I do not accept students below the age of 18. Students age 18 and up are welcome to apply to study with me. I enjoy teaching adults as they are more motivated to practice than children who do not have the foresight into how good they could become on the violin if they work hard at this.
- Which subject(s) do you teach?
Violin, Viola, Musicianship, Theory 1-5, Advanced Cello & Musicianship.
- Tell me about your qualifications.
I have passed grades with the Associated Board of the Royal School of Music, and my credentials can be seen at the url on my website of (concealed information) I am also a former student from the Juilliard School of Music from 1973-1977. You may see my CV at the url of (concealed information) I have successfully passed 8 years of teacher training as well, which no other teacher in the UK has done. I am a master of techniques, whereas most teachers teach what they were taught themselves. My experience would make my level of qualification far higher than the FRSM, and I have helped students toward their FRSM (the equivalent of the Master's Degree). I have been teaching professionally for nearly 40 years now, longer than most teachers have even been on this planet!
- How much do you charge?
£22-50 per hour lesson or £12-50 per half hour lesson. However, discounts are given for early tuition payments. If you pay by the 15th of the month for the next month, the hourly rate drops to £20 per lesson, and the half hourly rate drops to £11-25 per lesson.
- Where do you teach?
I teach from home only.
- When are you available?
Monday through Friday, although at the moment most of my students come on Mondays and Tuesdays. The only holidays I observe are New Years' Eve, New Years' Day, Guy Faulkes Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day.
- Which ages and levels do you teach?
I teach beginners to very advanced students, and do not take on any student under the age of 18. My oldest student began when he was age 86, and by the time he was 93, he was "one mean fiddler"!! But then I had to move from the area due to most of my work being in a different area than in the area I was living in. I teacher students up past the FRSM level if they would like to become professional.
- Which qualifications do you prepare your students for?
ABRSM grades 1-8, the Diploma, the Licentiate, the FRSM and above.
- Describe your arrangements for online tutoring.
I have MSN with a webcam, and I may be reached through MSN at (concealed information) I also have Skype at don.leonardo300 although my rates for online teaching would be the same as for teaching in person.
- Do you have a personal message for students?
Practice makes perfect! If you think you can become a master of the violin over 2-3 months, then you are only dreaming! It takes years of hard work before you will have something really special to show for yourself. After all, if you could appear amazing after only a few months, then nobody would consider you to be anything special as they could do the same! But a master violinist is someone to be truly envied, as their skill and abilities come from years of proper training, hard work, dedication and the very highest of standards. If you work hard and get a Distinction in your Grade 8, you may then be invited to join the C.A.I. Orchestra when this is put together, where you would be paid for taking part in ongoing charity fundraising concert events which would be held often. You would be paid from the gift aid collected by CAI from those who donate to this charityl.
- What kind of experience do you have?
Nearly 40 years of teaching experience, plus 8 years of teacher training. Although I am not a strict teacher, I am a demanding teacher in that I cover the most important aspects of technique and strive for perfection through my teaching methods. I do not "settle", but keep striving for perfection with my students. I do not follow or accept what most teachers say, "Why teach in 6 months what you can take 6 years to cover". Therefore my students learn 4-6 times faster with me than with any other teacher they could choose to sign up with.
- Do you have an up-to-date DBS (Disclosure & Barring Service, formerly CRB) Certificate?
I teach from home where a full disclosure would be required of any people who were to live at or come into my place of residence with my other students as well, which would be an unrealistic expectation. What is being required for the CRB disclosure is unreasonable, unrealistic and unfair, such as making anyone else within the same building responsible for being CRB checked as well, even if they have no contact at all with any of my students.
- Where and with whom did you train?
At the Juilliard School of Music with Dorothy DeLay, Lillian Fuchs, Isaac Stern and many other world-renowned musicians such as with the Juilliard String Quartet. I also studied with teachers at the Meadowmount School of Music and at the Aspen Music Festival. My qualifications are very lengthy as I have been a violinist now for nearly 50 years.
- Do you belong to any professional organisations?
I am the Founder of the registered charity (no. 1118757) Concert Artistes International, and am a member of the ABRSM. I used to belong to the Musicians' Union, although there was no advantage for me to remain a member with them. For more information about C.A.I., please see the developing website at (concealed information) When this site is near completion, it will offer employment for many people.
- Tell me about some of your current students.
If you were to see the grades my students get, most of them achieve a distinction due to the level of teaching I provide. However, I now only accept student from age 18 and up, and no longer accept children for students. You may see testimonials written about me at the url on my website of (concealed information)
I had a look through the Yellow pages, and found Don LeonardoÂ´s number, and rang him. Then I went for my consultation with him, and bought my first Violin. When I went for my first lesson, he made me feel at ease, and taught me how to hold my violin and bow properly. I was pleased to be taught by Don, and would recommend him to others who want to learn to play the violin, as Don makes it fun to play.
I found Don from the Yellow Pages and booked a lesson to see if Simon would enjoy it to see if Don was suitable to teach someone with learning disabilities. Simon and Don hit it off immediately and he has taken lessons since September 2006.
Don LeonardoÂ´s methods and experience in teaching were impressive. Studying with a violonist whose classmates were the greatest musicians in the world, (Yehudi Menuhin, Itzhak Perlman, Yo-Yo Ma...) was really exciting. Besides excellent teaching techniques, his enthusiastic personality kept me entertained and looking forward to more lessons. In a few months, I learned pieces that seemed impossible, thanks to his progressive & efficient teaching.
The remedy of my interest in learning the violin lay with my wonderful and charismatic tutor, Don Leonardo. He immediately put me at ease on my first lesson by reassuring me that I had the skills required to make learning a new instrument at this stage of my life a pleasure. How true this was!
I went to see Don & he built up my confidence in playing, which I had lost. He helped me recover my abilities so I can now enjoy playing music again. He taught me techniques I never knew of, despite former professional training, and retrained me in techniques I had forgotten. Without his help and encouragement I am sure I would not be playing today.
With Don I learned much more than I did in school and he helped me get over bad habits of mine. Now I know more about vibratos, techniques and theory thanks to Don. As well as making lessons fun and educational, he has some hilarious jokes. All in all... Don is an AWESOME teacher!
I think that Don is funny and patient, and he always tried his best to help me. Learning violin with him is so easy, even when he taught me vibrato. I can't believe I learnt to play with vibrato in just two weeks! That is why I really enjoyed my violin lessons.
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