MSO performs in Vicksburg
I do not teach any pre-organized method. I use some of the method teaching books available (e.g., Suzuki) but my teaching style is catered toward each individual student. I believe each student comes to me with specific needs, talents and goals. I see my students as individuals and strive to create a logical progression of material for each student as it pertains to these three factors. While doing this, I maintain the importance of teaching all my students correct technique, musicianship skills, and the ability to read music and understand music as a whole. Each student will study scales, etudes and repertoire in a way that contributes to both these end goals.
I teach out of my home studio located in Clinton, MS. I offer ½-hour, 45-minute and hour lesson durations. Lesson duration is primarily determined by student's age and ability level. In general, I recommend ½-hour lessons for beginners and children 10 and younger, 45-minute lessons for intermediate students, and hour lessons for advanced students. I charge $25 for ½-hour lessons, $35 for 45 min. lessons, and $42 for an hour lesson. If you are interested in more information about my teaching, feel free to contact me by email or phone. (You can find my information on my Contact page.)
Although I am primarily a violinst, I do give beginning and intermediate viola lessons. If you are interested in these, please feel free to contact me.
Fees are the same as above.
If you are a school music teacher and are looking for someone to come in and run sectional rehearsals or something similar, please contact me and I would be happy to see about the possibility of coming to your school. Please also feel free to pass along my name and contact information to any of your students who are interested in lessons.
Many teachers with post-graduate degrees only teach more advanced students. Because I teach students of all ages and ability levels younger students receive excellent instruction from the start and the opportunity to continue lessons all the way through advanced playing. More advanced students have access to a wealth of experience and knowledge about the field of music.
As a "less than perfect" player who had to be disciplined and work hard to correct bad habits and learn new techniques I enjoy working with all my students to help them achieve goals they never thought possible.
I believe each student comes to me with different experiences and goals and therefore requires a unique plan to foster their growth as a musician. While there are certain techniques and requirements to play the violin or viola well these skills can be learned a variety of ways using numerous musical styles. I like to learn what makes each student excited about music and use this to keep them engaged in learning.
I hold two recitals each year (usually in November and May at Mississippi College) where students have the opportunity to perform. I encourage all students regardless of age or ability to play. There are no additional fees for students to participate. The recitals are relaxed in fashion and designed to showcase what each student has been working on.
I believe in holding recitals for several reasons:
Following each recital is a small reception where students can be congratulated by their family, friends, and fellow students. This is also a time for parents to mingle and get to know one another.
A word of thanks from a parent:
"I just wanted to say thank you again for all of your work in getting the recital together. Jackson really enjoyed it and was talking about it all weekend. He actually asked me to practice Saturday and Sunday (usually it's the other way around). We are both really enjoying learning the violin and glad to have you as 'our' teacher."
As a member of the local MacDowell Music Club in Jackson, MS, my students have the opportunity to perform in the state music festivals. These festivals are open to students of all ages and abilities.
Students usually perform two pieces; one from the festival list and one piece of their own choosing, both of which are prepared ahead of time with piano accompaniment (if applicable). Students are assigned a time slot for performance where they play before a judge. Students do not compete against one another. Students receive an overall grade on their performance (outstanding, excellent, good, etc.) based on the festival standards, as well as general comments (positive and negative) which they can take home with them at the conclusion of the day.
Performing in the state festivals offers students additional benefits:
To prepare students for the state festivals and other competitions I occasionally hold a master class a week or two before the event. Traditionally master classes are an opportunity for students to perform for a "master" who will coach and teach them in front of an audience (similar to a private lesson in public). The master classes I hold are similar in idea, but smaller in scope.
Students preparing for a festival or competition will meet at my Clinton studio and will perform for one another. I let the students do most of the critiquing and comments, chiming in where necessary to facilitate and guide the discussion. Often I will ask a student to repeat a section or technique after discussion of their performance to see if they can fix one or more problems. These master classes are designed to help students in several ways:
Here are what some of my students have said:
"You get a chance to perform in front of people before the actually event [performance]. I also like the fact that you don't have to wait an hour for comments." - Chris
"I like getting together with the different students and learning about them. Advice from the different students was very helpful!" - Rachel
I had a teacher who said that his job was to make himself obsolete. This is my goal as well. If I am not giving my students the skills they need to eventually be independent, self-sufficient artists than I am not doing my job. Just as parents raise their children to become independent successful adults, so I want to "raise" my students to become independent successful musicians.
