I’m Outsourcing My Kid’s Music Lessons to Korea

Geek Culture


A rock version of Joy to the World on electric violin by sori1004jy

Or more accurately, to YouTube. Next week when I fill out my younger son’s quarterly homeschool paperwork for the school district, I’ll be reporting that he is working on Suzuki Book 2 with sori1004jy, a professional violinist from South Korea.

From the age of 5 up until this year, I had arranged for No. 2 Son to get lessons from actual flesh-and-blood violin teachers. His last teacher was a Julliard grad. But the lessons were expensive, and No. 2 Son’s skills had kind of reached a plateau. He liked taking lessons, but he didn’t work at it hard enough to get beyond a certain level. So this year I decided that we would work on the Suzuki book ourselves – with the help of YouTube.

Since the Suzuki exercises are all simplified versions of classical pieces, I thought it would be helpful to listen to the actual music as we worked our way through them. And that’s how I came upon sori1004jy. This lovely young woman has posted videos of herself playing the exercises from the Suzuki Book 2, with piano accompaniment, on an electric violin. She is really good, and the electric violin is really neat. (Here’s the piece we’re working on now, the Gavotte by Lully.)  She also plays short renditions of tunes from movies, pop songs – all kinds of music kids would love.

From what I have been able to find on the Internet, sori1004jy’s real name is Kim Ji Youn. She graduated from Yonsei in Seoul with a major in Instrumental Music. And she uploads her videos (now at 270 and counting, each only a couple minutes long) so that those of us who are “not rich enough to go to rather pricey concerts” (as one person who claims to know her put it) can get to know and enjoy classical music. She has the most-subscribed South Korean channel on YouTube.

Anyway, my son has been working diligently on his piece, going back to YouTube every few days to familiarize himself with each section as he gets to it. He watches her bowing, listens to her intonation, and follows along with his copy of the score. He doesn’t seem to be doing any worse than when he was taking private lessons from the Julliard grad – and considering that he has taken more ownership of his practicing, I think he’s doing a little better.

So to sori1004jy, I’d like to say your marvelous short videos are working for this family of American fans – and your virtual student. Thanks!

writes crafts books for kids.
(More online classical music resources for kids.)

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