It was difficult to find a teacher at first, even though I'm in a medium-sized city. Not knowing if I'd stick it out, I didn't want to sign up for a full semester's worth of lessons, which ruled out the music school where my wife teaches flute. I'm an adult (chronologically),and many teachers don't want to teach adults. But I found a teacher, rented a beginner Scott Cao violin, and got started.
At my first lesson, the teacher looked over my instrument. Showed me how to hold it and how to hold the bow. Then we went through the Doflein method. Unfortunately, he did little else for technique. I don't want to say anything bad about the teacher - he's a nice guy and I'm sure he's good for beginners who can't read music, but from then on all he would do in lessons was check off pages I'd played and listen for wrong notes. If I had a question about bowing or fingering he'd just ask me to play something again, and if I got through it he'd say it was fine for now. I had asked often about what I could do to improve my bowing, but was told it was okay (although I could hear otherwise).
Around the New Year, I told some friends I was taking violin lessons. They asked what I was using for a violin, and I told them I was renting one. They said they had one at home that hadn't been used since their son (now a college grad) had been in middle school, and I was free to borrow it if I wanted. Oh, and by the way, it's a French Mirecourt violin that had been in their family for 140 years! Lucky me.
Over the winter I had to take a break due to some minor surgery I was having. When I got back on my feet, I searched for a new teacher. At my very first lesson, I could tell she was a much better fit for me. All she did at my first lesson was correct the way I was holding the violin, suggest a much better chin rest, correct my bow hold, and correct my L.H. position. That much information could be overwhelming to some people, but she thought I could handle it. She's continued to work on those technical issues, plus introduce me to shifting positions. We certainly don't move through material as quickly as my previous teacher, and I have to be more self-directed in practicing scales and etudes on my own. But I've gotten more of the type of help I was seeking in four lessons with her than in months with the previous teacher.
So to other beginners out there, just like you may need to try a few instruments before you find what you like, it certainly could be the same for teachers. A good teacher might not be a good teacher for you.Tweet
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