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What Does a Violin Tutor Do?

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  • Written By: Wanda Marie Thibodeaux
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 25 November 2016
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A violin tutor, also known as a violin instructor or private violin teacher, provides one-on-one instruction to violin students so that their technique, expression and understanding of music theory, violin mechanics and sound production improves. Often an advanced or even virtuoso violinist in his own right, a violin tutor always has the goal of helping students achieve better performances. Someone who works in this capacity is usually paid for his services, but rates vary considerably based on the experience and skill of the tutor.

When working with a beginning violin student, a violin tutor shows the student basics such as how to hold the violin properly, how to tune the strings and the right amount of pressure to get good string response. He might help the student learn the note names of the strings and place white tape on the neck of the student's violin to help the student gauge fingering distances. He also teaches music fundamentals such as the names of the lines and spaces on a music staff, assuming the student has not learned this separately in other music courses.

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As a student advances, it is the job of the violin tutor to teach higher-level string techniques such as control of vibrato, different bowing attacks and the harmonic series. The instructor ensures the student is proficient in all scales and arpeggios and assigns various etudes and violin pieces for the student to learn. He listens to the student perform and offers advice on how to correct problems in technique, encouraging the student to explore and push the boundaries of musical interpretation. Throughout the entire instruction process, the tutor might pull out his own instrument to provide physical and auditory examples.

Another task of the violin tutor that goes hand in hand with providing assignments for the student is to broaden the student's awareness of violin literature and performers. This includes "essential" pieces such as "Meditation" by Jules Massenet, "24 Caprices and Concertos" by Nicolo Paganini, "Concerto in E minor" by Felix Mendelssohn, "Violin Concerto #4 in D Major" by Wolfgang Amadeaus Mozart and "Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in D Major" by Ludwig van Beethoven. The tutor may use recordings from violinists such as Itzhak Perlman and Joshua Bell to demonstrate these works and high-quality technique and sound. The tutor also exposes the violin students to different styles of violin playing, such as electric rock and bluegrass, to help the student figure out what genre he prefers.

As a private music instructor, a violin tutor is responsible for all business aspects of tutoring, including billing and record keeping. It is also his job to schedule all lessons and, if necessary, make alternate arrangements when he or the student cannot be available at the usual time. When the student is prepared enough to hold a joint or solo recital, the tutor liaises with directors of schools, churches or other venues where the recital might occur to rent space and advertise the event. He explains or demonstrates what proper etiquette is during performance, both as the performer and an audience member.

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