Susan Bedell Violin Studio


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Why does my child need private lessons?

Many children are introduced to playing the violin in group settings in school, and though it is wonderful for them to be exposed to playing a musical instrument in this way, even under the best teachers they cannot possibly get the amount of individual attention that is needed to insure proper learning. Unlike on the piano, sound and intonation on the violin cannot be successfully attained simply by pressing a key. Rather, they are contingent on proper physical form. In a group setting, this form can so easily be learned incorrectly and bad habits learned are very difficult to change. It is best to set proper form at the very start of the learning process, and this can only be done in a private setting.

How old does a child have to be to start lessons?

Though children are taught as young as 3 in the Suzuki system, I feel that more progress can be made if the child waits until he/she is 5 when his/her attention span is longer.  

Do you teach adults?

By all means! Learning should never stop. It can be a rejuvenating experience to try something new as we age, and I am more than happy to offer that opportunity to anyone who is willing.

Do you teach Suzuki or traditional? What is your philosophy of teaching?

I teach a combination of Suzuki and traditional, drawing what I like from each system. I am a strong admirer of the Suzuki system, of Dr. Suzuki's philosophy of breaking the learning process down into tiny pieces that are repeated over and over until learned; I like the repertoire that he has laid out which moves so smoothly from the Twinkle Variations and simple folk tunes all the way up through Bach Minuets, Vivaldi, to the more advanced concertos, each piece introducing a new skill; and I especially like his vision of teaching the physicalness of playing the violin without the distraction that note reading offers. This allows, I believe, for a more direct physical connection with the violin. Once this connection with the violin has been made and strengthened, then I do believe it is important for the student to learn to play from the printed page and I am happy to facilitate this process in our lessons. I start teaching scales and arpeggios during the first lesson, expanding as the student progresses to incorporate etudes which teach the student to shift, play double stops, move their fingers with dexterity, learn different bowing strokes, vibrate, etc. I use the Suzuki repertoire during the first years, opening out to include standard concertos and sonatas as he/she progresses.

Will my child learn to read music?

Yes. Having said that, the truth is that I do not like to spend time during the lesson teaching reading, but do stress the need to learn to read. Sometimes the student learns in school, sometimes they can learn with a parent at home using reading workbooks, sometimes I will have a student learn to read by going back to earlier pieces that they already know well,  and use it to focus on reading. There will be four Saturday morning group classes scheduled throughout the year in which I will address note reading, rhythm, music theory, and chamber music. These classes will also include an opportunity to perform for each other in a casual non-threatening and supportive environment. 

Where can I rent or purchase a violin?

This information can be found in the section entitled Links to Violin Shops and on-line Music Catalogues

How much should my child practice?

Though the length of each practice session will differ with the age of the child, scheduling consistent practice sessions 5, 6, or even 7 days a week is strongly recommended. Only through consistent practice will the student see progress and thus feel encouraged. The very young may want to start with two 10 minute practice sessions per day, expanding in a bit to two 15 minute sessions. Eventually, the half-hour total should be expanded to 45 minutes, then to an hour per day. If more advanced students can give even more time, that is wonderful, but the reality of today's world does keep our kids terribly busy, so every student and every family has to work out the amount of time that they can realistically alot to violin practice. Obviously the more time put in, the more progress will be seen. But regardless of how long each practice session is,  consistency is crucial.  

What performance opportunities will my child have?

Students will have opportunities to perform for their peers during the four Saturday morning group sessions scheduled throughout the school year. Also, as students are ready, I will encourage them to participate in giving to others in nursing homes and assisted living settings. We will include accompanied solos as well as duets and perhaps trios or quartets.

How much do you charge per lesson?

My rates are $30 for a 30 minute lesson

                  $35 for a 45 minute lesson

                  $40 for an hour lesson 

Where do you teach?

I teach in my home which is located southside in the Reams Run subdivision near the intersection of Midlothian Turnpike and Courthouse Road (just south of Chesterfield Towne Center). You will be greeted at the door by my very friendly greeters, Simba and Noel, as pictured below. See Map/Directions. 

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