The Violin Studio of Victoria Bietz

PHILOSOPHY

Working on the Bach Double with Juliana Forrest

I have been teaching violin in San Diego since 2005.  My teaching philosophy combines music from Suzuki and the Mark O’Connor books for beginning students. I have a deep appreciation for the Suzuki method, but love the Americana and fiddling songs from the O’Connor books. In addition, I have successfully inserted the Barber Barber “Solos for Young Violinists” books into my teaching, and have been very happy with the results. In 2010 I attended the Mark O’Connor Certification Course for Books 1 and 2 in Los Angeles. I became Suzuki Certified in Violin Suzuki Book 1 in 2013 in Las Vegas, and was certified  in Violin Suzuki Book 2 in Los Angeles in 2014. I will be traveling to Washington DC this coming year to complete the Suzuki Book 3 training.

Suzuki Association of the Americas: Teacher Listing

Suzuki Music Association of California- San Diego Branch: Teacher Listing

Near the end of Suzuki Book 1 we start reading etudes from Wohlfahrt Sixty Studies for Violin.  I now entwine the Suzuki books and the Soloists for Young Violinists books by Barbara Barber. The Mark O’Connor books work great with Suzuki as well. For my intermediate students, I add the Carl Flesch scale system or the Barbara Barber scales in addition to etudes. Scales and etudes are integral to a solid technical foundation.

In addition, music reading and understanding basic theory is very important for students of all ages and levels. Musical flashcards and musical computer games are great tools. In addition, I encourage all my students to listen to recordings and watch YouTube videos of all their pieces.

I know the Suzuki Books very intimately as I started playing the violin at age five and went through Suzuki Book 10.

 

AGE AND LEVEL OF STUDENTS ACCEPTED

I am currently accepting violin students of all ages and all levels. I have students ranging from 5 years old to 75 years old. If your child has special needs PLEASE talk to me ahead of the first lesson so we can make sure it is a good fit.

Helping Elizabeth Nelson with her bow hold

RATES

30 minutes: $45

45 minutes: $65

1 hour: $85

PAYMENTS

Lesson fees are due in FULL at the beginning of the month at the FIRST lesson of each month. Payment in Cash is preferred or by check made out to “Victoria Bietz”. If paying the month in full is a hardship, I will accept cash for individual lessons. New students need to commit to a full month of lessons, with the first lesson payment made in cash.

STUDIO LOCATIONS

My Violin Studio is conveniently located in University Heights: Washington East off the 163 or Texas Street off the 8. Less than 5 minutes from the freeway. Please note that I have a cat, in case you have any allergies.

On Mondays I teach at The Violin Shop, located at The 5 and 805 split in Sorrento Valley. The address is: 10505 Sorrento Valley Road #385, San Diego 92121. Unfortunately I do not teach at the shop on other days, as Monday is my only teaching day.

Please note that I DO NOT offer lessons every other week, and I DO NOT drive to student’s homes for lessons. There is minimal progress when lessons are every other week.  Bad habits are formed and it is nearly impossible for me to make changes as progress is very slow and limited.  Lessons every other week is frustrating in different ways for both teacher and student. After years of teaching, I have seen that students do better in every way by having lessons away from the comfortable home environment. When lessons are held at the teacher’s studio, there is a more formal and professional attitude from the student and parent.

CANCELLATION POLICIES

Parents/students who cancel lessons less than 24 hours in advance will be charged IN FULL for the missed lesson. Lessons cancelled due to sickness and emergencies can be rescheduled for later in the week or month, but only at my discretion, AND only if I can accommodate the change in my schedule. I would be happy to work with you to reschedule your lesson time if you notify me 24 hours in advance. Please note that I do not make up missed or forgotten lessons- no exceptions. With that said, refunds and rescheduled lessons will not honored for last minute cancelations. Please plan ahead and TEXT me (not email) the request.

If you are running late on a lesson, please text me immediately. If I don’t hear from you within 15 minutes of the lesson start time, I reserve the right to leave, and you have forfeited your lesson time. Additionally, lessons cannot be made up  when canceled after the set lesson time has already started. Please do not ask me to make up this type of missed lesson. I have set aside my time for your lesson, if you miss the lesson that is on you, not me.

There are times when I am called to perform for an event, which may require me to reschedule your lesson. I will always notify students/parents ASAP if and when this part of my profession impacts your scheduled lesson time.

For students and parents who are changing teachers or quitting the violin mid-month, I do not refund money for unused lessons. I will gladly finish out the month of paid lessons and cannot refund money that has already been received. No exceptions.

 

EXPECTATIONS

Please keep your nails cut and trimmed. It is impossible to play the violin correctly with long nails. I do not want to waste our lesson time waiting for students to cut their nails. Make sure you cut them the day before the scheduled lesson.

I expect all of my students to practice between lessons and listen to their songs on the CDs and YouTube on a weekly basis. Between lessons, I would be more than willing to view and critique any videos you have taken of yourself playing specific passages. You are also welcome to text me any question you have about the music you are playing.

