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Violin Lessons for Young Children

Violin Lessons for Young Children: The Parents Role

Ah the violin – it is hard to believe that an instrument that can sound so sweet in the hands of a maestro

can produce such blood-curdling screeches when played by the novice. I truly admire the parent willing

to sign their young child up for violin lessons, and even more the parent who sticks with it once they are

subjected to sounds of little fingers trying to manipulate one of the most difficult instruments ever

invented. If you are one these brave souls, please be encouraged that, with the right support, beautiful

violin playing is possible from the very beginning. But it takes the right kind of parental support.

With children as young as age three now regularly learning violin, it is important that parents

understand how they can make a difference in their child’s violin lessons. Once you have found a great

violin teacher, gotten an appropriate instrument, bought the books, the music stand and set up the

practice area, it may seem that your work is done, but in fact, it is just beginning.

A good violin teacher can show you how to assist in the home practice with extremely technical

challenges from bowing, to intonation to playing the correct notes and rhythms. Any normal person

would be intimidated by such as assignment if they themselves have never played violin, but have no

fear, you can make a huge difference in your child’s practice without being able to play a note.

The trick is taking extremely detailed notes on what the violin teacher instructs (this should include

diagrams and pictures, if necessary) and then translating these activities into fun games. Keep the mood

light and as judgment-free as possible during violin practice so that your child can focus on the

challenging task at hand with a “happy mind.” For example, if the violin teacher has assigned your child

to do bowing practice each day (admittedly, a boring and potentially screechy activity) you can help your

child by having them make up a funny phrase for the rhythm of their bowing (“Monkeys throw bananas”

or “salamanders swimming”) then make a game out of how many times they can keep the bow straight.

Maybe they can catch a goldfish cracker in their mouth after 10 correct bowings.

Another huge contribution parents can make is initiating exposure to great violin playing. This should be

done in the form of playing recordings of the music they are working on, recording of great music and

attending concerts. Fortunately there are now many kid-friendly opportunities for listening to music

from symphony family days to blue-grass festivals. Learning to play music is exactly like learning to

speak a language fluently: Immersion is the best (and possibly the only) way to ensure the learner gains

a strong grasp of sound they are trying to produce.

Finally, help your child set and achieve meaningful goals on a regular basis. At the very least they should

be performing in two violin recitals per year. Even better would be a weekly performance for the whole

family that is a standing appointment to allow your child to bask in the glow of everyone’s love and

appreciation. Allow your child to play pieces they know well so that they will have a high likelihood of

success and will judge themselves to be fine musicians. In any performance situation it is critical that we

refrain from critical comments. If the child knows unequivocally that their playing will be appreciated

for the effort they have put in they will be free of fear of mistakes and therefore more likely to

concentrate on the extremely complex task of playing beautiful music.

Klondike Steadman is a director at Orpheus Academy of Music in Austin TX. Orpheus Academy of Music

is an after-school music academy offering private lessons and group classes in Guitar, Piano, Violin and

Voice to students of all ages. For more information please visit www.orpheusacademy.com

Dr. Steadman Owner

Orpheus Academy

Music Lessons in Austin, Texas with Piano, Guitar, Voice and Music Camps
Orpheus Academy 3918 Austin, TX 78731
(512) 231-8999
(512) 354-3922