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Learning the Violin
'The best age to start learning the violin is between three and six,' says Margaret Porter, a violinist and music teacher. 'It's the time when you are learning about the world.' Margaret, who lives in London, prefers to take pupils at three and four, although she has made lots of exceptions for keen five-year-olds. When she started teaching the violin in 1972, her first class consisted of her children's five year- old school friends.
Margaret's pupils have group lessons. Each group has about a dozen pupils and each lesson lasts an hour, once a fortnight. In addition, each pupil has one individual lesson a week with her. Parents also have to attend the classes. It is important that the parents take an active interest in the lessons.
From the earliest lessons pupils learn to play by ear. They do not even try to read music until they have been playing for several years, and for a long time there is a big difference between their playing and reading of music. Margaret says that her method is not supposed to produce great violinists, and always suggests that pupils who perform particularly well should leave and study the violin using more traditional methods.
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