who might as well be a doctor!  And isn’t that what violin lessons are? A series of check-ups? If you’re pronounced healthy after enough of these sessions, you emerge as a better violinist!

I haven’t known very many violinists who kept playing after lessons like that.  A great violin teacher should be like a personal trainer, and the lessons should be like sessions at the best-equipped health club. There are shiny machines filling every corner of the main room, with smaller rooms adjoining. Each of these smaller rooms has specialty equipment to work various parts of the body. And the trainer knows the ins and outs of all this equipment.

When you go to your violin lessons, you’re bringing yourself as you are. It’s not important that you play your absolute best at your lessons (although we all desperately want to put our best foot forward), because your violin teacher will be able to assess your progress no matter what. He’ll remember what you worked on in the last lesson, and should let you know what kind of progress you made on those issues. Some of them, of course, will be long-term projects that you weren’t meant to solve in just a week. But many issues are smaller ones that the two of you can “check off” the next week: a certain bow stroke, a shift, a new fingering pattern, a question of posture.

The feeling of accomplishment you get when your teacher says, “Great work since your last lesson, you really solved x, y and z” is enormous. It’s also necessary for your overall progress. It’s simply impossible for most people to stay motivated over the long term without achieving goals along the way. You may think of your violin lessons only over the long term: a helpful part of your progress or a necessary evil in your life! But think of them also as individual lessons. In this way, you begin to focus your preparation for each violin lesson.  

 

Watch Nathan's Free Violin Lessons

Think about your current violin lessons: do you simply try to play your piece a little better than you did last time? That’s a vague goal, and there’s no way to say whether you achieved it or not. A personal trainer would never try to motivate you that way! She wouldn’t say, “please try to lift a little more weight next time!” She would give you numbers to shoot for, and at the next session, you’d feel real accomplishment at hitting those numbers. Now, as violinists, we don’t usually have numbers for our progress.  But it’s important in each of your violin lessons for your teacher to spell out what you should work on, and what kind of progress he expects for the next lesson.

That’s why effective violin lessons include a practice plan for each challenge that comes up. If you’re not sure how to work on something that your violin teacher points out as a weakness, then ask! Make your violin teacher demonstrate not only how to play it, but how to work on it. Remember the analogy of the personal training sessions.  You’d fire a trainer who tried to motivate you just by lifting the weight she wanted you to lift. You’d insist on a plan from her, including how many reps at how much weight, and for how many days per week. Violin lessons don’t need to be quite so exact as that, but they shouldn’t be far off!  

When you go home from after a violin lesson, you should be excited about the plan the two of you have made for the next week. You should have plenty of exercises with which to hit the problem from different angles, in case one doesn’t pan out. And you should have a realistic idea of which challenges you can expect to master in a week, and which will take longer than that. When you make each of your violin lessons count, your progress will surprise both you and your violin teacher.

- Nathan Cole

Related Violin Blogs:

Find out more about violin lessons online from Nathan Cole at www.nathanviolin.com  

online violin lessons

X

Affordable Plans

Each subscription is for a single school. Pricing and features can vary slightly per school.

$35
1 Month membership
renews monthly
Unlimited Access to Lessons
Unlimited Video Exchanges
Exclusive Content
Forums
$35/month (prepaid)
$90
3 Month membership
renews every 3 months
Unlimited Access to Lessons
Unlimited Video Exchanges
Exclusive Content
Forums
$30/month (prepaid)
$240
12 Month membership
renews every 12 months
Unlimited Access to Lessons
Unlimited Video Exchanges
Exclusive Content
Forums
$20/month (prepaid)
X