Frequently Asked Questions
Do you offer online lessons?
Yes! All students who speak fluent English can take advantage of online lessons from anywhere in the world. Students taking online lessons will need both a metronome and a tuner which provides a sustained tone to be used simultaneously. Recommendations for available devices and apps will be made upon request. Online students should also have reliable, high-speed internet access and a quiet space during lesson time.
What ages do you teach?
I accept ages 3 years and older; however, not every potential student is automatically accepted. Every potential new student gets one free lesson not only to assess my teaching style but also to allow me to assess the student’s readiness to concentrate, learn, and practice. If either the student or I feel we are not a good match, I will gladly provide the names of other local teachers who might provide a more successful experience for the student.
What is the difference between a violin and a viola?
Violins have a higher range than violas and typically get the melody part in an orchestra setting more often than violas. Violas are slightly broader, longer, and thicker than violins and have a lovely rich tone. Both instruments and their bows are held and manipulated the same way. Violinists learn to read music on a treble clef exclusively while violists first learn the alto clef, followed by the treble clef as they grow into advanced players. If you think in terms of a choir, the violin represents the soprano voice while the viola is the alto voice.
What do I need to start playing?
You need an instrument sized to you, bow, case, and resin. Most string instrument shops include these items in their rental agreements. In addition, you need a shoulder rest. Many shops have used appliances in like-new condition for reduced prices. You can also use a thick kitchen sponge and a heavy-duty rubber band. Make sure the sponge is firm, not pre-moistened, and doesn’t have a scrubber pad. You should also have a music stand, metronome and sound-projecting tuner.
Should I purchase or rent my instrument?
Renting an instrument usually works best for very young and beginning students. Recommendations of reliable string instrument shops with excellent rental arrangements are available to students in the Northwest Houston suburbs. Purchasing an instrument online is strongly discouraged. You should only make this investment after spending time playing on (or listening to someone play) several different instruments to find the one that best appeals to your aesthetic. Every instrument has its own unique tone which can not be assessed for online purchases.
What size instrument do I need?
This is best assessed by experts at a string instrument shop, so the student needs to be present when the instrument is acquired. This is another strong reason to avoid online purchases.
Do you use finger tapes?
While I am opposed to finger tapes for my students, most school orchestra teachers require them. I will never put finger tapes on myself (except for a first finger tape for students aged 4 and younger), but most of my school-age students have finger tapes that have been applied by their school teachers. I will happily discuss my objections to finger tapes with anyone who asks.
How often should I practice?
The youngest and beginning students should practice a minimum of 3 days a week, 20 minutes each time. Older and more advanced students should expect to put in more days and greater amounts of time depending on their school requirements. Students who wish to audition for a seat in Region and State Orchestras should practice a minimum of one hour each day, 6 days a week. All students are expected to practice routinely if they wish to continue lessons at String Struck Studio.
How often should I take lessons?
Typically, lessons occur weekly. Lessons every other week are strongly discouraged as it takes right at that amount of time for habits, both good and bad, to get firmly set. If a student misremembers a particular instruction or technique and practices incorrectly for two weeks without any intervention, correcting the issue takes much longer than it otherwise would. Advanced students preparing for an audition or competition performance sometimes take lessons twice weekly in the weeks or months leading up to that event.
Are parents required to attend lessons with students?
Parents of beginning students under the age of 10 years are very strongly encouraged to attend lessons so that they can help with home practice. For students of any age with at least one year’s experience and students aged 10 years and older, the decision for parents to attend lessons is left to the student and parent. Parents who choose not to attend lessons may drop students off at my home studio or may sit in the dining room (where many do work) while they wait during the lesson. Parents of students of all ages are always welcome to attend lessons.
What forms of payment do you accept?
Tuition payments may be made via cash, check, Apple Pay, Venmo, and CashApp. Payments via PayPal, Zelle, and credit/debit/gift cards are not accepted. Tuition is due monthly.