Catonsville Violin Studio

Private Lessons and Performances

Suzuki Violin Study

The Suzuki philosophy focuses on nurturing and educating the entire child through the study of music. Skills such as discipline, listening, patience, focus and expression are accentuated in lessons.  The music is taught by rote just as an infant would learn his or her "mother tongue" (listening, observing, imitating).  You can also visit the Suzuki Association of the Americas to learn more about the Suzuki philosophy.

Children usually begin around age 4 or 5.  This is important as musical aptitude is developed during the early years of life, especially since children's muscles and brain are at their most malleable.  The child can also build discipline and structure before full-time school enters the picture.  Children also love to imitate others at this age and are eager to please both the parent and teacher.  I start students at age five.

The Suzuki approach centers on the relationship between child, parent, and teacher--the Suzuki triangle.  Suzuki parents are asked to take notes during lessons and recreate the lesson at home each day when the child practices.  Parents are also responsible for encouraging and guiding the practice time and offering feedback to the teacher about how the week progressed.

Another component of a Suzuki education is group class.  I recommend having your child attend a summer Suzuki Institute each summer - I can recommend many excellent camps.  This is a tremendous opportunity for you and your child to spend a fun, intensive week of violin study, and can increase motivation immensely since your child is playing with peers working towards similar goals.  Some of my fondest childhood memories were at Suzuki and music camps.  If you would like to browse camps here is a list:   http://suzukiassociation.org/events/institutes/

Suzuki programs often have many performance opportunities incorporated into the curriculum.  Performances help with presentation, confidence, self expression, and motivation.  They also allow the child to set goals and work to achieve them.

I start children reading music fairly early away from the violin.  They start reading simple rhythms and clapping them along to different tempi on the metronome, then playing the rhythms on open strings on the violin.  I like the books "I Can Read Music" by Joanne Martin, "Beginner Violin Theory for Children" by Melanie Smith, and Kurt Sassmanshaus Early Start on the Violin Volume 1.

Traditional Lessons 

Traditional lessons offer a different approach - you learn to read music immediately as you begin creating it on your instrument.  I do not strictly teach traditional private lessons.  For small children who cannot read this does not generally work; concentrating on reading and playing at the same time is overwhelming and not conducive to quality playing.

For the beginning student mid-late book 1 who can recognize letters and/or read books and I use an etude or method book - I love "Fiddle Magic" by Sally O'Reilly, the Kurt Sassmanshaus Early Start books, the book "I Can Read Music" volumes 1 and 2, and the "I Know a Fox with Dirty Socks" book.

For my adult students I prefer traditional lessons using a method or etude book, the Suzuki books, and other solos not Suzuki-related.

I have a Facebook teaching page that I update frequently with student performances, practice ideas, and other studio information - https://www.facebook.com/catonsvilleviolinstudio/
There are generally two studio recitals a year - one in June and one in December.