Years ago my daughter was gifted a violin from a friend but aside from her making a few screeching sounds on it she never really used it. We couldn’t’ afford private lessons and the time commitment of loading everyone up to drive across town (we live out in the country), wait for her to complete a lesson, and then drive everyone back home just was not practical for our family. Thankfully, Practice Monkeys had a great solution for us. The Family Subscription to Live Violin Classes was a great way for her to learn violin right from the comfort of our home and for a price that was reasonable.
Practice Monkeys offers four days a week of live online classes as well as a ‘treehouse’ or website full of support. For the live classes you can log in at the time set aside for your child’s level and they can see/hear the teacher and she can see/hear them. This is a great chance for them to practice, learn new skills, and get feedback on their progress. In an ideal world and for the most benefit you would attend these sessions most of the days that they are offered.
However, our fall schedule was absolutely crazy and we were not at home most days during my daughter’s live lesson time. That did not keep her from watching, learning, or progressing. Each week the previous week’s lessons are uploaded onto the website where your child can access them to practice on the days when they cannot join the live lessons. This gives you a great deal of flexibility for practicing when it works best for your family.
In addition to the regularly scheduled lessons, Mrs. Van Kleeck offers help sessions several times a week for students that may be struggling with a concept or need a bit of extra help. Also, for a small additional fee students can schedule one on one assessment times. These are required for moving up in levels but can also be beneficial for a student that has questions or wants one on one assistance with a particular skill. My daughter recently moved from level two to level three and I found the assessment to be very beneficial. Not only was she able to show mastery of the level two skills, but she was able to get some direction on a few small changes she could make that improved her performance.
She also offers many resources for parents to be able to help their students as they learn and grow. I am not musically inclined and at first was very hands off of the lessons but I did find that it was beneficial to my daughters performance for me to be somewhat involved and helping her move forward. This does not mean that the parent needs to be a musician or able to play the violin but I do recommend utilizing the helps that she offers to be able to support your student as they progress. In addition, I had a few questions and was pleased at how quickly they were answered via e-mail. Mrs. Van Kleeck was very friendly and approachable both during the lessons and via e-mail.
When we decided to give this a try we realized that the violin that my daughter had been given several years ago was already too small for her. We were able to find her a suitable violin used for a very reasonable price but were not sure what we were going to do with the small violin. My four year old quickly let us know that he also wanted to learn to play the violin. While I have not yet formally started him in the program, he did enjoy watching the various lessons and learning some of the basic skills. Fortunately for us, this program is a family subscription so when we do decide to let him start formal lessons the cost will remain the same.
In addition to the monthly fee (regularly $49 a month for the family but check out our link below for a discount), you will need a few supplies. You need a violin, a shoulder rest, rosin, and some levels will need Suzuki books. We found with a bit of looking we were able to supply those materials used for under $40 though that may vary depending on your location. You also have the option of buying a new violin or renting a violin depending on what works best for your situation. She has links on her website to help you purchase the correct equipment and make it as simple as possible.
Overall, my daughter really enjoyed the program. I saw growth and enjoyment even though we could not utilize the program to its fullest due to our time constraints. I recommend this program if you have a child or children interested in violin lessons. You will see the most benefit if you can regularly attend the live classes, however, if your schedule is such that it is not possible, I still recommend giving this program a chance. You may want to do a few extra scheduled assessments to get feedback as you move forward but you can still make great progress.
Now until February 1st Practice Monkeys is offering Review Crew readers a special discount of only $39 a month which is good for the lifetime of your subscription. We are looking forward to continuing our subscription and hope to see you in class!
Resource Library and Affiliate Disclosure
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