The violin is often seen as a hobby before an academic discipline. While some people choose to study it academically (at a conservatoire, for example), it’s not your usual degree like maths or science.
Lots of artists choose to learn instruments for themselves since they won't have to stress about their next recital, audition, concert, or whether or not they've been working on their repertoire. When it comes to the piano, guitar, or accordion, and even the violin, anything is possible. Those who taught themselves can enjoy performing concerts or as part of an ensemble just for the fun of it, unlike someone who attended a reputable school of music whose grades might have hinged on it.
Whether learning a song or music theory, you can learn where to put your fingers and make the right notes without the help of a teacher or a degree in music.
How can you make a career out of it? How can you become a violin teacher without having studied at a Conservatoire?
Violin Teaching Positions for Self-Taught Violinists
While lots of music schools and conservatoires ask that you have at least an undergraduate (bachelor of music), perhaps postgraduate (master of music), as well as teaching experience, you should keep in mind that you can still start a career in teaching people to play without formal Violin credentials.
Learning music should be fun and whether you want to become a composer and write an opera or play in a jazz band or string quartet, throughout music history, there have been plenty of people who've accomplished their dreams without any formal instruction.
There are tutors teaching students to play the violin despite not having any formal music education and that doesn't mean they're any less talented or good at it than somebody who studied musicology.
Of course, teaching yourself isn’t for everyone. Working like this is often chosen by those that don’t have a schedule that would work with regular classes in a school or music centre. It comes down to choosing a learning style that works. It can sometimes be as effective as classes at a conservatoire (or conservatory) or with a private tutor.
However, it’s down to the musician at the end of the day.
Being self-taught comes with a number advantages that help add to the tutor’s experience.
By studying violin on their own, the budding violinist has to be resourceful and find the answers themselves, on the internet, or in music books. It also means that since they’re actively learning what music is, their brain is more receptive to the knowledge and will learn more efficiently.
They’ll learn better than just being told something by the music teacher. A self-taught musician is a motivated musician, an essential quality for success. It’s also important to learn not to ever give up even when facing difficulties. A lesson they’ll pass on to their students.
A self-taught tutor is also aware of the difficulties that any student may encounter during their learning. They’ll also know how to overcome these difficulties, a quality a lot of students will be looking for.
A self-taught musician can also be just as good a musician as a professionally trained musician. If a student at a conservatoire isn’t motivated, they’ll never be able to reach a high level in terms of their playing. Just because they did a summer music programme, have attended tonnes of expensive workshops, and got scholarships to all the best schools, that doesn't they're the best performer in the world! Just have a look at a list of some of the best self-taught musicians in the world! Motivation can work wonders.
Did you hear about the guy who built his own violin and then taught himself to play it?
How to Teach Violin Lessons without Qualifications: Be a Good Teacher First and Foremost!
Qualifications don’t necessarily give you the necessary qualities to be a good teacher, either. Good teaching skills are instrumental when it comes to transferring knowledge. The best musicians might be incapable of transferring their knowledge to students.
Even the alumni from some of the best schools can struggle to teach effectively so don’t put unnecessary pressure on yourself just because your neighbour is a better violinist than you. It doesn’t mean that your career as a teacher is over before it’s even begun. Being a teacher is more complex than that and requires a number of skills that have nothing to do with music:
- Knowing how to help students advance. You don’t need to show them that you’re violin virtuoso. The student’s more interested in how they can improve.
- Explaining things in different ways. If a student doesn’t understand what you’re trying to tell them, you’ll end up wasting tonnes of time. Try to find a new way to explain something so that the student can understand better.
- Making your tutorials interesting. A lot of music school classes (especially those as part of the national curriculum) can become quite boring and dry after a few hours. You need to make sure your student's paying attention. The same is as true for adults as it is children. They need to be engaged from the start of the class to the end of it. How do you do it? By teaching them music they like and giving them regular challenges to overcome, for one.
These are skills that will come with experience and not necessarily qualifications or degrees.
Discover also how to set your rates for tutoring the violin...
How to Teach Violin Tutorials Online
What can you do when you don’t have the necessary qualifications to teach in a state school?
There are plenty of options for you.
Why not do as the self-taught do and offer online tutoring lessons for the violin?
You could start your own site or blog giving advice on the violin. As a self-taught violinist yourself, you can speak from experience to other budding violinists.
One question remains, though... How can you earn a living with a blog or a website? Why not charge for tutorials?
Many bloggers have earned a living like this by offering paid-for content for students on their site. That doesn’t mean that all your content has to be behind a paywall. You could give free previews or perhaps even offer complementary videos for a small fee.
Make sure your prices are reasonable by checking how much violin tutorials cost. Some bloggers only offer free content. In this case, they need to have enough visits in order to earn their keep from ads. However, this requires a lot of views.
Teaching on the internet is a good way to put together lessons the way you like to learn. If you can play the violin in an interesting way, there might be some people interested in your techniques and tuition.
Teaching Private Tutorials without any Violin Qualifications
If new technologies aren’t your forté, there are other options you could look into. A lot of musicians are becoming private tutors, too.
Whether you're a music student, doing it alongside your day-job, or full-time, anyone can become a private tutor. You don’t need any qualifications. There are websites that help tutors to find music students and vice-versa.
Superprof is one of these sites. By signing up, you’ll gain access to a huge network of tutors and students. There is no admission process, you just have to complete your user profile.
Once your potential students get in touch, make sure you get back to them quickly. Your responsiveness shows your future students how serious and organised you are when it comes to teaching. The first hour is normally spent at the student’s home where you’ll get to know the student and work out the approach you’re going to take to make them a better violinist.
Bit by bit, your profile will fill up with glowing reviews. Then other students will feel more comfortable hiring your as their private tutor. Of course, you can still advertise your services on other websites, too. Today there are a lot of people offering these types of services online and the number of private tutors is only increasing.
A lot of tutors also grow their networks with other musicians.
How to Teach Violin in Small Music Centres and Associations
While conservatoires aren’t always accessible to musicians without qualifications, there are other associations and smaller music centres where you could teach.
As long as you’re skilled, motivated, and a good teacher, they’ll be happy to take you on. They're not just for the alumni of famous conservatoires.
A lot of students get music lessons from smaller organisations. They are often more flexible than the conservatoires and offer several types of courses regardless of the musical instrument (violoncello, recorders, bass, clarinet, saxophone, etc.). Students participate in music classes and courses that only last a semester or take place in the evenings, for example. Additionally, they cover other aspects of music instruction, too, like:
- Music theory
- Introductions to music
- Music technology and working in a music studio
- Musical training
- Playing in a symphony orchestra
- Performing in a choir and choral lessons
- Chamber music
- Contemporary music courses
- Individual courses in music performance
Teachers are often asked to teach students about music theory, how to improvise, etc. If you’re not up to speed with these kinds of things, keep in mind that you’ll probably need to be au fait with notions such as:
- Reading music
- The treble and bass clef
- Notes and their names
When it comes to learning to play the violin, you’ll also need to know:
- How to hold the bow
- How to tune a violin
- How to read music for violins
- Finger placement
- Using your left hand
- Using the chinrest
If you know all of this, then there won't be too many surprises during the interview and you should probably apply to the job today.
If you feel you still need some aural education, why not take some music theory tutorials alongside your violin training and study music a bit more? While a diploma isn't necessary, a good educator or instructor should have a broad range of knowledge.
This could help you gain some foundations in music theory that will help you improve your playing.
Now you should have an idea of the places you can teach people to play the violin.