Though the violin used to be thought of as an instrument for the lower classes, today it is highly regarded and respected as a difficult instrument to learn. Until recently this might have put off some potential violinists, but it seems the violin is changing it's image! The ‘girl band with a difference’, Bond, is a string quartet who has sold more than 4 million records. The members of Bond are Tania Davis (first violin, from Australia), Eos Chater (second violin, from Cardiff), Elspeth Hanson (viola, from Upper Basildon,) and Gay-Yee Westerhoff (cello, from Hull). The violin has become more accessible and trendy – Bond even played ‘I am a Walrus’ with Russell Brand at the 2012 Olympics Closing Ceremony. So, you never know where violin lessons might take your child!
What should you be thinking about to help you choose the right violin teacher for your child?
Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music – an internationally recognised education body based in London that provides examinations in music.
Trinity Guildhall -Trinity College London
LCM Examinations – a department of the London College of Music within the University of West London.
The National College of Music- specialises in external examinations in music and speech subjects in centres throughout the UK and in some countries overseas.
Graded music examinations; Grades 1–8, practical and theory.
There is no minimum qualification required to teach music at home. However, passing grade 8 practical and at least grade 5 theory will indicate an acceptable level of competence regarding playing ability and musical knowledge. A Music Degree would be advantageous.
Playing the violin is relaxing, improves co-ordination, concentration and self-discipline.There are many chances to play the violin in groups. Every orchestra has a violin section and practising with other children is more fun and improves a child’s social skills. Performing in front of others, while daunting at first, can gradually increase a child’s confidence and this skill can be transferred to many other situations, for example, presenting projects in school, reading aloud in class, taking part in school performances, etc.
Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955) – The Physicist who won a Nobel Prize in 1921, known for his theories of relativity and gravitation played the piano and the violin.
Meryl Streep (born June 22, 1949) - The most Academy Award nominated actress who is known from her roles in memorable films like Kramer vs. Kramer and Sophie's Choice plays the violin.
To portray Sherlock in the BBC's series, Benedict Cumberbatch (born July 19, 1976) had to play the violin – but didn't know how. Violinist (from string quartet ‘Bond’) Eos Chater was hired to coach him.
Vanessa Mae (Born in Singapore on October 27, 1978) started studying the violin when she was just 5 years old. At the age of 10 she performed with London's Philharmonic Orchestra. By 13 years old she had already recorded and released 3 albums. Vanessa Mae helped make the violin seem more accessible and familiar to a younger audience as she successfully fused classical music with pop.
I started playing the violin when I was 10 (year 5) at lunchtimes everyday and practised many many times at school, this is because many of my classmates played the violin and they could play really well. In year 6 I had a really passion for music and my violin especially after I played it in a concert in front of most of my school! It was very scary and made me worried but all my friends gave me encouragement and hope which helped a lot during my part in the concert! I hope you are inspired by my experience. :)
I have been playing the violin for a year. I started it because my friends were and I thought it would be fun. I really like it because it’s quite easy and you learn lots of things about music and it helps with music lessons if you can read music. The only bad thing about it is it is sometimes difficult to find the notes. Also I have my first exam coming up so I am very nervous!
I have been taking violin lessons for 4 years. I tried it because it was on offer at school and liked it. It wasn’t easy to start with but it soon got easier and it is worth all the practice when you can show your friends and family the new tunes you have learnt. I am learning new things all the time and I am making good progress. Playing the violin has meant that I have been able to join a band at school so I have met lots of new people. I have learnt not to be afraid to make mistakes because that is part of learning.
I started taking violin lessons at school when I was 7 years old mainly because a lot of my friends were, but then I found out that I really enjoyed it. Now I think I am quite good at it but I could definitely improve – you learn something new in every lesson! It is quite a difficult instrument to learn and the scales are tricky to remember but if you keep practising it does get easier and it helps make music lessons at school easier too. If you are thinking about trying to learn the violin I would say go for it! Anyone can start music at any age – it’s never too late.
I love playing the violin!