One of the greatest gifts we can experience in our lives is the gift of music. Whether you’re an adult who has decided to learn an instrument, or a parent getting your child started on a lifetime of musical discovery, learning to play an instrument is a great goal.
If your instrument of choice is the violin, it’s important to find a good teacher, especially when you’re first starting out. The violin can be a challenging instrument to master, and working with a good teacher early in your studies is often the difference between enjoying a lifetime of music and quitting early on.
The cost of violin lessons depends on several different factors. Lessons average $30–50 dollars for a weekly 30-minute lesson in most parts of the US; location and your teacher’s expertise can affect this price. Before you even begin, however, it’s important to take a look at your goals and aspirations as a violinist, and your various options for taking lessons.
Determine Your Goals
The first step is to think about your goals. Often your goals will determine where you should look for your teacher and who the best teacher match will be — which, as you’ll see later, can affect the cost of violin lessons.
The violin is an instrument that can adapt to a number of different styles of music, from classical or chamber music to bluegrass, pop, or jazz. While the techniques for playing the instrument are basically the same across genres, if your goal is to study and play classical music, you will want to eventually find a qualified teacher who specializes in that. The same is true for other styles — if you’re interested in the jazz world, it’s important to find a teacher who can work with you and teach you improvisational techniques as well as basic violin technique.
Many beginners, however, find it helpful to study with a classically oriented teacher when they first begin their studies. A classically oriented teacher will work with you to develop proper technique from the start, and this foundation is important no matter what your ultimate goals are. Once you’re comfortable playing the instrument, you can then switch to a teacher specializing in the genre of music you’re interested in learning.
Select Your Lesson Type
The next step is to determine how you’d like to study. You have three options:
- You can travel to your teacher’s home or studio to take lessons.
- Your teacher can come to your home for lessons.
- You can study via the internet using a service like Skype from your home.
The method you select can affect the cost of violin lessons, so keep this in mind if you’re on a strict budget. Traveling to your teacher is usually more affordable than having your teacher come to you, for example. Some teachers charge for travel time and/or mileage and may require a longer lesson time if they are traveling to you. Skype lesson prices can vary, usually depending on your teacher’s level of expertise.
Find Your Teacher: Location
Finding a good violin teacher can be challenging depending on where in the country you live. If you live in an urban area like Boston, New York, or Philadelphia, for example, you will have more options for finding a qualified teacher. If you live in a rural area, however, it may be more difficult to find a teacher close to you. Technology has bridged the gap for many rural students. The internet makes it possible to study with a world-class teacher halfway across the country from the comfort of your living room, through online lessons.
Find Your Teacher: Expertise
If your teacher is a working symphonic musician, or a professor at the local college, you can also expect to pay more. Younger teachers who specialize in beginning students often charge less. As your level of playing increases, you may find it beneficial to work with a teacher with more experience, which will increase the price of your lessons. If you want to learn specific skill or genre, like bluegrass or jazz violin, again the price may be higher due to the teacher’s specialized experience.
It is possible to find teachers who charge less if you open your search up to classical music students that teach. They may not have the level of expertise to take you all the way, but they are good starting teachers when learning basic technique. As a general rule, children’s or beginning level lessons are more affordable.
As you set up your lessons and consider these different factors, the best option is to research your local market for teachers. Searching within TakeLessons, for example, allows you to filter by price and location, so you can get a feel for what the cost of violin lessons will be for your needs and area. Good luck finding your teacher, and enjoy your studies!
Photo by Pawel Loj