My Child Gets Violin Lessons At School - Is That Enough?
Learning to play the violin is one of those skills that enhance every part of a child’s development. Music instruction has been shown to improve both reading and math comprehension, it builds upper body strength and excellent posture, and it helps children cultivate group participation skills in a way that few other activities provide. A music ensemble must play in harmony to create a pleasing melody.
And although in recent years, public and private schools have broadened their music instruction to include a variety of stringed instruments, many parents wonder if the lessons received in a school setting offer enough practice and learning time for their child. With 15-20 other students in class, it may seem that personal instruction isn’t at the level you think your child needs, especially if you believe that your child has a gift for the instrument.
If this is something that has concerned you, you’re not alone. However, not all children advance in the same way, and we all have different learning styles. So, to understand whether or not violin lessons at school are enough for your child, ask yourself some of these questions. They can help you determine if additional private instruction will be an asset for your child.
What is the current class size?
If your child is taking an orchestra or stringed instrument class every day at school, then it’s likely that the lessons received in that setting are adequate. Small classes like these offer targeted teaching and are able to help children build their playing skills in a setting that promotes group unity.
Yet, if the class contains more than 30 kids, it can be difficult to get the one-on-one instruction your child needs. Check on the class size to determine whether additional lessons, perhaps a weekly or bi-weekly schedule, will help.
Even if school lessons are plenty, you may want to go ahead and find out about summer lessons. Continuing to practice and receive instruction during the summer months is a great way to enhance learning.
Speak with your child’s teacher
Music teachers are fantastic, and their industry knowledge is invaluable when trying to ascertain whether your child will benefit from private lessons. Don’t be afraid of offending, your child’s teacher wants all the students to succeed and will be more than happy to discuss things that will help to improve your child’s performance.
What’s your student’s level of enthusiasm?
This is a very important factor. If your daughter comes home each day ready to practice her favorite songs or will practice for hours trying to master a particular measure of music, her playing will most likely blossom under the tutelage and assistance of a private instructor.
Conversely, if your child is constantly neglecting the violin for other activities, you may want to explore the reason. He or she may have discovered that there isn’t any passion for playing, and in that case, private lessons will be a waste. However, if the lack of interest is caused by confusion or poor performance but your child still loves to try, scheduling private lessons may be exactly what’s needed to create a complete change in attitude.
It is almost universally natural to want to excel at any undertaking. However, if your child doesn’t get the personal help he or she needs to make progress in a school setting, feelings of discouragement can come out as a lack of enthusiasm, when really your child just wishes he played better. You might do a little research and have your child speak to a teacher about lessons. If he or she seems receptive and excited, odds are that the school setting simply isn’t meeting his or her needs.
A few words about finding a private instructor
If you have decided to add some private instruction to your child’s violin training, finding a great instructor will depend a lot on your location. However, one of the best methods is to approach your child’s school teacher first. Often, teaching professionals will offer summer schedules for private lessons, or the teacher will know of another person who provides full-time lessons.
You can also speak with your trusted instrument dealer or violin shop. These individuals are connected with other industry professionals in the area and can often give you a list of people to contact.
Choosing whether or not to enhance the violin teaching your child receives at school with private lessons is a personal decision; and one that largely depends on your personal circumstances. However, you can make an informed judgement by understanding the current teaching environment and how your child feels about it. Additional lessons may be exactly what your child needs.