Catonsville Violin Studio

Private Lessons and Performances

LESSON FAQ

Where are lessons?

Lessons are at my house in the Paradise neighborhood of Catonsville, right off Edmondson Avenue and Frederick Road.  Lessons are not a "drop-off" activity.  Parents are expected to come in and be with their child, inside the studio or in the waiting area.  If siblings come please bring a quiet activity.

How much do lessons cost?

That depends on the length of your lesson (see below). Prices are extremely reasonable and competitive for Baltimore County. Please contact me for specific rates depending on the length of lesson you are interested in. Please check my Studio Policy Page.

What types of students do you accept?

Generally speaking I teach complete beginners to about book 6.  This is where I discover my strengths lie and students benefit most.  However if you are playing a Mozart or Bruch Concerto and would like a lesson to get a second opinion feel free to contact me and I am more than happy to hear you.  Around 11 or 12 I have a lot of parents sit in the hall as the students are more responsible to handle lessons themselves.  I have exceptions on younger ages.  Many parents of older students simply enjoy coming to lessons and spending time with their children.

How long are lessons?
Depending on the student’s age and needs I offer 15, 30, 45 and 60-minute lessons. 15-minute lessons are only offered to 5-year-olds.

I suggest giving lessons a year to decide if violin is something you want to pursue seriously. The first few lessons can be exciting but often the excitement of a new activity wears off and the assignments are more challenging. You and I need to find ways to constantly make things fresh for your student.

How do I pay for lessons?

Your payment is due the first lesson of each month. Depending on the month you get 4 or 5 lessons per month. It is a flat rate every month. You can pay via cash, check, credit card, or Paypal to bgat1125@yahoo.com

Do you teach viola? Do you also teach piano? What about cello?

I teach viola, but not piano or cello.

What are lessons typically like?

You come into my house, have a seat on my waiting couch until I am ready/finishing up another lesson. Please come into my house 2-3 minutes before your lesson time. Depending on the student I usually start by checking their theory workbook, hearing exercises from their etude book or note-reading book, followed by regular repertoire. I do not generally hear school orchestra music, unless you have a specific question or a playing test coming up.

What methods do you use?

I primarily use the Suzuki method as that is what I have trained in. I use a lot of supplementary material, theory books, exercise/etude books, fun song books, scale books, as well as the occasional special holiday song or duet. I do use songs and duets out of the Sassmannshaus method books as well.  Please check out the Suzuki Association of the Americas for more information.

Where do I get a violin?

Please do *not* order a violin on Amazon or Ebay. I have seen this many times and the instrument quality is usually extremely poor. Unless you are already a serious performer, I suggest renting your violin. This is especially good for children who are growing and will need new sizes more frequently. My two favorite places are Gailes Violin Shop in College Park and Perrin & Associates in Baltimore. You can also purchase one from Shar (www.sharmusic.com). I recommend the Eastman brand. *If you purchase a violin a bow does not come with it. If you rent, the bow should come with the violin.

*I have a separate page here on my website called “Beginning Violin Student Materials.”

Do you offer sibling discounts?

Unfortunately, I cannot.

How many recitals do you offer per year?

Generally, the studio has a winter and a spring recital (December/June).

I can’t read music – is this a problem?

Not at all. I have plenty of materials to help you get started.

What age do you start at?

I start at 5. I usually like your child to be able to recognize all the alphabet letters, talk to me about simple topics and questions, and pay attention for at least 5 minutes at a time. I also teach adults! It doesn’t matter how old you are I welcome you to start studying with me!

Do I have to sit in the lesson?

For students 11 and younger I require you do. Your child needs you there for support and note-taking so you can help guide their practice at home. I have two parent chairs in my studio. I prefer at least the “practice parent” there each week, though both are always welcome. If you have to bring a sibling please bring a quiet activity for them. Grandparents and other family members are always welcome but there is only room for 1 guest at a time in the lesson room.

Do you have a day you teach homeschool students?

I try to reserve time on Mondays and Fridays during the day for homeschool students

What if I just want a few lessons and not a long commitment?

I can do that also - I usually recommend four.  Whether your child is preparing for All-County, or your home teacher is out of town, or you want to see if lessons together are a good fit then you would just pay for one month.

What is your cancellation policy? What if there is bad weather?

If you give me 24-hours’ notice I can reschedule your lesson. If I miss a lesson we will reschedule or I will prorate the next month’s payment. In general, if BCPS is closed so am I. However, sometimes the schools have closed and there’s no problem with the roads in my area so I will definitely let you know.  If I have less than 24-hours notice I cannot guarantee a makeup.  I do try my best.

*If your child is sick please do not bring him/her to their lesson.