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Every so often Belle gets a new THING. In the past these THINGS have taken the form of various musical instruments, workouts, crafts, hair care routines – essentially it’s just her having a go at something new. I think she feels like it’s a bit foolish, somehow a weakness to start things and drop them quickly, but I love it. I love that she decides to give something a go and whoosh, she’s all in, before you know it she’s spent £50 on an autoharp on eBay. I think ‘having a go’ is an admirable quality that more of us could do with embracing, and I never think she’s foolish.
(I am saying this partly thinking she might read it, but also because it’s true and I want her to know that I admire it about her.)
This month the thing has been the violin.
‘I’ve never touched a violin,’ she said one day when we were in the car, ‘so I thought it might be fun.’
Never touched a violin? I was slightly shocked. Surely touching a violin was just a thing that everyone has done? But then I remembered that my best friend in secondary school played the violin, a lot, and so perhaps my adolescent violin touching experiences weren’t standard. I mean, if you didn’t have a violin playing friend, when would you touch one?
Anyway, after some time where I was given a lecture about how as a parent I should have insisted Belle practice an instrument every day from age two, and that if only I hadn’t neglected my role she would be a musical genius by now, Belle decided that she was going to learn to play and she bought a violin.
Here it is:
I actually used to play the cello, very briefly, (fun fact), so I knew how to set up the bridge and tune it and tighten the bow but then my knowledge kind of exhausted itself and Belle was left with just YouTube to guide her. YouTube is all well and good, but when that same week online tutoring company Tutorful got in touch, well, it felt like fate was on our side. Tutorful was set up in 2015 by long-time friends Mark Hughes, a technology analyst and Scott Woodley, a teacher, with a simple aim; to take the hassle out of finding a private tutor. They now have over 11,000 tutors and have taught over a million lessons.
‘Would you like to have a go at some of our expert tuition online?’ Tutorful asked.
‘Yes please,’ I said, ‘sign me up for the violin.’
How do you find an online tutor with Tutorful?
There are a couple of different ways to find your tutor with Tutorful. Your first option is to just have a browse in the ‘Find a Tutor‘ section. Here you enter the subject, the level and the time slots you’re looking for, and Tutorful returns you all the options. I was amazed at just how varied the tutors were – for example I searched for a Russian teacher, for A-level, available on Thursday mornings, and I got 51 results. Boom.
Tutorful tutors don’t just cover your classic school subjects either – there are people offering tuition in subjects like graphic design, languages, arts and of course music. (There are FIVE harp tutors! FIVE!)
Every tutor has their own profile with some information about them, how much they cost, reviews, availability, qualifications and teaching style. There’s a LOT of information.
If you do return a lot of results from your search and aren’t sure where to start, the other way to find a tutor with Tutorful is to use the ‘request a tutor‘ feature. With this method, you tell Tutorful a little bit about what you’re looking for and they will look through all their tutors and send you a shortlist of the best matches for you.
We tried out this option and Tutorful emailed us three potential violin tutors.
How do you book a lesson with Tutorful?
Once we had picked the violin tutor that we thought looked the best match for Belle – Andria – booking the lesson was easy, we simply submitted our request to Andria and she responded quickly and booked us in. Communications from Tutorful were great – they always let us know when we had a new message or any actions were required.
Andria was very thoughtful in all of her messages too. After we’d booked she WhatsApped to say hello and sent us a voice recording letting us know exactly how the lesson would work, what we needed to do before we logged in and anything that Belle would need for the lesson. This was really useful as Belle likes to know what to expect in new situations.
What does an online classroom look like with Tutorful?
To help familiarise you with the set up before your first lesson, Tutorful has a demo classroom that you can access, just to get a feel of how things will work. Both the student and the teacher have a video feed, there’s a chat function, and a whiteboard, which both parties can use.
It looks like this:
(I wrote ‘whiteboard’ – it doesn’t come like that. That would be weird.)
When it comes to your lesson time, simply enter the classroom and you’re good to go.
Belle’s lesson with Adriana was very productive. She went over all of the basics, and gave Belle some really good advice to help her form good habits early, like not to look at the violin! Belle made plenty of notes and I think she felt confident by the end that she knew what she needed to do next.
How much does Tutorful cost?
Tutorful pricing varies from tutor to tutor, but when I was browsing through the different subjects I thought that overall the pricing was really reasonable. I know in the past I’ve spent £30-40 an hour on tutors in various school and music subjects for Belle, and that has also involved me driving her somewhere and waiting for an hour in the car.
Overall then, we were really impressed with Tutorful. There’s masses of choice, it’s very easy to use, great value and the customer service was great throughout. We’d definitely recommend Tutorful if you’re looking for an online tutor.
Sign up to Tutorful now and get £5 off your first lesson.