A violin teacher instructs music students in the care, tuning, and playing of the violin. He or she may also teach students to read music and understand music theory, or prepare students for performances and competitions. Many teachers of the violin use a widely approved instructional method, such as the Suzuki method, to train their students. The pupils of most violin teachers tend to begin their study around age five, although a teacher may choose to take students of any age or level of playing experience. Some violin teachers work from home or own a private studio, while others give lessons through a private or public school.
Teachers of violin usually take violin lessons from a number of instructors to familiarize themselves with a wide array of teaching methods. It is also usual for a violin teacher to have a degree in either music performance or education. Individuals wishing to teach at a private or public school typically will need to seek teaching certifications and licenses.
It is common for a violin teacher to use one of several established teaching methodologies as a framework for his or her classes. One of the most widespread teaching methods is the Suzuki method, which was developed in mid-20th century Japan by the violinist Shin'ichi Suzuki. The Suzuki method emphasizes the ability to play by ear, and lesson plans frequently include the use of sound recordings as teaching aids. Suzuki also popularized the idea of child-sized instruments and musical equipment, so his method is particularly favored by teachers with young students. Some music schools exclusively teach Suzuki method to their students.
Generally, a violin teacher will teach students to produce pitches on the violin with precise fingering positions for the left hand. The teacher will also instruct on how to produce tone, rhythm, and dynamics with the right hand, usually by teaching bowing techniques. When playing the violin, the right hand is also used for playing pizzicato, or plucked, notes. A teacher who owns his or her own studio may promote the studio by arranging recitals, concerts, or competitions.
Given the versatility of the violin, a violin teacher may choose to teach any number of musical styles or genres. Violin is most often associated with classical music, but it can also be used to play jazz or even rock music. When the violin is used to play folk music, it is commonly referred to in the English language as a "fiddle." Varied musical genres are more frequently studied by professional or amateur violinists who want to improve their playing techniques.