For the first time in 7 years, I’m not teaching any of my kids music at home.
(Well, actually that’s a lie. I just started my just-turned-4 year old on the violin. So I’m teaching him a bit. But we’re taking it nice and slow and steady.)
But other than the very low-key, few-times-a-week, 10-minute sessions with my 4 year old, I’m not teaching any violin or cello lessons at home. Instead, we’ve started using Virtu Academy for my kids’ music lessons and we’ve LOVED it.
My Experience Teaching Violin Lessons to Kids
I’ve taught Suzuki-inspired violin lessons for close to 20 years of my life – wow! When my oldest was a few months shy of 4 years old, I decided to get him a tiny violin and see how he did with it. (This is the inexpensive violin my kids have started on – I personally think it’s great to start out with one that doesn’t cost a ton until you and your child know you’re committed to the instrument.) While I knew young kids could learn stringed instruments, I hadn’t personally taught a child that little before. But he did great! He took to the rhythm and pitch and started getting comfortable with the instrument. I taught him the EXACT same principles I teach in my online introductory violin course, Strings For Kids (more details here!), which are perfect for little learners. Once he had those basics down, he was ready for a private violin teacher, and I decided to take on that role for a little while.
Seven years later, he’s progressed through a number of Suzuki books and is starting more challenging and exciting pieces (he’s just getting ready to start one of my favorites!). It’s really fun to see. (This is the violin, bow, and shoulder rest he uses now.)
My daughter started around the same age, and has now been playing for close to 5 years. She progressed really well early on, and then it felt like we hit somewhat of a wall about a year ago. She wasn’t super interested in hearing my feedback, and it got harder and harder to work with her to develop the skills she was capable of. Plus, it just got a lot less fun for both of us, and it was difficult to carve out a consistent time to teach each of my older kiddos for a “lesson.”
During this time, I was also teaching my 6 year old the cello. I’m NOT a cellist. However, when the pandemic started, his teacher stopped teaching. So I took over, and was able to help him since I am familiar with the notes, music, and basics of string instrument playing. Still, there are some differences with the cello and it was definitely time for him to have a real cello teacher.
Why We Chose Online Music Lessons for Kids
With all of this, we started looking into other options for music lessons. While things were going well with my oldest (we struggled a couple of years ago and overcame those challenges), he was getting to a point where he needed a teacher better equipped to teach at an advanced level. I’ve always taught younger beginner students – which I love! IT was time for him to have a teacher to help him with more advanced technique. And my other two also needed teachers who could give them the attention and insight they needed and deserved.
Still, with 5 kids, schedules get a bit tough. Especially after 1.5 years of mostly not going to in-person activities and events, we didn’t want to jump back into a really busy schedule where we were running around every weekday. So I decided to look into some online lesson options. I had been teaching a couple of students online during the pandemic. So I knew with the right teacher and student combination, an online music lesson could work really well.
The Online Violin Teachers We Found
During my search for online violin lessons, I stumbled across Virtu.Academy. Virtu Academy is a platform for online private music lessons with extremely high caliber teachers. I knew my kids needed to continue with private lessons since we wanted more rigor than group classes. So this seemed like a great fit. The teachers are trained all over the world, and come from places like Julliard, the Cleveland Orchestra, and more.
Still, just because someone is a really talented instrumentalist doesn’t mean they’re a great teacher. So I decided to start with a trial lesson with Virtu Academy to see if it would be a good fit to do online violin lessons for kids with my own children.
I had each of my kids look through the different teacher profiles with me to choose which one they wanted to try. It was really nice because not every teacher is a perfect fit for every child, but in person, it would be difficult to have each of my kids with a different teacher, potentially in a different part of the city. With Virtu.Academy, each of my kids could be with the teacher that was the best fit, and with whom they felt like they shared interests and connected. Such a great perk!
After they chose teachers, we set up a trial lesson for each of them. The trial lesson is only 50% of the regular lesson cost, so it’s only $14.50 for a half hour lesson. Super low risk! And if it doesn’t work out after that, you can either try a different teacher or not continue at all.
How To Select A Violin Teacher Online
The great thing about Virtu.Academy is the teachers are all trained at the top conservatories around the world. So they’re all super skilled and effective, and are great at teaching online music classes. I personally wanted teachers who were also good with kids and excellent at teaching, so we read through their profiles to find out about their experience specifically with teaching. We looked for background with young children, and also their teaching style (Suzuki method, for instance). And you can always contact them to find out more, or ask during a trial lesson!
We also made sure to filter by level. Some teachers are great with advanced students, while some are perfect for beginners. Virtu.Academy makes it super easy to find one for the level you need for online violin lessons or any other instrument. They have teachers that start students at the very beginning who’ve never picked up an instrument before, as well as those training virtuosos. And it’s easy to see which ones are available during the times that YOU want. I really love not needing to shift our entire family’s schedule based on a single teacher’s availability.
How The Private Online Music Lessons Are Going
I was a little nervous with how it would be to switch to a non-Mom teacher for the first time, and to do it all online. I was a little shocked when it went practically perfectly for every kid. Each of my children connected with their teachers and loved them right off the bat. The teachers were super trained and I could see my kids improving in their technique and tone even after just one lesson (and having an outside influence guiding them made a huge difference).
Plus, lessons take the same amount of time during a day as regular practice. We just set up a laptop, hop on a video call, and then pack up. No driving around, no waiting in the car, no forgetting stuff at the teacher’s house, no needing to remember checks. It’s just so EASY.
Benefits of Online Music Lessons for Kids
There are a number of benefits I’ve mentioned, but here’s a recap:
- Excellence – Super trained teachers who are excited and enthusiastic about educating young musicians
- Convenience – Travel time to/from lessons
- Personalization – Each child has a teacher that is the best fit for them
- Cost-effectiveness – Each half hour lesson is only $29. An absolute steal for teachers of this caliber!
- Flexibility – It’s SO EASY to see all the available lesson times to choose one that works for you. And if something comes up, it’s so easy to cancel or reschedule. No paying for lessons when you’re out of town, no leaving voicemails about sick days.
Overall, I’ve been enormously pleased with this option for online instrument classes for kids. I was honestly dreading the day when I’d need to shuttle my kids around to lessons and figure out the right teacher for everyone, and this removes a huge burden. It’s a wonderful option for making music lessons more accessible for families with working parents, with transportation issues, with large families, or who have financial challenges.
Have you ever considered online music lessons for your kids? I’d love to hear your experience. And feel free to drop any questions in the comments!