Q. What ages of students do you accept?
A. I prefer students age 7 years or older, simply because I find they are better able to focus on the lessons.
Q. How do I know what size instrument to get?
A. Most violin shops, Kagan’s included, have a device called a “Vio-Meter”, which is used to measure children’s sizes for violins and violas.
Q. What about older people who just want to learn to “fiddle” a little?
A. Adult beginners, regardless of age, are welcome. However, adults are reminded that good things take time– expect to spend months just learning the basics. Adults may expect to spend as much as a year learning the basics, but consider: the results in your playing will likely be more satisfying than what you might achieve in the same amount of time, learning in a random fashion.
Q. How long are lessons, and what do you charge?
A. Basic lessons typically are 1/2 hour, which is $18, regardless of age. For those who feel they need a full hour, the cost is $36 per hour.
Q. What is your “make-up” policy for missed lessons?
A. As long as you call ahead, the missed lesson is credited to next visit. Thus, if you pay for 4 lessons, you still get 4 lessons.
Q. How long should I practice?
A. If you have a busy schedule, as little as 15 minutes per day, but ideally 1/2 hour per day minimum if you want to see results.
Q. What method book should I get?
A. For all beginners, I prefer to use Essential Elements 2000, Book 1.
This very affordable series(originally intended for elementary schoolers) I find to be about the clearest to read for all ages, and it works well with Suzuki Method books as a supplement. Essential Elements also allows me the flexibility to approach each student’s learning needs. All for Strings, or Strictly Strings are good, too.
Q. What about Suzuki Method?
A. Dr. Suzuki’s Method is very good–I’m just not trained in teaching it. In its’ ideal form, the Suzuki student starts at age 3 or so, and Mother or Dad takes lessons and practices along with the child, so that the child begins learning music like learning to talk. While I don’t have the Suzuki Method down (yet), I do try to use some of Dr. Suzuki’s ideas in my teaching:
• no harsh criticism or ridicule.
• learning should be fun.
• learning is easier if taken in small bits at a time.
• we build on previous knowledge.