How to find a good Violin teach

August 10, 2017, 12:19 PM · Hi all,
I have difficulty to find a good private teacher for my 9 yr old child in NY area. My child plays a bit advanced than children at the same age, and put Julliard pre-colledge as one of the dreams. I know Julliard pre-colledge is very difficult to get in, but want to help at my best to achieve.
The current teacher-- a musical graduate student, we have feels does not know much about the program and for quite some time, my child doesnot feel get improved for a while. I feel it is probably the right time to change.
However, I understand nothing about violin, and have no relation to find a good teacher. Anyone knows where I could find a good violin teacher really can help my child improve? Or if you heard anyone is good, could you give me their contacts? Really appreciate.

Replies (30)

August 10, 2017, 12:28 PM · Search the site for similar threads. I'm sure there are a plethora of them.
August 10, 2017, 12:47 PM · Where in NY?

NYC (which borough), Long Island, counties, upstate, etc?

NY's a big state...

I'd find some of Juilliard's graduates -look them up online- then contact them with basic information about your son's playing and goals, then see what they say and go from there.

August 10, 2017, 1:05 PM · What Pamela said. Also if you're in Manhattan or the Bronx I can recommend a couple of colleagues.
August 10, 2017, 1:26 PM · I could go to Manhattan or Bronx as long as teacher is good. I checked Julliard private teachers, most of them are graduates students. I read some posts here, they all mentioned their teachers are quite well-known, searchable, people heard their names. How could I find such teachers like them.
@Raphael Klayman, that would be great if you could recommend a few. As a mother having no relations/knowing nobody in music field, any advice would be appreciated.
Edited: August 10, 2017, 1:40 PM · Cynthia - I would search for someone who has already graduated from Juilliard, so an alumni. It's different than someone who is a graduate student who is already inundated with their own studies.

A quick google search yielded this list:
This is what I typed into the search bar: violin teacher juilliard graduate

That's three possibilities within one link to get you started :)

I think this is great that you are doing this for your child!!!

August 10, 2017, 1:41 PM · He's at an age to qualify for the pre-college program already. Does he have repertoire at the requisite level (basically intermediate-level etude and student concerto)? If not, what level is he playing at?

The more specific you can be, the more helpful the recommendations you'll get, I imagine. For example, the sort of teacher who takes a promising student who is still at the beginner level, versus a teacher for a kid who is just entering the intermediate level, versus a kid who is playing more advanced stuff but maybe doesn't have the technical foundation that he should have and needs a lot of remedial work, may all be different.

Edited: August 10, 2017, 1:51 PM · Not only is the teacher important, but how much practicing is your child doing? The road to Juilliard is the same path as the joke about how do you get to Carnegie Hall? Lots of practice and hard work.
August 10, 2017, 3:28 PM · I think effectiveness of practice is far more important than quantity of practice time e.g 2 hours of very focussed practice is better than 4 hours of unfocussed practice. What do you not like about your son's current teacher? Also to note that there are teachers who excel at teaching many different types of students at many different levels.
August 10, 2017, 7:42 PM · Effectiveness matters, but there's also no substitute for time. An excellent one hour of practice isn't going to take you as far as an excellent two hours of practice, and a regular daily habit is going to take you further than only picking up the violin some days of the week.
August 10, 2017, 7:54 PM · (Talent 0-10) x (Practice Efficiency 0-10) x (Practice Time) x (Teacher Quality 0-10) = "Progress Score" each week

These factors are multiplicative, not additive, so make sure to target the weakest link!

Notice the only number that doesn't have a limit is the practice time! So if you've maxed out practice efficiency and teacher quality, then the only thing left to do is practice more! (We can't control talent so it's not really worth considering, but it does multiply our overall progress each week regardless, so it must be considered in the equation!

Edited: August 10, 2017, 8:04 PM · Erik,

Can we get some normal values for that? Also is practice time in hours, minutes, seconds..? Make me feel good about my 1500!

August 10, 2017, 8:32 PM · The "Progress Score" model seems too simplistic.
August 11, 2017, 6:29 AM · Cynthia - contact me at
Edited: August 11, 2017, 7:05 AM · Can't thank all of you more for the advice. My kid plays at NYSMA 6 at age of 8. I guess in the eye of experts here, probably not that advanced. But in his school district, he gets teachers' compliments. However, his school teachers does not know many people in playing violin, his current teacher kind of can't push him up to a new level, although he has been playing with her for over 1.5 year, and she can't recommend any competition or local orchestra for my child to join, just asks me to research myself...even if I searched some results, I won't tell which is good or not for him to for the past year, i would say my kid did not make much progress, still stop at NYSMA 6. That's why I really want to change a teacher, if Julliard violin teacher that would be great. You know, if the child wants to improve himself, as a parent, just want to do anything to help.
August 11, 2017, 6:59 AM · @Lydia, and you are right, he already reached the age. I feel probably it is too late now and feel down that I should have done this search a year ago...I am a bad mom.
August 11, 2017, 7:25 AM · So I don't know much about NYSMA but I Googled it and found this list of repertoire:

- which actually isn't that helpful, because there is an immense range in the difficulty of the pieces. Like, Spring from the Four Seasons is not even remotely the same level as the Beethoven Concerto.

