Suzuki Violin Lessons in Totnes


Every music teacher is very different and it is important to choose the right one for you.  

I’m a Suzuki teacher and teach children from beginners (who may be as young as 3) all the way up to diploma standard.  The Suzuki method is a wonderful method for teaching violin with a nurturing philosophy behind it.  If you can commit to daily practise, weekly individual lessons, regular musical groups, listening to music and going to concerts then this method and the wonderful results can be for you.  

If you would like to contact me about lessons, do so here, and we can have a chat. Providing I have space to teach another student (I do run a waiting list) then the next step would be for you to come and observe some lessons.

Every student I teach has a weekly individual lesson (1/2 hr for beginners, going up to 3/4 hr or 1hr for advanced students) and I hold regular group lessons at all different levels from beginners to advanced students (4 or 5 a term) and termly concerts. I teach from my home in Totnes (44 Plymouth Rd, TQ9 5ND),

Children can start Suzuki method at any age, and young children can start at 4yrs or even 3yrs if the child is ready with their guardian’s full support.   It is essential to help your child practise DAILY so they make good progress and keep their enthuasiasm.   All children can develop ability on the violin with the right support and encouragement.

There are four steps to starting violin lessons with a young beginner:

i) The adult who will be supporting practise and coming to the lessons and I have a good chat.

ii) Then the guardian and child will come and watch some lessons. This step is crucial as they pick up so much of what they will be learning just by observing and soaking it up. It is also a great way for both parties to see if my approach, and the committment needed ,will work for them.

iii) Meanwhile at home students will be listening to the Suzuki Book 1 CD every day. This listening is vital.

iv) After they have been observing for a few lessons I will offer the child a lesson. And don’t worry, the supporting adult is not expected to know anything about playing the violin before we start. I can support you in finding all you need to know so that you can help your child at home.

I am their teacher for just one day of the week but you are helping them for the rest of the week.  We work as a team!

To understand more about the Suzuki method please read Suzuki’s book “Nurtured by Love.”

Lindsay is such a positive, enthusiastic teacher. My nine year old loves going to lessons and learns so much during them.

James, dad to A

November 2022


Every term we have a performance opportunity.  That might be a concert where everyone plays a solo, busking opportunities to raise money, a group concert or a ceilidh where everyone plays and dances.  

Commitment to Practise

Taken from the Bristol Suzuki newsletter, 2013


Dr Suzuki called his method of education “Ability Development”. In order to develop ability, you have to listen and practice every day. If you miss a day, you lose about 50% of what you achieved the day before. If you miss two days, you loose 75 – 80% It’s kind of like take-home pay: there’s gross and there’s net. It takes at least 200 repetitions for and average four year old to achieve conscious competence over making a bow hold.

Billy is four. He and his mum practise every day. At the second lesson, the teacher showed them how to make a bow hold. Billy and his mum do fifteen bow holds every day and by the next lesson he is making a pretty good bow hold, with help. One week later, he can do it all by himself. Two weeks later he has achieved unconscious competence holding and moving the bow and has moved on to playing the Twinkle rhythms on open strings.

Susie and her mum practise twice a week. They do fifteen bow holds each practice, but because the skill was not reinforced the next day, it is as if they only accomplished five each practice. At this rate it will take Susie 20 weeks to acquire a reliable bow hold. After two weeks, Susie’s mum has trouble getting her to practice. Susie reasons that it doesn’t happen every day, so why does it have to happen THIS day? When she does practice, she finds it difficult to focus, because that skill has not had enough repetition either. After three weeks, Susie is getting frustrated because no matter how hard she tries, she can’t manage to make that darned bow hold right. After all, she’s made 90 of them, but it’s like she only ever made 30. Her mum is getting frustrated because Susie can’t seem to focus well on the task at hand. After six weeks (60 net repetitions) Susie’s mum goes to the teacher and tells him/her that Susie is getting bored and that it is time now for her to advance. Two weeks later (80 net repetitions) Susie’s mum again urges the teacher to let her advance. Against his/her better judgement, the teacher allows Susie to play rhythms on open strings, even though she still can’t reliably make a bow hold. Now Susie has two skills to build simultaneously. Susie eagerly plays on open strings, but can’t make the bow go straight because a) she still can’t reliably achieve an ergonomically efficient bow hold, and b) she doesn’t get enough repetitions to build this skill either. This skill seems even more difficult than the last one. Another six weeks go by and Susie’s mum urges the teacher to let Susie begin using her fingers.

By Christmas, Billy is balancing the violin beautifully, has a good bow hold, can play Twinkle Variation A through and is working on Variation B. Susie is still trying to build basic skill like focus, holding her violin up, holding the bow correctly and keeping her bow straight. By June, Billy is playing through Allegro with lovely tone, good intonation, no mistakes and a balanced posture. Part way through the next year, he starts Book Two (piano book 1 takes longer than this!). It takes Susie four years to finish Book 1. Her pieces are full of mistakes, she can’t manage to make a reliably good sound and her mum and teacher are still harping on about making a nice bow hold. She doesn’t enjoy her music but her mum says she has to do it. She has adopted a coping strategy of shutting down and not trying because she has learned from experience that effort doesn’t lead to success. Her mum has come to the conclusion that Billy is “exceptional”. She and Susie continue because Dr. Suzuki says that “every child can learn music”.

The teacher swears to himself/herself that this won’t be allowed to happen again. The next September, Johnny and Melinda begin lessons. Johnny’s Dad can only practice with him twice a week. Melinda and her mum practice for ten minutes every day after breakfast…… You finish the story.

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