Suzuki and traditional methods. Ages 5 to 17 in Saratoga, and online. Cheryl Bjorklund Larson - 650-946-7980 - LarsonViolin@gmail.com
Why learn a musical instrument?
Enormous personal satisfaction and the opportunity to share musical experiences with others.
Development of personal discipline, self-esteem, and other skills applicable to many areas of life.
Better academic performance. Numerous scientific studies support the idea that children who learn to play an instrument perform better in academic areas from reading to math.
“Students with coursework and experience with musical performance scored an average of 51 points higher on the verbal portion of the SAT test and an average of 39 points higher on the math portion.”“Predicting Music Theory Grades: The Relative Efficiency of Academic Ability, Music Experience, and Musical Aptitude”, Carole S. Harrison, Journal of Research in Music Education.
Cheryl and I have been friends and colleagues in the San Jose Symphony for many years, and I highly recommend her as a violinist and teacher. As the Director of the San Jose Chamber Youth Orchestras, I hear dramatic improvement in her students' playing from year to year. I have been impressed again this year as I listened to their auditions. She is a violin "doctor" who diagnoses challenging technical issues with students and prescribes the right "medicine." Furthermore, she is compassionate and supportive and as a result, her students thrive under her tutelage. Susan Stein, Director, San Jose Chamber Youth Orchestra
Learning the Violin: My Philosophy
Each student has a learning style, which I strive to discover and then adapt my instruction accordingly. I use imitation as much as possible, which is normally faster than many verbal instructions.
I stress learning in very small increments (one measure at a time or less). “Chunking” is a word used for this approach. The brain learns one thing at a time, and I teach one thing at a time.
I am keenly aware of students’ feelings during lessons. I am constantly looking for new ways to retain their interest and motivate them to practice in a goal-oriented fashion. Studio classes, recitals, and youth orchestras are not just motivational for practice, but also provide opportunities to experience music with peers in a positive social setting.
In cultures all around the world, music historically has been participatory rather than performance oriented. This is still the case in many societies. Music was a gift for everyone. People got together to sing and play music because it is and was a balm to their brains and bodies, a fact that scientists have only recently corroborated.
Today we live in a competitive world, and often music turns into a competition, meaning only the super talented should participate. My observation is that students make faster progress on the violin when they take a bit more relaxed social approach than a highly competitive one.
Many philosophers, scientists, composers, and musicians have grappled with the question: Why does music exist and what is its purpose? You will hear violin teachers say that music is a “calling.” What does that feel like? These are questions for music students and parents to discuss, as the answers will significantly influence the direction one takes and the amount of time one invests in practicing an instrument on a daily basis.
Bach declared: The aim and final end of all music should be none other than the glory of God and the refreshment of the soul. I am in total agreement with him.
I love my students and I love teaching. My goal is to see my students become skillful violinists, as well as life-long lovers of music.