The course content is based on the same ViolinSchool curriculum that sits at the heart of the Digital Learning Platform (and you'll have access to all our digital materials to supplement what you learn in the offline classes). You can start the course at any point in the program, according to your experience level.
The course will provide a unique opportunity for a small number of learners to access the same results-focused research and expertise that we've developed over the past decade of teaching people to learn the violin.
In addition to the most important technical skills, we'll also guide you through the practice and performance techniques that are crucial to make real, measurable progress on the violin.
As well as the group classes, you have the option of booking regular personal coaching sessions with me or my colleague David Worswick from the London Symphony Orchestra. You'll also have access to ViolinSchool's Learning Support Team throughout the week, as well as all our new digital learning resources, so there will be plenty of help available whenever you need it.
We'll also help you put together a clear learning plan (including a practice strategy), to make sure that you're getting the most out of your practice time.
All classes will be delivered at one of our Central London venues (travel zone 1). The classes are led by me, Simon Hewitt Jones (Director of ViolinSchool), and I'll be assisted either by Setareh Mood (Head of Learner Support at ViolinSchool), or one of our outstanding guest tutors including David Worswick (LSO, ViolinSchool) and other leading performers and educators.
If you're interested in attending, it's best to get in touch with us straight away, as places are limited. Priority will be given to learners who are enrolling on the full program, but you can also attend individual classes. If you've already been playing for a while, but there are particular topic areas that you'd like to revise, then just choose the classes that are most suitable for you.
Please scroll down for full information about the course, and then if you have any questions or if you'd like to book a place, just get in touch with us using the form at the bottom of this page. Or you can phone us on +44 (0) 20 3051 0080, or email us any time at [email protected]!
We look forward to seeing you at ViolinSchool soon!
ViolinSchool regularly runs classes in London, UK... here are some images from one of our most recent events!
How it Works:
In each group class, we'll drill down into the detail of a wide range of technical and musical topics. This will also include advice on how to practise and prepare for performances.
Each concept will be explained with the help of practical exercises that you can use immediately to begin mastering each technique.
You will leave the end of every session knowing exactly what you need to practise in order to develop the skills that you've learned that day.
As we study each topic, we'll work together to apply what we've learnt through group playing and performance. We'll explore different options for musical interpretation, and think about how to maximise expression and communicate the music effectively to our audience.
Each participant has the (optional!) chance to perform a solo to the group, and receive feedback from both the tutors and fellow learners. We'll also think about practical performance considerations, including performance psychology, stage presence, and how best to prepare for a public performance.
As you get to know the other participants, you'll also have the opportunity to perform together in smaller groups, such as duos, trios, and quartets.
Bowing Patterns with Simple Rhythms on Open Strings
Simple Melodies Based on Open Strings
Basics of Sound Production (Speed, Weight, Point of Contact)
Producing a Clear, Pure, Resonant Sound
How to Practise
Preparing For Your First Performance!
Don't read music yet? -- No problem! We'll also be covering some basic Music Theory topics.
Don't have a violin yet? -- No worries! We can bring one to the first class for you.
New to the violin? It's so important to be properly set up from the get-go! Violins, bows, strings, chin rests, shoulder rests, rosin, mutes, cases, apps ... ... We'll make sure that you've got everything you need to get off to the best possible start!
During the session, we'll explore the following topics:
Parts of the Violin & Bow
Tightening and Loosening the Bow
Violin and Bow Sizes
Mutes and Practice Mutes
Buy or Rent?
Choosing a Bow
The Buying Process
Buying ‘Second Hand’
How to Practise the Violin ... This is a critically important class!
Knowing how to practise is the closest thing to a 'magic formula' for learning how to play the violin. It's one of the most often-overlooked skills, yet also one of the most important.
The skills you'll learn in this class will give you the tools to keep improving FOREVER. You'll know how to make the most of your practice, and how to structure each session to achieve the best results in the shortest possible time.
You'll leave this class knowing how to get closer to your goals every time you practise. Never be frustrated by 'not knowing what to do next' ever again!
