Eleonora Lopez

 
 

About the Teacher/Class                    

Welcome to strings class!


If you don't have an instrument, please take a few moments to read through my FAQ section for detailed
information on instruments to rent or purchase, and information on all supplies. Through internet
searches you will find many businesses willing to ship directly to your home. Supplies, strings and accessories are usually less expensive online.
I highly recommend Kruno Kupresanin, bassist with the Amarillo Symphony and master instrument maker. He has many excellent and
affordable instruments for rent or for sale in all price ranges, and can be reached at (806) 206-2089 for a private appointment, or krunokup@yahoo.com. His website is www.krunoviolins.com

Supply list for all orchestras:
An instrument, bow, case with name tag, rosin. Many young students (10-13 yrs) may need a 3/4 size instrument. If your student is under 5' 1", 
and you're unsure about sizing, please contact me before you obtain an instrument.
1" 3 ring binder with pockets
Pencils and a soft 3 ringed pencil case to keep inside the binder
Shoulder rest for violin/viola, making sure you have the correct size for your instrument. Prefered brand -Kun.
End pin holder for cello/bass
Electronic tuner with plug-in microphone
Metronome
Folding music stand for home practice

Orchestra I- Beginning strings will need Suzuki Book 1 for your chosen instrument
CD of book 1 is very helpful
small supply of plastic sheet protectors for binder (10-25 sheets)

Orchestra II- Intermediate strings will need Suzuki Book 2 and CD (and last year's Book 1)
plastic sheet protectors for binder (25-50 sheets)

Orchestra III- Advanced Orchestra- sheet music to be ordered as necessary for solo contest
plastic sheet protectors for binder (50 sheets)


Originally from Connecticut, Mrs. Lopez received her Bachelor of Music from the University of 
Connecticut and her Master of Music in Cello Performance from the Yale School of Music. She has
performed as a member of the Amarillo Symphony Orchestra and Chamber Music Amarillo, and was on
the faculty of Amarillo College for ten years, teaching cello in the Suzuki Program. She has led the
Ascension Academy String Orchestra to several 1st and 2nd Place Winner at the Texas Association of
Private and Parochial Schools State Instrumental Contest. In April 2009, the Advanced Orchestra won
Grand Champions for Best Overall Performance at the Winter Park Music Festival in Colorado. In May
2010, the Advanced Orchestra won Grand Champions for Best Overall Instrumental
Performance at the Spring in the Park Music Festival in Dallas, TX. In 2014, the orchestra won Grand Champions 
at the Alamo Showcase of Music, and in 2015, won Grand Champions at the Winter Park Ski Music Festival.
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Class Schedule

1st Period

2nd Period

3rd Period

4th Period  

5th Period  

6th Period  Orchestra III (Advanced Orchestra- High School)

7th Period  

8th Period  Orchestra II (Intermediate Orchestra)

9th Period  Orchestra I (Beginning Orchestra)


Calendar

August 2016

    
                     
   

September 2016

    



October 2016
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Amarillo Youth Symphony auditions.  Advanced students. Contact Irma Borup at 376-8782 to set up an appointment.  For more information and audition material:  www.amarillosymphony.org  






Amarillo Youth Symphony, Amarillo Youth Philharmonic and Sinfonia Auditions.
 


       8       Saturday
Middle School All Region Orchestra Audition, 8am-noon at Bowie MS.  $10 audition fee
High School All Region Orchestra Audition, 1pm-4pm at Bowie MS. $10 audition fee
                                                                                                         November 1, 2016                                                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Fall Concert, 7pm, at Polk Street United Methodist Church                                                                                         



December 2016

    2

  



All Region Clinic, rehearsal 9:00AM-3:00PM, Bowie Middle School (lunch at Mr. Gatti's), and Caprock High School (lunch on your own) $10 Participation fee for HS, $15 for MS.                                                                            
    3
            
All Region Clinic and Concert

MS:  Globe News Center for Performing Arts, 9am-noon, back at 6pm, Concert at 7pm
HS:  GNCPA at 1pm-4pm, back at 6:30pm, concert begins at 7pm with MS performing first.

     
   11
        

                                                                                                                                                                                 Christmas program at the Amarillo Botanical Gardens, 6pm
January 28, 2017                                                        UIL Solo and Ensemble Contest for Middle School at Amarillo College
    
             

March 2017
       

       


April 7-9, 2017                                                Advanced Orchestra Spring Trip
    





 





May 2017    

May 4, 5, 6 Greater Southwest Music Festival


                                                             

Grading Policies

50% of the grade is based on daily class participation, 50% of the grade is based on performances, playing tests, and extra home practice. Daily participation grades include effort and being prepared for class.

