In-person or virtually, improve
your skills and musicianship by taking lessons
Violin & Viola Lessons
I teach violin and viola lessons to students of all levels, from the
beginners to the most advanced college level.
My teaching studio is in Okemos/East Lansing area in Michigan. If
you live in Midland or Alma,
please see below. I also could arrange lessons online via Zoom.
Each lesson is 25 minutes or 55 minutes in length, and typically
scheduled once a week.
What Does Music Mean to You?
What is your goal in music?
What does music mean to you? What is your goal in violin and in music
from taking lessons? These are questions that are often overlooked
by students. They might have thought "Hmm, it would be nice if I
know how to play the violin", or "I need a violin teacher so I can
keep up with my school orchestra." Though these are all perfectly
good reasons to start taking violin lessons, they are lacking a
vision in the long term. And this is typical because they do not
know what they are getting themselves into, they haven't experienced
yet how deep and rewarding music can be.
Playing the violin is not about getting the notes right. It is not
about moving your bow up and down and moving your fingers as fast as
Music is a lifelong learning experience. The longer you play, the
more you appreciate. The more you think about it, the more depth you
see in music.
You do not have to be a world-class violinist to appreciate the art
of violin or music. You will learn to see and hear what is beyond
the notes in music if you are always searching for the meaning
of the notes composers put down on a piece of paper. And that's
where the real fun begins! When you start to hear character, color,
and atmosphere through the notes, you will start to make music.
Music will start to resonate with your heart, and what you want to
express through music becomes special and personal.
Teaching Method and Style
While there are certain etudes that I give to many of my students
such as Schradieck, Sevcik, Kreutzer, Rode, and Dont, I do not go by
any particular violin "method" in my lessons. Rather, my lessons are
catered to each student's individual differences and
Every student has his/her strength and weakness, and they are not
always the same among the students. I carefully look at what needs
most attention on each student, and come up with the best approach
that I could think of based on my knowledge and experience as a
violinist and teacher, so the student can overcome the difficulty in
the most efficient manner. That means I may have several students
work on the same piece, but what each student will get out of the
piece could be slightly different; one student may need some work on
rhythms and intonation, while another student should learn how to
play more expressively.
My lessons are detail oriented. I seldom make broad musical
suggestions without going into details as to how to execute them.
Many of my suggestions and instructions are very specific, often
targeting only one measure or even one single note, pointing out
specific techniques in order to achieve the tone quality,
articulation, phrasings, or whatever else we are after. I do, of
course, make general comments and broad musical suggestions from
time to time. I do so when I want my students to learn how to think
critically, and/or I know my students have enough knowledge to
figure out on their own.
Developing practice skills
I often ask questions for my students during lessons. They go
something like this:
What kind of feelings do you get from playing this passage?
Ideally, how would you like it to sound?
What can you do to make that happen on your instrument?
What kind of technique do you employ and how are you going to use
the technique to execute what you hear in your head?
Why do you think the technique you chose is appropriate?
By asking questions like above, students start to think about how
exactly they are playing every passage, instead of just trying to
get the notes and rhythms correctly with some sort of immature
musicality thrown in. By repeating this thought process week after
week, students will eventually learn how to think in a critical and
academic manner when they approach a piece of music. This leads
students to developing good practice habits and well-structured,
intelligent musical decisions. Students will learn how to practice
efficiently to accomplish their goals.
I enjoy working with adult students who want to learn how to make music with the violin as a hobby. My
approach to adult students is different from how I teach younger students.
For adult students, I focus on having fun playing the violin more so than when I work with younger students.
I can certainly give my adult students disciplined work but I am also fine with more relaxed approach so
will just enjoy playing at the level they want to be. I am happy to give my adult students scales and
but if they don't want to do them I would not be terribly against it. I would suggest a particular etude If
adult students are struggling with a certain technique, but it is up to them to decide whether they would
to go through with it. If they decide not to, that is fine by me. I would rather the student enjoys playing
the violin, than he/she feels like it is a chore to practice.
I also play duos with adult students more often during lessons than younger students. Again, this is about
appreciating the joy of making music with others than perfecting a technique.
Requirements to be in my studio are as follows.
Students must take lessons seriously.
Students must be eager to learn.
Students will practice daily.
I will gladly accept students of any level as long as they fulfill
Students in Midland and Alma
Besides teaching college students at Alma, I teach violin and viola
lessons to a limited number of younger students who live in Midland
and Alma at the College.