For so many people, lessons in classical instruments are associated with childhood drudgery and nerves. The pressure on young learners can make instruments like the violin feel less like a powerful tool for self-expression and artistic growth, and instead like another checklist item in a dizzying list of school assignments and extracurricular activities. It’s ironic that music education can feel like such a limiting, frustrating activity in childhood when, as adults, we come to truly understand the liberatory and transformative power of music. How then, can we make music education a more positive part of childhood, or reclaim music education as a part of our lives in adulthood?
From her home on Prince Edward Island, Kinley Dowling welcomes students to her virtual course with a warm smile and a laid-back attitude. Her online teaching platform, Violin with Kinley is billed as “No pressure, just fun” for anyone who’s violin-curious. It’s a natural extension of a lifelong passion for music and violin- a passion that has led her to travel the world as a touring musician, release two solo albums (with a third on the way), and teach at the Holland College School of Performing Arts. Kinley’s grounded approach to teaching violin is so refreshing because it’s not just about cultivating proper technique- it’s focused on finding the joy in playing. “Learning by rote is great,” she says, “but learning by ear, and being able to make stuff up is huge for getting people excited about making music.” Kinley leads with empathy for students who might be hesitant to jump into lessons- making it clear that she’s not there to enforce any deadlines, just to share the instrument and encourage them. She even has sympathy for the very natural inclination of beginners to touch the bow hairs (though you really shouldn’t).
In grade 4, Kinley had a violin teacher who she says changed her view of music and music education. “She would encourage us to dance around in class and just ‘feel the music’. She was very eclectic, and encouraged me to learn different styles that I might not have pursued otherwise.” With that jumping-off point, Kinley has built an admirable, adventurous life in music- and with the help of Odeum, she can help others lay the groundwork for their journey.
Before the pandemic rolled around, Kinley had long thought about offering virtual lessons but wasn’t sure where to turn to support her service. “One day my friend John MacPhee of the band Paper Lions pointed me to a promotion for Odeum. The process of getting started was simple and the apps are of great quality. I would definitely recommend that others look into it!” With apps on iOS, Android, Apple TV, Roku, and Amazon Fire TV, Kinley can offer countless students access to fun, pressure-free lessons that will move them forward on a journey of musical discovery.
Check out Violin with Kinley today!