Frequently Asked Questions
Is music an essential subject for my child's education?
Music is both an art and a science.
Math and science are not the goal of education; math and science are the means to an education.
The goal of education is to teach a student how to live his life.
One learns math and science so that one can then develop the ability to sing in, or play in, a musical ensemble, and to enjoy the cultural treasures and activities this world has to offer.
Our lives are fulfilled and enriched with cultural engagement, and give us a sense of family and purpose.
How does my child determine which instrument to play?
If your child does not already know what instrument to play, there are ways to determine which instrument to select.
Ask, “Which sound does your child like?” If your child likes the sound of the violin, then choose the violin. If your child likes the sound of another instrument, then choose that instrument. That’s basically it.
The next method is to ask, “Which instrument looks good?” Which instrument can your child see himself playing? An instrument’s sound is uniquely connected to the way the instrument looks and feels, so selecting the instrument your child thinks “looks” good is a perfectly good method of selecting an instrument.
How not to determine an instrument: by genre (genre means musical category, such as Jazz, Classical, or Pop).
If your child wants to learn violin, and eventually wants to play jazz, do not discourage your child. You can play jazz on the violin. A musician can play any genre on any instrument. It takes practice and skill, but my lessons take care of that.
If your child does not know what instrument to select, then you, the parents, should select the instrument for your child. Any instrument will do; as your child becomes good on the instrument, your child will grow to love playing the instrument you choose for him.
If neither you nor your child knows what instrument to select, then , if your child liked the stringed instruments, select the viola. Or if your child likes the woodwinds, select clarinet. Viola and Clarinet allow for the greatest ease if your child should decide to switch to another instrument.
If you cannot determine between clarinet and viola, select viola, because viola players are scarce these days, so viola players will be more valuable as your child's generation grows up.
Does my child need to purchase an instrument?
An instrument costs money, and education is the best investment you can make in your children's lives. So purchase a good instrument, be happy with your purchase, and know that when your purchase "vests", your child will grow to be a well-educated and well-rounded adult.
Do you sell instruments?
We do not sell instruments. The best way to purchase an instrument is to find a qualified individual who trades in musical instruments. Music stores can generally assist you with purchasing an instrument, and walk you through the details of your instrument handling and care.
We are not able to give any recommendation for music stores, as we cannot be liable for giving advice that may not work in your favor.
What brand of instrument do you recommend purchasing?
Per our policy, we emphatically cannot recommend what brand nor instrument size you should purchase. If you ask us for recommendations, we will have to repeat our policy, and refrain from making any recommendation, for the following reasons:
No two instruments are the same.
An instrument is a personal item, and there is no way we can understand the relationship between your child and your child's instrument, when making your purchase. Every student is a different size, with different arm lengths, and different personal tastes and desires.
We also cannot know the history of every instrument brand, nor the history of a used instrument you may be considering.
Instrument sales is not our specialty. Our job is instrument study, not sales.
To determine what instrument to purchase, you need to engage a qualified instrument salesman who can assist you in your buying purchase.
All salesmen are different, but a professional, qualified salesman is the best source of information to recommend a brand and to fit your child to the right size instrument. That way, if there is a problem with the instrument, you can return to the salesman so he can address the issue. You can also research online to find a myriad of instrument model reviews and video reviews.
We will say this: do not purchase cheap mass-produced violins on internet shopping sites. We refer to these instruments as VSOs (Violin Shaped Objects). They are awful. They are not built properly and often times made from strange materials.
VSOs may at first appear to work, but, even if set properly, they do not hold their tuning, and we will have to ban your child from using it - no exceptions.
You don't want your child hold the orchestra hostage to one untenable instrument. I have literally spent entire private lessons trying to tune these VSOs, which is a waste of time and money for the lesson. Now we just ban them.
Please invest in a good instrument from a qualified salesman who is accountable should there be a problem.
Your child's education is worth the investment.