Violin and Viola lessons are on Saturday mornings between 8:30am – 12:30pm. Lessons are 30 minutes long.
Some lessons are also available on Tuesdays after school.
Beginner violin and viola students must have basic music-reading skills, for example one year of music theory, recorder or keyboard. Students will need to be at least 7 years old to enrol in a violin or viola class
Buying a Violin or Viola
When you buy a violin or a viola, there are a few things to think about:
- Size – is the instrument the right size;
- Sound – do you like the sound;
- Bow – ask whether it is horse hair (better) or synthetic;
- Strings – ask what brand the strings are;
- Case – make sure the violin has a solid case, and that the catches work;
- Rosin – usually provided with the instrument;
- Chin Rest – should come with the instrument;
- Shoulder Rest – may need to be purchased and fitted separately;
- Fine Tuners – may need to be purchased and fitted separately;
- Soft Cloth – for cleaning the violin and bow after use. This can be a small piece of an old tea towel or similar.
Violins come in different sizes. The usual ones are 4/4 (full size – suitable for teenagers and adults) ¾ or ½ size for younger students. There are many variations on standard sizes (and variations between different violin-makers). Until the student is big enough for a full-size instrument, it may be better to hire one.
A trip to a local music store is helpful. When the violin is under the chin, with the elbow straight, the child’s hand should comfortably cup the scroll with the fingers coming around and up to the top of the scroll.
If there is any doubt, it is best to go with the next size smaller instrument. If an instrument is too large it will be hard to hold up, feels heavy and is much harder to play in tune than an instrument the correct size or slightly smaller.
The bow, case, rosin, shoulder rest can be bought separately, fine tuners can be fitted later along with better strings if required.
Where to buy or hire violins in Auckland
- The Stringed Instrument Company Ltd.
16 Charles Street, Mt Eden
- Piano Traders
19 Edwin Street, Mt Eden
- Lewis Eady
75 Great South Road, Epsom, Remuara
- KBB Music
375 Great North Road, Henderson, or
377 Manukau Road, Epsom (this is the best one)
- The String Workshop
9B Penzance Road, Mairangi Bay
Some places have cheap violins, but they are really bad instruments!
Do not buy from Trademe, Ebay, or other online places, because you won’t know whether they sound any good, and you can’t actually put it under your chin to see whether it fits. Sometimes even the seller doesn’t really know what size the instrument is.
Do not buy from overseas! They may be cheaper, but you have no idea how the instrument will sound, and whether it comes with a shoulder rest, fine tuners, etc.
Make sure there are no cracks in the wood – cracks can be expensive to fix.
Meet the Teacher
Olwyn Green teaches violin at Lincoln Music School – she has taught violin and viola at the Lincoln Music School since 1990, occasionally tutoring music students privately. She teaches traditional classical music with an emphasis on ensemble playing (duets, trios, quartets) where students need to learn to hold their own on a part.
Her goal is to prepare students to reach a level where they can join an orchestra or play chamber music with friends because she has so much enjoyment herself with these activities. Olwyn enjoys exploring the musical repertoire, so she has collected traditional music from many countries suitable for beginners, often arranging parts for the different abilities of students. Most of all, she tries to emphasise that learning music is for fun, and with practice effort can lead to a life time of pleasurable relaxation and friendships.
Olwyn plays regularly (Principal Viola) in the Auckland Symphony Orchestra and the Philharmonic Society Orchestra, as well as often filling a gap in other Auckland orchestras, as needed. She also plays violin and/or viola in several chamber groups with musical friends for sheer enjoyment and is a regular attendee at the week-long Auckland String Quartet Summer School.