If a 9-year-old can play Spring from the Four Seasons with good technical accuracy and a little musicality then they are doing well. But a 9-year-old with a mediocre teacher attempting the piece is more likely to do it with poor technique.

But this is all by the by - if your child isn't progressing then yes look for a new teacher, who can give you an honest and informed opinion about how they are progressing towards their goals.

I'd also say, don't push yourself or your child!

August 11, 2017, 7:29 AM · Hi Cynthia,

Does your son love violin playing? Does he enjoy practice? I think these are more important questions than a successful entry into a good pre-college program at this point. Also make sure the future violin teacher has a good chemistry with your son. It matters a lot. Good luck.

August 11, 2017, 7:40 AM · Thanks both. Yes, he likes and enjoys practicing, performing. he currently plays the piece Kreisler's Liebesfreud.
I think finding a good teacher for children is the parent's responsibility, otherwise children's interest and time will be wasted. Because they don't know until later they suddenly realize. That's why I am so anxious...
August 11, 2017, 8:30 AM · That's understandable. I think that the amount of practice doesn't matter, as long as you get good results. This is because everyone studies differently.
Edited: August 11, 2017, 8:37 AM · Just relax and take time when choosing a teacher. I agree that a great teacher can make all the difference in the world. Assuming your son is performing at level, a couple months of "shopping around" would not have a negative effect on him at all. After narrowing down to a couple of potential teachers, have a trial lesson with each of them and observe very carefully.
August 11, 2017, 12:03 PM · Your son is still young; please do choose a healthy situation for him. Juilliard is a wonderful training ground, but it does not mean that every alumnus is automatically a great teacher for an eight-year-old. As you are asking around, I would specifically look for a teacher who can teach advanced rep and technique, but who also has experience with young students.
Edited: August 11, 2017, 1:33 PM · I am guessing from your post, Cynthia, that you live in New York State, but you are a significant distance from New York City? (If you were in, say, Westchester County, there would be plenty of teachers and plenty of kids playing the violin.) How far are you from a major population center, and which city?

Liebesfreud -- a solidly intermediate-level piece -- is perfectly respectable for a 9-year-old, and certainly within the required minimum repertoire difficulty to audition for Pre-College at that age. I imagine that if he's playing it well, a deBeriot or Viotti concerto would certainly be doable, for instance.

Also remember that Juilliard is not the only competitive pre-college program in NYC. There's also Mannes Prep, Manhattan School of Music Pre-College, etc.

August 11, 2017, 1:49 PM · find a true PROfessional performing violinist/teacher.
Do not get a Suzuki teacher who probably has NO performing resume... waste of your $. There are many out there who will fill the bill. Get a reference from Juilliard or Manhatten School... you will probably pay more $... but it's a sound investment. That's my 2 cents. :)
Greg in San Diego ciao
August 11, 2017, 7:20 PM · There are Suzuki teachers with lots of performing experience plus experience teaching advanced students. Is there a specific reason you want your son to study at a pre-college conservatory?
Edited: August 11, 2017, 8:49 PM · I don't think there's any reason to slam Suzuki teachers here, though this particular student, based on what he's playing, is now beyond the point that a student would be learning Suzuki.

As Ella said, there are plenty of Suzuki teachers who are excellent players and have significant performing experience. Some of them have mixed studios where they teach both Suzuki and conventional, and some of them will have advanced students.

A teacher does not need to be an outstanding performer (or even do much performing at all) in order to be an excellent teacher. Technical competence at the violin does not always manifest itself in a desire to perform for money, and quite a few respected pedagogues did most of their performing in their 20s or earlier, and haven't done much performing since then. The most significant pedagogues of the last 150 years or so were not really performers themselves.

Edited: August 12, 2017, 10:51 PM · Yes, plenty of Suzuki teachers perform at a high level and teach advanced students who are well beyond the Suzuki books. Performers can be good teachers too, but the best performers do not automatically make the best teachers, especially if they have no training in pedagogy or experience with kids!
August 12, 2017, 10:54 PM · That said, if your teacher doesn't play, that is a problem!
August 13, 2017, 12:47 PM · Unless the student is a beginner, a violin teacher who does not have the chops becomes a serious obstacle as the student progresses fast. Assuming the OP's son is doing a good job playing his pieces, I think many of available and otherwise competent teachers may not be the best choice for him if the teacher is not able to reliably demonstrate what is being taught. That is one of the key lessons that I learned (almost) first hand.
August 28, 2017, 7:13 AM · Laurie, is the above post from Manuel Clark a spam post? Seems like it.
August 28, 2017, 8:59 AM · I agree, I've deleted it. Thanks Lydia!

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