Finding the Right Amount of Left Hand Finger Pressure
Tones and Semitones
Left Arm “Swing”
Intonation: Develop Skills for Playing In Tune
Basic Finger Patterns
The Straight Bow
Flexibility of Right Hand and Wrist
Pronation and Supination
Functions of Fingers on the Bow
Using the Whole Bow (Heel to Tip)
Motions of the Right Arm
Basic Bow Division
Smooth String Crossings
Dynamics: Playing Loudly and Quietly
Separate Bows and Slurs
Legato and Staccato
Types of Bow Stroke
Double Stops on Open Strings
Left Hand Pizzicato on Open Strings
Developing the 4th Finger
Understanding the Motions Involved in Vibrato
Basic Vibrato Exercises
Varieties of Tone Production
Your chance to perform...
At the end of the course, everyone will have the chance to perform (solo or ensemble). Invite your family and friends, and feel free to film it for posterity!
This is a great opportunity to put into practice everything that you've learnt during the course. We'll play some of the pieces that we've learnt together as a group, and you can choose a solo if you wish.
Personal Coaching is also available during the course period, so if you need any extra help or one to one advice as you prepare your chosen pieces, you can visit our studio in Victoria for lessons with Simon or David.
Secure your place in the class with a £200 deposit:
Simon will be leading the course, including most classes, and will be overseeing the progress of all learners.
Simon Hewitt Jones performs, records and broadcasts widely as a solo violinist, concertmaster, teacher, writer, chamber musician, music researcher and leader of the Fifth Quadrant (5Q) music collective. He is involved extensively with projects that explore the intersection of music, technology, education, and cultural diplomacy.
Simon’s solo and chamber music performances have been featured internationally in festivals and TV/Radio throughout Europe, the USA and the Middle East, including NPR’s Performance Today and BBC Radio 2, 3 and 4. In October 2016, Signum Records will release Simon’s recording of Christmas Party, a new ‘Christmas violin concerto’ by his brother Thomas, featuring Gavin Sutherland and the Royal Ballet Sinfonia.
He tours extensively in the UK, and has appeared at most of the UK’s major venues, including the Bridgewater Hall, the Barbican and the South Bank Centre. Simon also appears regularly at St Martin-in-the-Fields as a soloist and concertmaster with the Trafalgar Sinfonia. Simon has contributed extensively to commercial projects for Universal Music, and his string section has recorded sessions for EMI, Virgin, Naxos and the BBC.
He is a regular guest concertmaster of orchestras and ensembles in the UK, Europe and Middle East. For several years, Simon was a researcher at the Royal Academy of Music, exploring violin education systems. He is the Artistic Director of two groundbreaking events in London, Music and the City and Classical Revolution London, and is the founder of ViolinSchool.
David Worswick (ViolinSchool Tutor)
David will be co-presenting several of the classes with Simon Hewitt Jones.
David is a violin soloist, chamber musician, orchestral musician, composer, arranger and educator. He became inspired to play the violin after hearing the recordings of Jascha Heifetz. Initially, he was self-taught – the Liverpool Central Library a goldmine for scores and CDs. At fourteen, things got a little more serious and he began lessons at the Royal Northern College of Music Junior School, where his unorthodox violin technique was radically revamped. He then progressed to Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester, enjoying two riotous years, before moving to his now beloved London to study at the Royal Academy of Music.
In recent seasons, David has performed at many of London’s major music venues – Royal Festival Hall, Barbican, Cadogan Hall, Roundhouse, Conway Hall, St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Linbury Theatre, LSO St. Luke’s. He has also played in some slightly more unusual venues – City Hall, The Macbeth, Old Vic Tunnels, London Eye, Classic FM Studios, National Portrait Gallery, Village Underground. And, he has featured at many festivals – Edinburgh Fringe, Aldeburgh, Soundings, Johnsmas Foy in the Shetland Islands, Leeds International Concert Series, Festival d'Aix-en-Provence, Sounds New, St. David’s, North Wales International Music, Spitalfields.
David was New Music Fellow at the Royal Academy of Music and Leverhulme Fellow at the Royal College of Music. He is proud to have worked closely with many of today’s most important young composers, performing hundreds of new works, as well as working with composers such as Thomas Adès, Bent Sørensen, Mark-Anthony Turnage and Sir Peter Maxwell Davies. Lately, his playing has been heard on BBC Radio 3 & 4, Classic FM, Al Jazeera, BBC One & Two and some of his chamber music recordings received great recognition, including the Diapason d’Or Award. In 2010, David became a member of the London Symphony Orchestra.
