I began studying the violin at a relatively early age and have participated in all aspects of its performance. I have studied in the U.S. and abroad – having performed as soloist, chamber and orchestral musician both as an amateur and professional. I studied and received my Bachelor’s degree in Violin performance at the New England Conservatory in Boston. I went on to obtain my Master’s in Violin performance from Shenandoah Conservatory and a little later in life, I attended UT in Austin, obtaining my doctorate of musical arts –again in violin performance. Along the way I’ve studied various teaching methods and been apprentice to important teachers. I’ve taken Suzuki courses and private sessions throughout the years, most notably with Rhonda Cole, and have observed and studied master teachers such as Almita and Roland Vamos. I directed the renowned UT String project – where I taught graduate students pedagogy and oversaw the teaching of approximately 220 young students. I am a past president of the N.C. chapter of the American String Teacher’s Association. All my years of varied training and playing experience has given me great means to teach others. Even though I have been on the faculty of colleges and universities, I prefer to teach children and have been doing so for well over twenty years.
I teach children age 3.5 – 18 at all playing levels. I am trained to teach from beginners to mature concert artists. I teach students from wherever they are developmentally on the violin. I teach all beginners Suzuki style, which is often called the “mother tongue” method. Students learn by rote (I play and they copy by memory) so that they can concentrate on fundamentals such as proper form, pitch and the spatial conception of organized sound in time – otherwise known as rhythm. As a student progresses, I incorporate traditional studies and materials, etc.
I expect parents to attend lessons and to work as an encouraging practice coach with their kids at home – until the student is old enough to be fully responsible for themselves. Unlike traditional Suzuki studios, I do not offer group class.
Learning by memory is an important factor for students’ IQ and will help them with many subjects in the future. I also use imagery as a way to make technical and musical aspects involved in playing violin more natural and, hopefully, easier. I encourage students whom are already reading music to memorize as well so that I can hone their fundamental skills.
My students learn to play standing, as a concert violinist would. The violin is a very difficult and demanding instrument and it requires stamina and upper body strength with a solid core and base, so, at the beginning of every lesson we do warm-up exercises to help build these along with giving them a chance to stretch, loosen up, send oxygen to the brain and prepare to focus on their violin playing and lesson. It is a repetitive activity that children enjoy and sets positive energy into play.
As students mature, I blend in traditional ingredients such as scales and sight-reading. Sight-reading is a necessary and weekly exercise since it demands many skills and will affect children’s problem solving and help their independence and ultimately, leadership.Every student is unique and I work to focus on students’ positive points while strengthening their weaker points.
The violin is both mentally, physically and emotionally challenging. A violinist must divide their body in half - the left side works differently from the right and yet both must precisely coordinate with each other. To accomplish this and overcome the many other obstacles that a violinist faces teaches dedication, motivation, will power, perseverance and self-discipline.
Overcoming even the smallest obstacle gives students the experience of achievement which leads to self-satisfaction, happiness and self-confidence, etc.
Musicians, violinists in particular, are among the only people to use both sides of the brain at once. This means that the cortex that connects the brain’s left and right hemispheres thickens over the years of playing until the brain starts to solidify around the age of puberty. However, the brain is still nowhere near mature and benefits can continue be seen afterwards.
Studies show that learning and playing violin raises one’s IQ and academic performance. Many athletes have studied violin as children and attribute it to their success. The rigorous training builds strength, agility, timing, focus, discipline, imagery and work ethic. Violinist also learn to play in sync with others – they learn to work with others through orchestras, symphonies, chamber music and accompanists.
Everything about violin study attracts employers who look for the qualities obtained from music study.
One of the best benefits for those studying the violin is to gain deep appreciation of music and musical skills – to enjoy classical music and contribute to society by attending concerts and perpetuating the art.
I always meet with potential students and parents before accepting them into my studio. This free initial lesson is only open to potential students who will be able to sign up for an available lesson time. The session is free and it’s time for me to work with children to see where they are and what I can do for them and to see how they their parents respond to me and my style of instruction. It’s also for them to experience my style of instruction and decided if it’s right for them.
Violin is an extremely difficult instrument and playing it will most likely not sound good at first. Studying and taking lessons is a long term investment. I will do my best to engage your child with their violin and music. I will be patient and understanding, but also tough and more demanding whenever it is apparently needed. The length of time for playing the violin to sound good can depend upon inherent ability. But don’t worry, the advantage of starting young is that kids have more time over the years to progress. There will be peaks, valleys and plateaus.
The child must have an interest in and desire to learn the violin or else it will never work - for neither parents, child nor me. Although there are always many challenges, one cannot force a child to study and learn violin. Sometimes the child will need to be pushed until they begin to identify themselves with the violin. At this point, learning and playing violin will make them smile and feel good, but it won’t necessarily make practicing easier.
Though rare, there is such a thing as being tone deaf (the inability to recognize pitch). If a child hears tones and wants to work to improve and play better, I will strive to sharpen their intonation so that they can hear and play better and better. However, if I find that the child cannot discern pitch, there’s no reason to study the violin. It’s possible to only discover this after some lessons.
Please use the form below to contact me to arrange an initial lesson.
I’ve taken Suzuki courses and private sessions throughout the years, most notably with Rhonda Cole, and have observed and studied master teachers such as Almita and Roland Vamos. I directed the renowned UT String Project and am a past president of the N.C. chapter of the American String Teachers Association (ASTA)