I have been teaching for about 25 years, and it is one of my favorite things to do. I love the process, the progress, the frustration and joy. I have had many wonderful students over the years, many whom I still stay in touch with, many fantastic children who are now talented, inspiring adults, many great friends.
I like to draw from a wide variety of materials and repertoire, to find what works with each individual student. I enjoy Classical, Folk, Celtic, and Popular music. I feel it’s essential for the student to feel excited and enthusiastic; the relationship needs to “click” for it to work.
Over the years, I have crafted my own pedagogy working on a left hand technique that reduces tension and strain on the hand, arm, shoulder and neck, in response to the terrible tendonitis I suffered as a young violinist. I also approach a right hand technique that helps to integrate the bow into our miraculous bodies. I believe that, similar to an athlete, how we use our bodies in the act of playing an instrument requires us to work with our bodies and not against them; practicing should not be punishing!
Have you ever ridden a mountain bike and discovered the freedom and grace you can achieve if you can relax your muscles, and hold the handlebars without “gripping” them? The same goes with almost any sport, and it applies to violin too. My technique teaches some of the basic movements that allow us to develop the muscle memory and neurological pathways to play with ease.
Frances Walton, one of the great musical influences in my young musical life, talks about the connection between swimming and playing a musical instrument;
“Coordination, timing, and rhythm in a stroke establishes a balance for body attitude that planes the water. Playing any string instrument is an athletic pursuit as well, a total body endeavor that requires superb small muscle coordination. Of course, a sport can never yield music’s intense cerebral and spiritual satisfaction, but there are many parallels, not the least of which is the sheer joy of responsive movement. The one thing you need for music is a decent ear, and most good athletes have that, oddly. You’d be surprised how many can harmonize at the drop of a hat and yet don’t know how they do it.”
Developing this technique goes hand in hand with training the ear, and understanding the beautiful mathematical structure behind music. Like a spider-web, or a beautifully engineered building, we can explore its complexities, but also view it from a perspective of elegant simplicity. All along the way, the journey ought to be fun as well as challenging!
No matter what level you are at, pursuing a musical instrument can enrich your life in so many ways. For the adult student who has taken up the violin later in life, (or picked it back up after learning for a time as a child) I can help you to unlock the mysteries of the instrument and the structure of music, both of which will greatly increase your ability to play.
As for kids, I can never stop being amazed at the fluidity of their learning. We all learn by failing, over and over again, but for a child this no big deal! They are used to getting corrected, and just keep plowing ahead on their journey of discovery. The study of an instrument builds their concentration skills, and their ability to focus, but it is also simply a joyous opportunity to make noise. Noise becomes music, and in music, kids can express themselves as well as connecting to a rich world of cultural and human history. It is fantastic for the development of the brain. (don’t get me started) Music is such an intrinsic part of who we are as human beings. It is essential to our humanity.
“I find it fascinating that we humans are so involved in computers, and yet we haven’t really looked into the computers of our own minds. It is there waiting to be discovered. I used to call it ‘The Force’ with the kids in the 80’s. Imagine the great things that could happen if we help kids discover their souls. I’m not talking about religion necessarily, I’m talking about helping them find a way to seeks thrills through their own love of life and the nurturing of their own spirit, rather than through self-destruction. Music is a great way to discover this inner creative life.”
to read more about the life of Frances Walton, go to http://www.cello.org/Newsletter/Articles/walton.htm
As you can probably tell, I adore teaching, and would be honored to be a part of your journey with the violin. So whether you need a couple lessons to “tune up,” or wish to delve into a more in depth journey, feel free to contact me and set up an appointment.
I teach 30, 45, and 60 minute lessons. I do Facetime lessons, as well as teach in my home studio and at a studio space in Ridgecrest, California.
- $45 an hour
- $35 for 45 minutes
- $25 for 30 minutes