SOME THOUGHTS AND AN OFFERING FOR AMATEUR ADULT STRING STUDENTS
What led me to this new offer?
Well, it’s been a process. It has evolved from personal experience as well as my long-standing career in music teaching. Please… read on.
MY (MUSICAL) JOURNEY
I was incredibly fortunate that my musical studies growing up were filled with variety: several teachers, two different countries, two different languages, different methodologies and pedagogical practices, on two different instruments. While I often went back to the same violin teacher whenever I spent 2-month summer holidays in Hungary, when back in Canada I had a variety of different teachers. I enjoyed the different personalities and perspectives my teachers had on how they taught. I was of course very lucky to be growing up in a busy urban setting in Southern Ontario where there were plenty of teachers to go to and plenty of cultural events to experience.
While I was studying in university, I was surrounded by other musicians, multiple rehearsals a week, and academic classes besides private instruction which helped me improve and keep me accountable. I had access to practice rooms and was expected to perform in recitals, orchestra concerts, even play in the opera orchestra pit.
I now live in a culturally thriving, and exciting city in another region of Canada (Alberta), but it is surrounded by an immense amount of countryside and small communities. I am filled with admiration for violin and viola enthusiasts who don’t have the advantages I took for granted as a music student.
There are so many regions where there is a lack of access to music teachers.
A few years ago (before the pandemic), I had a drop-in beginner adult student who worked in the oil fields of Northern Alberta. While he was away at work he practised when he could and came to me whenever he was back in town, often trying to squeeze in multiple lessons during the weeks he was off. Around the same time, I had a young student whose family drove over an hour from their small town for his violin lessons. I even had a student in the military who lived on an army base, who drove about an hour into town for her lessons. The dedication of long-distance learners to musical studies never ceases to amaze me!
Like many music teachers, I never even considered online lessons as a viable long-term option until the pandemic. But the situation opened our eyes to the possibilities of online education, and it essentially forced us private music teachers to add even more tools to our ever-growing toolbox. Plus, it’s just so exciting to now be teaching students from everywhere and anywhere!
I have now taught students who live in Calgary, Southern Ontario, Los Angeles, and even the United Kingdom, and have helped them achieve goals that they struggled with before signing up with me.
Online lessons might not be for everyone, but it can certainly provide a fantastic solution for many people, especially those who live or work in rural areas, such as the students I wrote about earlier. What if there is only one violin teacher in town but their studio is bursting at the seams? Or what if they only work with certain age groups, or only use one method that might not work for you?
Are you, perhaps, an adult student who feels a bit isolated in your commitment to, and enthusiasm for learning a stringed instrument? Do your family members or friends find your dedicated practising annoying or a bit of a yawn? Join an online community of like-minded musicians where you can learn together and support each other – it will work wonders, along with the convenience of simply jumping on a call from home when it’s time for a lesson.
My goal is to create that sense of routine, community, and musical fulfilment for the later beginner and intermediate violin or viola student, especially those who don’t have easy access to a great teacher nearby.
IS THIS YOU?
All too often I encounter adult students who are inspired to take up the violin or viola as a hobby, or bring it back into their lives having learned it in the past, but they find it difficult to keep the momentum going.
Or perhaps they live in a rural area where they don’t have easy access to a teacher.
Or maybe they simply think they’re too old to learn and improve. To develop a lovely tone and exciting expressive techniques like vibrato.
And most of the time, students only take one 30-minute lesson a week – and that’s it. Or even worse, drop-in lessons!
It is actually very difficult to improve quickly with only 30 minutes of class contact time. The teacher points out a problematic technical issue, but it easily creeps back in again when you’re practising on your own, making it a habit.
This cycle typically continues lesson after lesson, month after month, year after year.
Before you know it, you’re not progressing quickly and your motivation fizzles away.
University music students are surrounded by other musicians, and have multiple rehearsals, masterclasses, and academic classes a week aside from one-on-one instruction. Music schools in Europe often require students to attend two private lessons as well as musicianship classes and ensemble rehearsals every week.
What if you could surround yourself with a similar environment?
A community of like-minded musicians who learn together and support each other, under the guidance of an experienced coach, works wonders.
FOUR STRING NATION
I’d like to introduce Four String Nation!
This intensive course will help create that sense of routine, community, and musical fulfilment for the adult amateur student.
It is a rolling 3 or 6-month program whose goal is to help you gain sweeping progress with your playing technique, your sound, your tuning, your musicianship, your creativity, and other aspects of your life.
Are you ready to kick-start your musical journey?
Let’s talk about it!
Book a free assessment call with me to get the details and found out if Four String Nation is what you need and want.
(subject to change as my students’ needs change)
Four String Nation
- 3 or 6 month online intensive program
- 1 technique and musicianship class every week
- 1 general repertoire class every week
- Facebook private group for motivation within a community
- an app to help keep track of assignments and practice
- Variety of repertoire: while focused on Classical music, World/Folk/Celtic, and Jazz will also be explored. Bring ideas to the table! What music motivates and excites you?
- Use of the best methods, resources and curriculums developed in North America and Europe (Mimi Zweig, Géza Szilvay, Zoltán Kodály, Simon Fischer, and more as I’m always learning new things myself!)
- Integration of gentle physical activity into the lessons to ensure a healthy approach to your instrument
- Support and coaching for those wishing to work towards Royal Conservatory of Music examinations, or other examination boards as needed
- Theory and Musicianship fundamentals integrated throughout
- Continual check-ins for personalisation online
- Video recordings of all sessions in case you miss a class
WHO is this program for?
- you have at least one year of lessons on the violin or viola
- You have high speed internet connection (run a speed test at speedtest.net, and the numbers should be at least 10 Mbps: the higher the better!)
- you want a supportive community
- you want to see faster improvement in all aspects of your playing and musical understanding
- perhaps there is a community orchestra in your region you’d like to join with confidence – this will help you get there!
WHO is this program NOT for?
- you’re a total beginner
- you are not ready to attend regular classes
- you are too busy to commit to regular practice
- you are not interested in group sessions and learning from peers
- you are not interested in online lessons
How much does the program cost?
- This is a big investment.
- A serious investment for the right person at the right time, and will propel you forward in your musical goals.
- Let’s talk about it, as this is a serious commitment.
- The price is in the mid 4 figure range, depending on the length you commit to.