Learning to play the violin in wartime conditions

Table of Contents


Music is an important aspect of a person’s life, it allows you to feel the fullness of being, support in moments of crisis and give hope. On February 24, 2022, Russia attacked my country, splitting life into before and after. In the first days of the war, classes were suspended, but within two weeks online classes were resumed as students needed support. Continuing to learn to play the violin gave everyone hope and strength to withstand air raid sirens anxieties and the fear of the unknown. Violin teachers not only taught violin playing, but also tried to support each child psychologically. Today, there are 7 million children of war in Ukraine, 312,336 of them study in art schools. 3,798 educational institutions were damaged by bombing and shelling, 365 of them were completely destroyed. Many teachers and students have left their homes and are forced to start life in a new place. If the first six months of training took place online, then from September 2022, offline classes were partially resumed. Live learning has advantages for students, but in times of war, it creates an additional burden on teachers, who are responsible for safety during an air raid and organizing the learning process during a power cut. Complicated learning conditions required the simplification of the training program, the development of an individual learning trajectory in accordance with the student’s circumstances, and the adaptation of the system of academic concerts and exams to train in wartime conditions. At the same time, live concerts provided great support to students and parents, because they allowed them to feel the joy of making music and support each other. During the 2022-2023 academic year, the students of my class have taken part in 7 concerts. If before the first concert I had doubts about their expediency, the smiles of parents and children confirmed the necessity of such events. At the presentation, I will share my own experience of organizing violin lessons during the war, the specifics of building educational programs and psychological support for each student, and I will prove that music and violin playing have a therapeutic character and help overcome the stress of war.

About the speaker

Kateryna Zavalko, Violin

Kateryna Zavalko holds a Doctorate in Pedagogy and serves as a violin teacher at Children’s Music School №4 in Kyiv, Ukraine.  She is author of more than 90 scientific works, including the monographs: Educational innovations in theory and practice of music education; Self-Improvement of teacher of music: theory and technology; Children violin pedagogy: an innovative approach; tutorials: The basics of innovational activity of music teacher; and Fundamentals of the Orff pedagogy (co-authored with Svitlana Fir). Kateryna Zavalko is certified Colourstrings teacher. Author of the Ukrainian project “Music for Children”. 

Her research interests encompass children’s violin pedagogy, innovations in music education, and the training of future music teachers.