While some teachers never play beyond the four walls of their studio, I am an active performer in the Clinton and Jackson Metro area. This gives me first-hand experience dealing with nerves, different performance venues, preparing a piece for performance, and gives me familiarity with the ever changing field of music in general. I enjoy playing both as a soloist and in ensembles. I play with the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra (Jackson, MS) and am a member of the Williams Duo with my husband. In addition I perform with other smaller ensembles for weddings and events and am often asked to play as a soloist in various venues throughout the Clinton and Jackson Metro areas. I also enjoy performing in my church and giving back to God the gifts he has given me.
Please also view my Performances page for a list of my upcoming performances and check back often as this page is updated frequently.
There is no set age for when a child is ready to start lessons. While I advocate starting a child as young as possible I also like to make sure a child is mature enough to begin an instrument. Here are some things to consider when determining if your child is ready to start lessons:
If you answered 'yes' to the questions above, your child is most likely ready to start lessons! If you have some reservations about answering 'yes' to any of the questions let me know your concerns and I will be happy to assist you in determining if your child is ready to learn an instrument. Remember, any young child is going to have a short attention span and need direction and help in the areas above. That is all part of the learning process!
No! In fact, I require that a parent be present at lessons and available to help their child practice at home. Young children need guidance and instruction every step of the way.
No, you will learn right along with your child! During lessons you will be actively involved in taking notes and understanding what I'm teaching your child to do. I make sure parents understand what their child needs to practice and how to do this effectively before they leave the lesson for that week. Parents are always free and encouraged to ask questions. I think you and your child will both enjoy this learning process, and it is a great way to create a closer bond with your son or daughter!
This all depends on the child. I place a high importance on learning how to hold the instrument and bow correctly. This comes easier to some children than to others. I have them starting to pluck the strings of the instrument as soon as they can hold it correctly. In addition to learning how to play, we will also be learning the parts of the instrument, how to read music, to clap and say rhythms, how to tune our instrument and understand our musical alphabet. There is plenty to do and your child will be playing before they know it!
Sure! I usually recommend trying lessons for a month. At the end of the month you will be able to get a feel for how your child responds to lessons, practicing and the instrument in general. I am also more than happy to give you my impressions on how your child seems to be doing and can let you know if I think they are ready to go on in their study or if they should perhaps wait a year and try again.
Still have questions or concerns? I would be happy to talk with you about your child and about the possibility of starting lessons. Please contact me at your convenience!
No, I do not offer group classes. I believe that one-on-one instruction is the best way to teach an instrument at any age or level. Young students especially need individualized attention and do best when they are not distracted by peers or interruptions in activity. However, I do advocate that students take advantage of school string classes, the Mississippi Youth Symphony or church groups to gain experience playing with others. Use group classes or activities as opportunities for your child to use the skills they are learning on their instrument to participate in activities that they can look forward to!
It's never too late to start learning the violin or viola! Whether you gave it up after finishing school and want to get back into playing, or recently developed the desire to learn to play I would encourage you to take lessons. Here are some things for you to consider as an adult:
"Thanks for performing the duet with me. Tremendous amount of positive feedback for me—much more than I deserved, but very nice. You have some amazing students."
Just as with anything, the more you practice the better you'll be. Set aside a duration of time and a quiet place, and look at practicing as time alone for yourself. You'll be more likely to feel relaxed and be productive if you aren't distracted by kids (or your spouse) or worried about "putting in your time." Don't look at practicing as a necessary evil to get to the point where you can play. Music is a continual learning process and a journey you will be on for as long as you decide to play. I've been playing for 20+ years and am still learning and practicing! See this as the beginning of a journey, every minute of which you are gaining skills and a greater love and appreciation for your instrument and music!
I like to write and keep up a blog focused on helping students with the various aspects of the instrumental learning process. I think you may find my post on the "Advantages of Being an Adult Learner" helpful and inspiring. Check out the rest of my blog at: Emily's Musical Musings. If you would like to keep abreast of current posts as I write them please subscribe to my RSS feed, or become a fan of Emily Williams Violin Studio on Facebook where I let students know of my new posts!