Today, we sat down the Ms. Lucia Lostumbo–she’s the founder and head of our upper strings program. Lucia gave us her thoughts on what the best age to start is, and how she works with an age group that’s typically a little too wiggley to hang for a full half-hour lesson.
Q: Hi Ms. Lucia! What do you think the very best age for starting violin is?
A: I started when I was 7, but I would recommend earlier if you have the chance. I think 4 or 5 is best, but I have students that started later than that. It’s one of the few instruments that are really good for younger students–a small attention span isn’t as much of a problem as it is with piano or voice or wind instruments! We’re standing up and moving around.
Q: So if that’s the age you’re recommending, what do you do in your lessons to engage children that young?
A: As I mentioned before, we’re standing up and moving around. I really pack a lot of little learning games into my lessons as well. Learning through creative play is so important developmentally at that age.
Q: Music is well known to have a positive impact, developmentally. Do you notice any developmental differences in students once they start violin?
A: We mentioned learning through creative play is important developmentally and I really meant it! Students generally communicate better and more succinctly with me when we make sure to incorporate games into the lesson. I also notice that their attention span increases the longer they stay–knowing that they have me for a half hour really helps them hone in on learning for the full half hour once they’ve gotten the gist of things, even for students who have had parents that have expressed fear that their student might not be able to get past the trial period.
Q: All instruments help students develop all of their musical skills, but there’s certainly some skills that are developed more quickly in beginners depending on what instrument they take. What do violin and viola students learn more quickly than their piano counterparts?
A: I would say that piano lays out all the pitches for students, so their ears don’t have to be as sharp as string players to begin with. Especially with string instruments, you have to understand exactly what a note is supposed to sound like for tuning and to make sure your finger is in the right place for the right now. So I would say, without a doubt, string instruments help students develop a concise musical ear much more quickly than other instruments would.
Q: Great. Last question: what’s the coolest part of working with students of all ages and levels?
A: The variety of styles! I love classical music, but I also love teaching students how to play fiddle. I’ve even done some My Chemical Romance music. If a student wants to play it, I’ll find the music and teach it to them! The styles really spread across ages, and a lot of the late-beginner/early-intermediate students really test their newfound skills with playing some of their favorite songs.
She’s convinced us—has she convinced you? Sign up for a lesson with Ms. Lucia by clicking here and see for yourself!