I am becoming more and more amazed at the sheer number of people inquiring about violin lessons online.

I had some opinions of my own before I had a working knowledge of online violin lessons…then I conducted some research. I compared some of the lessons currently available online, I spoke with people interested in taking violin lessons, and I gave a small test group a sample of what I think good online lessons would be. The results are pretty interesting, and I do admit, it changed my uninformed opinion and some of my preconceived notions. Check it out.

What People Want in Online Violin Lessons

  • Step-by-step lessons that are easy to follow
  • A chance to ask questions
  • One-on-one time with the teacher
  • Live web cam lessons with the teacher
  • Music theory instruction
  • The ability to download lesson files
  • They would pay between $15-$60 per month, or $5-$40 per hour

Essential Elements of Good Lessons
After my research and testing, I have come to a couple of conclusions about what makes for good online violin lessons.

  1. It is essential that the person offering the lessons is a true expert and an experienced teacher with proof of their teaching skills.
  2. It is important to have ongoing support and opportunities to ask questions. While fancy, hi-tech effects are cool and fun to look at, this is less important than the actual content in the videos.
  3. It is a MUST that lessons follow a systematic progression. Miscellaneous videos about how to play that difficult Etude or how to produce good violin tone are helpful supplements, true “lessons” need to build sequentially, skill by skill, one lesson upon another.

Many people are taking advantage of the free content available on the internet for self-taught violinists, and much of that content is excellent.

The problem is that this free content often lacks the opportunity to ask questions, and it is in no particular order. As a result, beginners might be getting advice intended for more for advanced players, or people have to sift through hours of video to find what they’re looking for.

For example, I get a lot of questions from beginners about vibrato or about certain nuances of the bow hand that they heard about on YouTube somewhere. The truth is that, while those are good questions, you don’t need to worry about that yet! Those are later skills, and you’re just asking for a lot of frustration by trying to skip the first five rungs of the ladder.

I know you all have some personal experience with or opinions about online instruction. After all, you found Red Desert Violin! I want to hear your experiences—pros, cons, the good, the bad, and the ugly of online violin instruction compared to private lessons. Tell me your story!