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Philosophy

I love to play the violin and I love to work with students and adults who also feel that love and appreciation for the instrument.  I regard my teachers with great respect and I love how they imparted not only the love of the instrument but the technique needed to play well.

Not everyone will be a prodigy, but many will enjoy playing pieces and learning about composers.

The stringed instruments are very difficult to learn to play well and  I have great respect for those who undertake to learn how to play a violin or viola.  Some things to remember as a parent:
  develop the love of the sound of music and listen to classical music in your home. 
   
    a.  No matter the age, children should receive encouragement from their parents to practice.  For children in elementary school, the parent should be in the same room supervising the practice.   Be encouraging, be firm, be flexible.  Does your child brush his/her teeth each day?  Eat breakfast each day?  Practice is every day, too.  Some days the practice feels like it will go on forever.  Other days, the time zooms by.  This is a fact of life for all of us, children and adults.  (Just take a look at a child with a difficult math assignment, and you can see the same thing.)   Has your child managed to play a review piece with good posture, with good tone, with nice pitch?  Be sure to compliment your child! 
     b.  Be sure to understand what your teacher wants you to focus on for the week.  Try to make that happen, even a little bit, each day.
     c.  Develop a "feel" for the child's attention span.   If your child has a 30-minute lesson, then you should practice at least that long at home.  You can divide the time into shorter sessions.

The violin and viola are graceful and beautiful to look at.  The sound will be graceful and beautiful as the student progresses.  Students learning the violin and viola have many things to learn.  Like piano students, they will need to know the basic music theory of note names and rhythm values.  They will learn a bit about the composers whose pieces they are playing.   Playing a violin or viola is like learning to dance on your toes.  There is a lot of physical preparation:   good posture avoids later injuries; good posture encourages the motions of good music-making.  Proper motion encourages good tone quality.   All music-making requires these things.  Now, add into this the fact that the two hands and arms are being asked to move in different ways at the same time and you have the violin-players' dilemma!   Did I say, "Play with a good tone."?  Much easier said than done!

Middle school students do have crises in their music lives.  Middle school students may need to try their "wings" at playing by themselves, at least part of their assignments.   That feeling of empowerment and accomplishment is invaluable for this age group.    
Let the student go to lesson by themselves.  That may be the message.   Goal-setting should include the STUDENT, the parent, and the teacher. 

If the student knows he/she is getting better (more musical) during the middle school years, these high school years will flow much easier.  Goals will have been met and conquered and performing will become a fun and gratifying experience for all.

High school students feel swamped!  A fact of life is that high school students want to be exposed to the finest experiences they can get:  advanced level classes, excellent teachers, sports activities, school orchestra.  For a few, solo performance will be a major life goal.  The to-do list can be long and varies a bit with each individual, but many young amateur musicians are "driven" to excel.  The students in this studio have become mathematicians, scientists, physicians, coding experts, teachers and musicians.  All have had times of less practice than they would like.   All found and continue to find time to play and improve.  Their own empowerment and goal-setting has engaged their thinking and their priority list into their adult lives.