Setareh Mood (Head of Learner Support)
Setareh will be assisting with several of the classes, and will be your first point of contact throughout each week for help with anything related to your violin-playing.
Setareh Mood joined ViolinSchool in the summer of 2015 as a member of the Violin Orchestra, and she joined the ViolinSchool team in January 2016.
During her time living in several in different eastern and western countries, Setareh developed a love for many different musical genres. She grew up with traditional Persian music and first began to play the keyboard as a young child, but always loved the sound of the violin. At the age of 25, she started her violin-playing journey whilst living in Italy. Setareh is proof that it is never too late to start playing the violin!
Setareh has a degree in Foreign Languages and Literature, and has spent a great deal of time researching different cultures and languages. She has always used music and songs as a way of learning new languages, and she created a very successful YouTube channel teaching Persian language to Italians through songs.
Setareh now heads up ViolinSchool's Learning Support Team, where she helps violinists from around the world to realise their goals. She is also training to become an Advanced Yoga Teacher, and is creating a repertoire of yoga exercises to help violinists to maximise their physical awareness, relaxation and mind-body balance when playing.
Our Approach: How We Teach
& Our Educational Philosophy
Our two guiding forces are creativity and community. Everything we do at ViolinSchool is designed with a creative and social approach. We are holistic in the truest sense of the word: rather than following the classically ‘didactic’ approach of most 19th and 20th century 'pedagogues', we instead help violinists develop into rounded musicians, artists and people.
ViolinSchool is research-focused and results-orientated. We are fascinated by technology and how it can improve learning experiences. We recognise the importance of an approach that draws on both intuition and analysis. We believe performance psychology is an integral part of violin learning.
The vast majority of the learning programs that we produce are anchored around the key ‘pillars’ of Music, Violin Technique and Performance Skills. All of these areas are underpinned by a meaningful knowledge of How to Practise, and we make sure that each ViolinSchool student has a clear understanding of practice skills, so that they may flourish by taking responsibility for their own learning.
Here are just a few of the videos from the ViolinSchool Online Learning Platform, to give you a flavour of some of the learning you'll experience on The Violin Course. These videos feature course leader Simon Hewitt Jones of ViolinSchool.
One to one violin tuition with a good teacher can cost anything from £40/hour upwards, with some university professors charging over £100. Just one year at a music conservatoire could set you back anywhere from £6,000 to over £20,000!
By contrast, The Violin Course by ViolinSchool is exceptionally good value. For a fraction of the cost of a university or music college course, you'll be working with world-class musicians, who are both great performers AND great educators.
You'll gain a new level of clarity and understanding of what it takes to develop truly high quality violin-playing and musicianship. By the time you finish the course, you'll have a comprehensive, personalised blueprint for your learning that will help you to reach your goals!
Personal Coaching is by private arrangement with Simon and/or David, and is organised separately from ViolinSchool at their studio in Victoria, London SW1. Full details available upon application.
If you would like to enrol for The Violin Course, or if you'd just like to talk to us in more detail to make sure the program is right for you, then the best thing to do is to fill in the enquiry form at the end of this page.
We'll get back to you (usually within 1 working day) to confirm availability and get you booked in. If you're new to ViolinSchool, we can arrange for a callback from Simon Hewitt Jones (Director, ViolinSchool) or Setareh Mood (Head of Learner Support), to talk through the options and make sure that you're set up with a learning plan that supports your goals.
To confirm your place, we'll ask for a £200 deposit (or you can make the payment in full). You can now reserve your place with a debit or credit card using the form at the bottom of this page. Click here to reserve your place!
The balance of fees should be paid in advance of the first class (or if you'd prefer instalments, just ask, and we can set this up for you). All course fees are covered by 'The ViolinSchool Promise' - our 100% moneyback guarantee.
Please note that it is ViolinSchool policy that tuition cannot begin until all course fees are paid. We are committed to helping dedicated learners who cannot afford full tuition wherever possible, so if you may need help with a private sponsorship or bursary, then please mention this in your initial enquiry.