I do not like my Violin Teacher but...
I cannot seem to find a new one. The symphony pays a very low salary of only $15,000 a month so there are not many violin teachers here. I've been with this teacher for a while now but he is negative and lazy. He tells me that his 4 year old student can play better than me ( I am a University level student).Once he told me that I suck and I should just pray instead of practice. He also tells me I am good enough and that I do not need to play a such a high level and talks too much during lessons. I have called other teachers and email them but for some reason they will not answer. I think maybe it's because I am an adult? (im 20) . I'm thinking of online lessons? idk....I do not feel like I have improved my playing at all the past year ....
$15,000 a year*
That to me doesn't sound like a good teacher for you! I think online lessons are a great opportunity for students around the world, to pick their teacher based on preference and not locally. I also think, that with instruction videos you can learn a lot.
How did you approach the other teachers? If you said negative things about your current teacher in those messages, that could be the reason you're not getting a response. The way to do that -- in future -- is to say as little as you can. Just say, "I'm interested in discussing violin lessons with you. I'm a university student (botany! or whatever) who is serious about the violin. Perhaps I could purchase a trial lesson if you could find room for that in your schedule."
I was thinking along similar lines as Paul. I find it very hard to believe that a metropolitan area large enough to have a professional symphony of any kind has very few violin teachers. If the symphony salary is $15K/year, then there are likely to be quite a few local professional violinists happy to teach students simply to keep the wolf away from the door.
A teacher should have high expectations and standards but shouldnt make fun of you. What do you mean lazy? Is he/she unprepared and does not have a plan for you? Do you have goals and have you shared them with your teacher? Do you practice the required amount necessary for your level?
Whoa! You see how nice people are here. Perhaps I'm not so nice, because I would drain that swamp and get a new teacher. There is no excuse for a teacher to ever say anything like that to a student, ever. If that's his personality, let him express it to someone else other than you.
You're paying this guy; he effectively is a business. Most of us are not normally in the habit of tolerating this kind of behavior from people that we are paying.
It sounds like Simon, Jim and Lydia have given great advice.....consider all of their points and move on tactfully. No one should have to hear that! Good luck!!!
Alena, with music teachers, sometimes you have to be a little persistent - They aren't always up on all the technology. I would try calling and emailing a few more times. Some teachers may be a little wary of adults, but usually if they see that you are committed, they get the picture.
You said you were a university-level student; have you tried reaching out to the faculty at your university? Even if it were not for them actually giving you lessons, they would be able to give you a sense of direction in where to go to find teachers and ways to contact them.
Praying instead of practicing! At least he has a sense of humour!
I wouldn't tip a bartender who said negative stuff about me. Sometimes we teachers forget who is paying whom! Even with a good teacher and good student, sometimes the chemistry just isn't right, and you need to move on. 20 y.o. is adult, but definitely not out of the student age range. The cut-off age for technical improvement is more like 25 or 30. "Resign" (actually, fire) your current teacher before looking for the next one. In the meantime, acquire some of the classic violin pedagogy texts, and orchestra excerpt collections. One of the useful things I did, between teachers, was to play through the Flesch Violin Fingering book, (1,000 excerpts!); the english version is a little hard to find. jq
I'll note that in my early 40s now, with weekly lessons and inadequate practice (call it 30 minutes a day), I'm still making steady technical improvements. That's everything from the technical tricks that underlie particular Paganini Caprices, to significant changes in my tone production.
I don't believe in a cut-off age for technical improvement. The *rate* of improvement may slow but usually that's more a function of available practice time.
Agree with others re: how to approach finding a new teacher. Don't put up with a teacher whose behavior in lessons are not motivating for you outside of lessons. Some folks dig on having the "tough love" approach to learning, some don't. Since you do not, it's time to move on.
Alena, these are not appropriate things for a teacher to say to you -- at any age or level. I would leave the current teacher immediately and look for other options.
Its not just about money and being a business. You dont have to expect regular decency just because youre paying the person money. Really, what that teacher is telling you is destructive and viscious. You do not need that, no one does. Maybe youre gaining technically from the lessons in the short term, but in the long term you might be doing your psyche harm.
All,-- yes, you are right about that. Technical improvement can happen at any age, it just gets harder and longer, and the priorities of normal adult life interfere with practice time and energy. I was thinking that at the advanced, professional level, the late starter has a hard time competing with those best players that started when they were 7 y.o.
The late starter probably never reaches that advanced, professional level. But say they start at 20. At age 40, on modest practice and regular lessons, they are probably still methodically getting better at the intermediate level, and will continue to improve little by little.
There are many threads about the difference in potential between the adult beginner and the young beginner. About the flexibility, time, energy, etc. I believe that the main difference is that of walking the amateur and the professional (or the aspiring professional) road.
Trigger warning, Tim!
Tim here is the uncut version:
After thinking it over and reading the comments here, I have to say that I agree with Doug Bevan. It's an abusive environment. Get out.
Alena, there have been many red flags about your teacher well prior to this. Over the last year or so, these include
I think at least some of the Hawaii Symphony musicians do not actually live in Hawaii but rather commute from the mainland for the workweeks.
@Timothy- "I wouldn't like this one. Who would?"
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