FAQ

Where do I find an instrument?

Should I rent or buy an instrument?

What supplies do I need?

What brand of strings should I buy?

How much money should I spend on an instrument?

What makes a violin so expensive?

Does the quality of an instrument really make a difference?

Which orchestra level is appropriate for my child?

Why do I need a shoulder rest?

What is a cello endpin holder?

What is a tuner?

What is a metronome?

Does it matter what kind of rosin I use?

What are some benefits in learning to play an instrument?

 
 

Where do I find an instrument?

There are a few local stores that have instruments available for rent. Longcor and Tarpley 
Music have different plans and rates. There are many businesses that you can find through the 
internet that will ship instruments as well, see the "links" page for businesses that I have used.
I have been extremely impressed by the instruments from Kruno Kupressanin, bassist with the 
Amarillo Symphony and AISD's instrument repair technician. He has instruments, bows, cases, and 
shoulder rests for sale or rent, and they are wonderful quality for the price. He can be reached at 806 206-2089.
Please avoid cheap violins
from ebay, many of their violins are not much better sounding than a toy. They look shiny and
nice, but are not worth it. If you bid on an auction item, also do some research first so you know
what you are getting.
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Should I rent or buy an instrument?

This is a personal choice. Many parents want to rent in the beginning to make sure their child 
likes playing the violin. However, some businesses charge high rent that over the course of a
year, what you've paid in rent is the equivalent of outright purchasing a student model violin.
Shop around and see which businesses will apply your rent towards the purchase of an
instrument. Also, many businesses will allow you to trade in an instrument at full purchase value
when your student is ready to move to a larger size or to upgrade on a higher quality instrument.
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What supplies do I need?

Your violin "outfit" will include an instrument, a bow, a case, and rosin (for the bow). 
You will need a Suzuki Book specific to your instrument and level, a CD of the book, a shoulder
rest sized for your violin/viola (I like "Kun" brand, other brands are not as adjustable, are
uncomfortable or break easily), and an end pin "stop" or "strap" for cello/bass. As your student
progresses, a metronome and chromatic tuner will be helpful. You can even find these in a
combination form. A scrap of soft cloth is recommended for cleaning off the instrument.
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What brand of strings should I buy?

The price range of strings vary markedly, you get what you pay for.  I like "Dominant" 
strings for violin and viola, my top choice would be "Evah Pirazzi", which are more expensive.
For cello, "Helicore" is a good mid-price option. My top choice is "Jargar" for the A and D,
"Thomastik Spirocore- Wolfram" for the G and C. These are professional level strings and are
expensive. You can find these strings online and mail order them to save money.
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How much money should I spend on an instrument?

This is a personal choice. Many parents would like to spend as much as they can afford, 
taking into consideration the level of commitment their child shows. Violins and violas for
beginners will be in the $300-600 range, cellos are about $1500-2000. As your student
progresses, you may wish to upgrade in quality. For a serious high school violin student, $800-
3,000 is a large range with many choices, and if your student wants to play through college, try
to invest in that top range. The low end of professional violins will start around $5,000 and
increase exponentially to the millions of dollars.
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What makes a violin so expensive?

At the top price range, the fact that there are only a finite amount of Old Italian instruments 
makes them worth millions. For modern instruments, some makers are more skilled at producing
an instrument that has a lovely tone, carries well in a concert hall, and are beautiful works of art.
The wood used to make modern violins is difficult to get, and therefore costs a lot of money.
Typically the best wood is old growth European spruce and maple, and the grain is even. Every bit
of the instrument is hand carved and hand varnished. The top American makers charge $50,000
for a violin, and have a long waiting list of customers willing to wait more than a year or two for
their custom made violin. The student model violins are factory machine made, using cheaper
wood. Some cellos and many basses are made of plywood and wood veneers.
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Does the quality of an instrument really make a difference?

Yes! One of the most frustrating things students have to learn is how to produce a pleasing tone 
on the violin. In my experience, cheap violins that have not been set up properly are difficult to
play. The strings may be set too high and are difficult to press down, or the bridge is not cut at the
proper angle so students are playing two strings at once, or the strings are of such poor quality
that they break easily, and all of this adds to disappointment on the part of the student. I can't
stress enough that the quality of an instrument truly makes a difference.
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Which orchestra level is appropriate for my child?

