Aureus academy charges its fees based on the duration ie. 4X30mins $235, 4X45mins $349, and 4X60mins $469.
Some parents may feel taken aback at the beginning, and that is absolutely understandable- A typical music school in Singapore usually charges its students based on a “Grade to Grade” basis. Meaning that the prices of the fees only appreciate accordingly to the level of the grade.
Here in Aureus, which what I loved about, is that we never solely believe that grading your child would shape him/her to become a musician one day. We as music teachers here provide only 1-1 training, opening a window full of opportunities for your child to the possibilities of performing on open platforms and recital halls!
Cost of purchasing a violin/viola is inexpensive if you are looking at a student model: The range cost in between $190-$300.
You can always choose to get a better quality instrument once you or your child has progressed into a better performance level, but best to get a handcrafted instrument by then as it can be customized to the specific needs and requirements of your desire! Of course, it will also cost a lot more than a student model!
Types of violin/viola lesson
As a classically trained violinist/violist, and I personally would advise any beginner student, regardless of the age, to start with classical training, as it will give you a stronger foundation, developing your musicality and tonality, and most importantly, preparing you for your future plans, be it as a performer, or an educator!
Of course, not all of my students ended up playing classically as they grow up. But like what my professor used to say, “No one can stop you to play pop music. But you can only play them so beautifully because of the classical training you have had. After all, it is Baroque before Pop, and not vice versa!”
What me or my kid will learn during a typical lesson
During a typical violin/viola lesson, you or your child will have most of the time, practical training: from scales studies to etudes, and eventually to music. You or your child would also spend some fair amount of time with music theory: reading notes, understanding grouping of notes, identifying key signatures etc. Also, depending on the level of you or your child’s level, I would incorporate segments of music discussions ie. music interpretations, stage performance, and music history. I think these discussions are as important to discuss as it is with music practical and theory as it gives you and your child clarifications and opportunity to voice out any opinions!
Benefits of learning the violin/viola
Why is it always encouraged to be learning an instrument even if you or your child may not be applying it professionally in the future? First of all, I think and know that learning any musical instruments motivates self-discipline. It also trains one to be more focused on the activity he or she is participating. It gives kids the opportunity to develop their creativity- The way to interpret music, to imagine the music as a scenario ie. A happy dance, or a sorrowful duckling; A waltz, or a tango. The imagination is only limited by its creator! Altogether, these will definitely help cultivate a person’s character for his or her future! Undeniably, this also helps develop our well-being as human beings. Technology has taken a very big part in our lives from a day to day basis. Learning an instrument allows you to unplug yourself away from electronics, and get back to doing something more natural, down to earth, and calming. The ultimate benefit of learning violin or viola, or any bowed string instrument aside from the points which I have mentioned above, in my opinion, is to be able to play music together with other musicians, or friends that are also learning. You could form a duet, a string quartet, or even join an amateur orchestra or string ensemble! That was my major inspiration during my adolescent years!
I usually recommend kids to pick up the violin/viola from age 6 and above. Kids younger than that would require full commitment from their parents back at home as parents do spend more time with their children than any music teachers, which is usually just once a week on average. Most importantly, the younger kids would not feel so alone at home with the activity. They would feel much more excited to be practicing alongside their parents- Nothing makes a child more proud than to show off what they could achieve!
Bowed string instruments are not the easiest instrument to pick up. Unlike the piano, or the flute, or the drums, the bowed stringed instruments require our two hands to be functioning at completely two different motion: Left hand pressing the strings, changing the pitches accordingly, whilst the right hand, gripping the bow, pulling the string, making sure a good tone is being produced! In the simplest terms I had like to describe: The hands are siblings, not no twins- They complement each other, they don’t copy the same movements. Bowed string instruments are very sensitive- The pitch of the note may change depending where and how you land your fingers on the string, and how much weight and pressure you are placing on the bow hand, unlike the piano, the pitch of the keys does not depend on where the student lands his/her fingers on, which makes bowed string instruments less forgiving. On average, you should expect you or your child 1-2 months to be able to play smoothly.
I generally do not focus on any grading system: I believe in shaping a student to become a musician or a performer- Their potential do not always fall on grading! Having said that, I would not say “No” to a student that wishes to take exams, when I see that they are ready. But for your information, the grading system is just one of many platforms to justify that you or your child is adequate enough for whichever level they are taking on. I don’t recommend students to spend the whole year just to prepare for exams.
How do I motivate my child to play the violin/viola?
A great way to motivate your child to practice, which I find really effective, as I’ve mentioned before, is to participate in his or her practices at home. Kids always love their parents being involved in the activities which they are participating in. Open discussion ie. how to hold the instrument better, review the lesson with your child. All these will help tremendously in keeping your child engaged! And also, attending orchestral concerts or philharmonic concerts specifically for kids (If you are afraid that your child’s attention span will get the better out of him or her!) is a great way too! It sparks their interest, seeing the possibility of one day performing at school with the school orchestra, or even be inspired to become a professional musician one day!
Frequently asked questions
Is it possible to rent a violin from Aureus?
- We do not provide rentals of bowed string instruments at our school.
Can we buy violin/viola from Aureus?
- Yes you may buy violins and cellos from Aureus. But you will have to look into instrumental shops like Synwin or Gramercy if you are looking to buy a viola.
How often do I have to re-string?
- Ideally every 6 months. But if you practice very frequently then every 3 months is advisable.
Is it necessary for a shoulder rest?
- It depends on the length of your neck- If you have lengthier neck, then it is best to equip your violin/viola with a shoulder rest so to not create tension on your shoulder.
I am left-handed. Does it affect me playing the violin/viola?
- No, it doesn’t. As two hands are learning completely different motto skills, it would not make a difference if you are right or left-handed.
How often do I have to change the size of the instrument for my child?
- It really depends on how fast and tall your child grows.
What are the sizes available for the violin/viola?
- The available sizes are 1/8, 1/4, 1/2, 3/4, 4/4 (full size)
How often should I clean my violin?
- It is best to wipe off the rosin on the strings every time after practice, as the powdery content of the rosin may melt and stick on the string or the varnish of the violin! You may use a simple micro fibre cloth to wipe the rosin off!
- The bow hair is getting lesser on the bow.
- If the occasion arises when, then it is best to get your bow rehaired by a luthier. But if your bow is inexpensive, ten you may consider getting just another bow instead rehairing it because sometimes the charges for rehairing a bow maybe even higher than getting another student bow!
Does the shoulder rest need to be changed?
- It depends on the wear and tear situation of the rest: if the foam at the bottom of the shoulder rest is falling apart, not sticking, or no longer providing the comfort it should. then i is highly advisable to replace it with a new shoulder rest.
Does the shoulder rest come in different sizes?
- Yes. Different brands provide different options. Some brands provide adjustable shoulder rest ie. 1/8-1/4, 1/2-/3/4, and 4/4 (Full size), while some brands only offer shoulder rests of a specific size. Such shoulder rests would usually be more costly, but the quality (put together using a piece of solid wood, and metal brackets instead of plastic) and comfort.