Daily practice is very important for violin progress. The most important days to practice are the day after your lesson, and the day before your lesson. Please remember 15 minutes a day is much better than cramming an hour practice right before the lesson. I have found that “practice calendars” are helpful for students of all ages.

SLOW PRACTICE is very important! Slow practice allows you to hear intonation, manage the bow, and improve the sound quality.

Younger students under 10 years old need daily practice with help of the parent who brings them to the lessons, and cannot be expected to practice by themselves. Parents should therefore plan to watch all lessons and take notes, so they can help with practice during the week. The “Suzuki Triangle” is an equilateral triangle with Parent, Teacher, and Student equally working together. In addition, I expect the parent or parents who bring the student to their lesson to actively take notes unless I am taking notes. It becomes a wasted lesson if the parent is not paying attention and not involved with the lesson. If for some reason the “practicing parent” cannot come to the lesson, then I expect whomever comes in their place to be watching and taking notes for the parent who cannot be there. Please inform me ahead of time if the “practicing parent” cannot come to the lesson and let me know who will be bringing them. I prefer the parent who comes to the lessons to stay as constant as possible.

Children need encouragement and incentives for good daily/weekly/monthly practice. The rule in my house was I could not go outside and play until I had done my practicing. My parents enforced the rule and I understood their discipline and expectations. Today this may translate to no TV/ video games/ iPad until practicing has been started and finished. Practicing too late in the day can be very challenging for young students. Right after school and a snack is a perfect time to devote the energy to a good practice. Break up a practice into 2 separate sessions if concentrating for the entire practice is difficult.

Parents and students please make sure your cellphone is turned to SILENT, as beeps and vibrations are disruptive. Additionally, if siblings are brought to the lesson, make sure they are quiet, respectful, and occupied during the duration of the lesson.

 

POLICIES FOR LESSONS AT MY HOME STUDIO

Parents: Please make sure that students and siblings under 10 years old are well mannered, respectful and calm while in my home. I do not tolerate running around and yelling and screaming in my living room. I expect parents to parent their children, and not to rely on me to get them to behave. If children are not paying attention and not being respectful, I reserve the right to stop the lesson early. I am a violin teacher and not a babysitter.

 

VIOLIN PURCHASES/RENTALS

If you are just starting the violin and have no experience PLEASE DO NOT BUY OR RENT your first violin without consulting a teacher. I can no reiterate this enough. There are MANY horrible and junky violins out there on Craigslist and Ebay etc. Violin is hard enough to start in general- please minimize the learning curve and get a violin that will HELP and not HURT the process. I have seen violins come to me which are only good for firewood or for putting on the wall, and I am not kidding! The rule is that you get what you pay for.  A full size violin outfit for $300 is probably not a good idea. The Violin Shop has GREAT violin rentals. Please call the shop for more information.

For me as a teacher, please do not get a violin rental from Alan’s Music in La Mesa. They are a band and sheet music store, and do not have the knowledge for violin set up and quality. Likewise, any music store that has saxophones, clarinets and trumpets on the walls is not going to be a good place to get a violin.

 

LESSONS DURING THE SUMMER

Students ages 4 through age 17 are REQUIRED to have a minimum of 6 lessons during the summer months (June, July, August). Taking off the entire summer because it is “Summer Vacation” is a detriment to all the violin progress made throughout the year. I am happy to accommodate changes to lesson times and days for the summer. Please talk to me before summer starts to let me know what to expect, so that I can make the necessary adjustments. I can also do lessons over Skype for students who are away on an extended vacation.

 

RECITAL ETIQUETTE

Violin is a Performing Art. I expect all of my students to participate in the recitals. Students get better, I am happier, and everyone wins. Without a goal to strive towards, progress is not made.

I expect all of my students to participate, or at least attend all recitals. If you have a conflict with the date, please talk to me directly and immediately so I can accommodate. Recitals are very important for progress for students of all ages.

Students please arrive 20-30 minutes before the start of the recital to get tuned, comfortable with the room, and to warm up.

Dress appropriately: no sneakers, jeans, flannel shirts, t-shirts, or flip flops. No exceptions.

While in the audience please be respectful: no talking, turn off your cell phones, and keep any noise to a minimum.

The week before the lesson, your normal lesson will turn into a “piano lesson” with the recital piano accompanist. Please pay the pianist in cash at the lesson. There is also an additional Recital Fee that ranges from $10-$20 per student. This helps cover the cost of the recital location rental.

Playing duets with Kasidy Haas

 

RESOURCES

The Violin Shop  www.theviolinshopsandiego.com

San Diego Symphony www.sandiegosymphony.org

La Jolla Muisc Society  www.ljms.org

La Jolla Symphony and Chorus  www.lajollasymphony.com

Grossmont Symphony  www.grossmontsymphony.org

Mainly Mozart Youth Orchestra  http://www.mainlymozart.org/youth-orchestra/

San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory  www.sdys.org

Helping Juliana Forrest with her straight bow Intonation work with Juliana Forrest