 
There are three orchestra levels, Orchestra I for beginners, Orchestra II 
for intermediates, and 
Orchestra III for advanced.

Orchestra I: The solo literature covered in the class encompasses Suzuki Book 1 
through mid 
Suzuki Book 2. The orchestral pieces are also easy level. Basic music reading skills and playing
skills are taught in group lessons and daily one on one teaching. It is appropriate for students
that have played one year or not at all.

Orchestra II: This orchestra is comprised of students that can play about mid-Suzuki Book 2
through mid-Suzuki Book 3. Intermediate reading skills and advancing playing skills are taught
through group and individual lessons. Orchestra literature includes pieces at level 2-3 of the
Texas Prescribed Music List for string orchestra.

Orchestra III: This orchestra is for advanced players as the music performed is at level 4 and 5 of
the orchestra PML. Students should be able to perform 2 and 3 octave scales up through E major
and Ab major. Sight reading skills are stressed, playing skills are refined, and musicality is
emphasized. 

Why do I need a shoulder rest?

A shoulder rest enables a student to hold the violin at the proper angle and with less tension. I 
prefer the Kun brand because it's more durable and adjustable than other brands. You can find this
item for as low as $20 or as high as $60 or more for professional models.
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What is a cello endpin holder?

The cello is played while seated, and a metal endpin keeps the instrument at the correct height. The 
endpin slips easily on a bare floor and makes it difficult to play the cello. The best endpin holders
are of the "strap" or anchor sort, xeros brand is a good one. Other types are not as reliable since
they may slide on dusty floors.
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What is a tuner?

The electronic tuner can help a student learn to adjust the strings to the correct pitch by alerting the student if 
the pitch is too low or too high. A plug in microphone attaches to the bridge of the instrument and
can help the student tune in a noisy environment.
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What is a metronome?

A metronome helps students keep a steady beat and is very useful for practice.  I am told there are 
internet sites and phone apps that are available for download. There are also metronome/tuner all
in one combinations available.
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Does it matter what kind of rosin I use?

There are many brands of rosin available, some are more "sticky" than others. Student level rosin 
comes in a wood encased cake and costs about $2-6. Professional rosin is much more expensive and is easily breakable.
Different brands label their rosin for specific instruments. For beginning students, rosin is rosin. For intermediates and advanced,
"Hill" or "Bernardel" brands are excellent, usually "light" for violin and viola, "Dark" for cello. These can cost around $10.
 Professionals all have their favorite, mine is Andrea rosin and costs about $35.
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What are some benefits in learning to play an instrument?

Learning to play music is fun and enjoyable, and you will learn many skills along the way. 

As an educator, I find that learning how to play a stringed instrument develops critical thinking
skills. Students must learn through kinesthetic, aural, and visual processes. Children are taught
how to read music, how to process the notes on the page into pleasant sounding music, and
learn how to become creatively involved in the end musical product. Students also learn to listen
to each other, learn how to work together towards the same goal, learn to lead, to follow, and to
take pride in their work.

The Texas Music Educators Association has a very good website for more information on the
benefits of learning music. They have published SAT scores for those students that have
auditioned and been accepted to the All State Orchestras, Bands, Choirs and Jazz Bands. I find it
interesting to note that the orchestra students have consistently scored higher than the other
students, and several hundred points above state average. To see the scores, go to tmea.org,
click on Programs, drop down to Texas All State, drop down and click on All State Average SAT scores.
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Assignments

Students are strongly encouraged to practice extra at home, especially for playing tests and chair tests. 

Links

Ascension Academy home page

George Robinson violins, Lubbock TX.
http://www.robinsonviolins.com

instruments, strings and supplies at discounted rates
http://www.johnsonstrings.com

instruments, strings and supplies at discounted rates
http://www.swstrings.com

instruments, strings, supplies, and lots of sheet music
http://www.sharmusic.com

strings and supplies only
http://www.concordmusic.com

instruments, strings and supplies
http://www.ymonline.com

Texas Music Educators Association
http://www.tmea.org

The Amarillo Symphony Orchestra
Concert Information, Amarillo Youth Orchestras
http://www.amarillosymphony.org

http://www.krunoviolins.com

harringtonstringquartet.org

 Ascension Academy 806.342.0515 PO Box 50729 Amarillo, TX