Laapa is New Orleans' Largest Private school of Violin, Viola, & Cello. More students take string and violin lessons here than anywhere else in the cities or New Orleans, Metairie, Kenner, Mandeville, and Covington.
Violin Lessons are available for students ages 4-adult. Viola, Cello, and Doublebass Lessons are offered for students ages 8-adult. There is some flexibility in minimum age requirements for viola and cello depending on the physical size of the student.
All programs are offered for 30, 45, or 60 minutes each week as private or semi-private instruction. Parents of children ages 4-7 are strongly encouraged to attend the lessons with the child as the success of the Suzuki method requires the parent of the young beginner to be a part of the early learning process. For beginning students, we use a combination of the Suzuki and other traditional methods such as Songs for Little Players and All for Strings. However, we also teach students interested in learning to play the fiddle, country, bluegrass, or even Irish jigs and jazz. Instruction is available at the beginning, intermediate, and advanced levels and in a variety of styles such as classical, country/fiddle, jazz, celtic, etc.
Performance Opportunities for Violin & String Students:
As in all of our programs, our violin students have several opportunities to perform each year. Each December and June, we hold our recitals at Nunemaker Auditorium, on the campus of Loyola University in New Orleans and at Victory Fellowship in Metairie, LA. You can watch some of our students perform in the youtube clip above.
All Inclusive Music Theory Program:
When you enroll in violin lessons at Laapa, you have additional access to our weekly music theory classes that meet once each week for 45 minutes. This class is included in your tuition so there is no additional fees required for current violin and music students. Our students are not required to attend the music theory classes, but they are certainly an excellent supplement to the private lessons.
About our Violin & String Faculty:
In addition to being top rated educators, our violin teachers at the Louisiana Academy of Performing Arts are also active performers and perform locally with groups such as the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra and the Gulf Coast Symphony Orchestra and come to us from all over the world. Our string faculty thus bring to LAAPA a thorough knowledge of best practices in string pedagogy and performance within a broad range genres.
Take a sample violin lesson on an "Introduction to the Fiddle" with Ms. Bridget.
Need assistance selecting a violin for your lessons? Here are the Three Basic Categories of Violins/String Instruments (contributed by Jamie Hacker, violin faculty at LAAPA):
THREE BASIC TYPES of violins are in existence. FACTORY, HANDMADE, and HAND RE-MADE FACTORY.
FACTORY VIOLINS are ROTH, MEISEL, EASTMAN, GLASSEL, KNIL-
LING, Amati, CHINESE, etc. All cost between $100.00 and $2500.00. The values of these instruments usually drops fifty percent as soon as your check clears!!
HAND MADE VIOLINS are those made by one person entirely, with his best workmanship, heart and soul built into it. The cost for a violin by a contemporary maker can vary from $1,500 to $25,000.00 The old master violins can soar to $1,000,000.00 or more!!!
IF WELL MADE, the hand made violin will hold the price you paid for it, or appreciate in value each year ...just the opposite of the factory made one.
HAND RE-MADE VIOLINS are most always good, but not inexpensive. The expense does not lie in the violin as such, but in the labor that went into it to make it a REAL violin. These violins do not appreciate as fast as hand made, but they either stay level or increase with inflation. The re-made violin will have been opened, the plates harmonically tuned for optimum sound, new bass bars in-
stalled, new fingerboards, pegs, bridge, post strings, tailpiece, tail gut and chin rest ....as well as any needed internal gluing and repairs. These violins are less ex-
pensive than fully hand made ones, and about equal to the price of the medium to higher price factory job. Remember, it takes $500.00 of labor and parts to remake an older factory violin, then add on the initial price of the violin, a case, and a bow.
COST EXCEEDS VALUE to repair some old violins. The yard sale violin falls into this category a lot. Others, which would be very good re-made violins have ills that reduce their value to zero. These ills include POST CRACKS IN THE BACK, BASS BAR CRACKS IN THE TOP NECKS, AND heel buttons broken out WOOD MISSING IN THE TOP, etc. MOST VIOLINS SOLD FOR $3.00 around the turn of the century ...Sears Roebuck, Montgomery Ward, the corner music stores ...all have one thing in common: they have neither bass bars nor corner blocks. All need total re-making to be of use. Some have dimensions which make them impossible to be made playable.
WHEN BUYING AN INSTRUMENT AND/OR BOW, consult with your teacher! Any reputable violin shop will allow their customers to take an instrument or bow on trial for 7-14 days. Bring the instruments you pick out to a lesson and get an experienced set of eyes on the instrument.
Caring for your Violin, Viola, and Cello (contributed by Jamie Hacker, violin faculty at LAAPA):
Keep violin an bow in case when not in use.
Always loosen your bow before placing it in the case.
Rosin your bow only when needed...not every play.
Aways wipe rosin from bow, violin, and strings after each play.
Keep bridge at 90 degrees to the top plate. Keep it square with fingerboard.
Check bridge for alignment with fingerboard and FF hole notches each day.
If post falls down, loosen strings immediately.
If fingerboard comes unglued, loosen strings immediately.
Use the pegs often to keep them round and free.
Handle the violin only by the neck or chin rest area.
Change strings approximately every six months (depending on amount of play time).
Get the bow rehaired every six months for optimal performance (depending on amount of play time).
Learn to use the Pegs (and don't rely entirely on the fine tuners)
Always lubricate nut and bridge slots when changing strings. Use a pencil!
Remember, your violin is only comfortable where you are! (Are you comfortable in a car trunk?) Environmental care will prevent post cracks!
Handling by other than the player does most damage to the violin!
Don't monkey with another's fiddle!
Accidental Damage: Most always caused by careless handling or rough-housing. One drop on concrete can TOTALLY DESTROY A VIOLIN.
NEVER ....NEVER USE THE BOW AS A WALKING STICK OR SWORD!...HOLD THE TIP UP OR AS INSTRUCTED!
LOVE your violin and it will repay you many times over in pleasure. RESPECT your instrument and be respectful of those next to you.
Some frequently asked questions regarding violin lessons that we receive include:
"What kind of violin should I/we purchase to get started?"
We recommend either renting a violin from the Academy or a local retailer with a "trade-up" program when first starting lessons. There are many different sized violins that children will quickly outgrow while they are in lessons so it does not usually make financial sense to purchase a new instrument until students are in their late teens. If you choose to purchase an instrument online, be sure to remember that it will most likely need a complete setup upon arrival. Setup is nearly the most important aspect for ease of playing.
"How do I tune my violin?"
The violin is tuned as follows: "G" - the lowest and thickest string, "D" - the next string to the right, "A" - the next string to the right of "D", and "E", the thinnest and right most string. To help you tune your violin, we recommend either purchasing a tuner or there are a plethora of free apps for the iPhone and Android. Our favorite is the PanoTuner.