Spring 2012 Calendar

Mon, January 2: Fall Semester resumes

January 7: 4-5pm Tour group rehearsal (d)

January 14: 4-5pm Tour group rehearsal (d)

Mon, January 16: Spring semester begins

January 21: 12:45-1:30 Theory group A (school)
2-3pm Repertoire classes 1 & 2 (f & d)
4-5pm Tour group rehearsal (d)

January 28: 12:45-1:30 Theory group B (school)
3-4pm Studio 1 (d)
4-5pm Tour group rehearsal (d)

February 4 : 12:45-1:30 Theory group A (school)
2-3pm Repertoire classes 3&4 (f&d)
3-4pm Repertoire class 5 (d)
4-6pm Tour group Masterclass (f)

February 11: 12:45-1:30 Theory group B (school)
2-3pm Repertoire classes 1 & 2 (f & d)
4-5pm Tour group rehearsal (d)

Sunday, February 12: 2-3pm Sunday Salon

February 18: 12:45-1:30 Theory group A (school)
3-4pm Studio 2 (d)
4-5pm Tour group rehearsal (d)

February 25: 12:45-1:30 Theory group B (school)
3-4pm Studio 1 (d)
4-5pm Tour group rehearsal (d)

March 3: 12:45-1:30 Theory group A (school)
2-3pm Repertoire classes 3&4 (f&d)
3-4pm Repertoire class 5 (d)
4-5pm Tour group rehearsal (d)

Sunday, March 4: 2-3pm Sunday Salon

March 10: 9-12pm Tour group recording session followed by Panera lunch

March 18-25: Spring Break - No lessons!

March 31: 12:45-1:30 Theory group B (school)
3-4pm Studio 2 (d)
4-5pm Tour group rehearsal (d)

Sunday, April 1: 2-3pm Sunday Salon

April 7: 12:45-1:30 Theory group A (school)
2-3pm Repertoire classes 1 & 2 (f & d)
Happy Easter - NO Tour group rehearsal

April 14: 3-4pm Studio 1 (d)
4-5pm Tour group rehearsal (d)

April 21: 12:45-1:30 Theory group B (school)
3-4pm Studio 2 (d)
4-5pm Tour group rehearsal (d)

Sun, April 22: Earth Day Festival – Possible Tour group performance

April 28: 2-3pm Repertoire classes 3&4 (f&d)
3-4pm Repertoire class 5 (d)
Sun, April 29: 2-2:45pm Tour Group Benefit Concert (f)

May 5: Recital at 1pm (Hannah and Laura)

May 6: 2:30pm Kirby Kay solo performance with Town and Country Symphony, Vivaldi’s “Summer” concerto.

May 12: 4-5pm Tour group rehearsal (d)

May 19: Spring festival Dress rehearsals!
2-2:15pm Pretwinklers (f)
2:15-3:45pm Suzuki play-in rehearsal (f)
4-5pm Studio 2 rehearsal
5:30-6:30pm Tour group rehearsal

Sun, May 20: Spring Festival at The Sheldon 1:30-2:30pm

May 26: Recitals at 1pm and 3:30pm (Kirby and Anita)

Sunday, June 3: 2-3pm Sunday Salon

June 9: Last day of spring semester

June 11: First day of summer session

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Matt Glaser Worshop CANCELED

Hi Guys,
Matt Glaser had a medical emergency in his family yesturday and is having to postpone his trip to St. Louis. He'll be rescheduling his workshop here once his family member is feeling better.

Sorry for the late notice!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Concerts and Workshops this Week

Hi everyone!
There are two FREE events coming up this week. One is the workshop with jazz violinist Matt Glaser I mentioned last week. It will be this Thursday, October 1st at 7:30pm at University United Methodist Church. It looks like it'll be fun, so I'll be there to check it out. Hopefully I'll see you there!

Below are the address and directions.

University United Methodist Church
6901 Washington Ave
St. Louis MO, 63130

Directions from I-170
Take Forest Park Parkway (Exit 1E)
Left onto N. Big Bend
Right on Delmar
Right on Trinity
Right on Washington
The church should be on the right. This should get you there ok. There always seem to be construction projects in University City, so be on the lookout!

The second event is a free recital this Saturday, October 3rd at 1:30pm at Southern Illinois University. Violinist and Suzuki teacher Scott Conklin will be performing with Dr. Linda Perry on piano. They performed this recital over the summer and it was so successful they are bringing it here. The recital will take place at Lovejoy Library on the SIUE campus.

If you are interested in attending, please email me or call the school for directions.

Hope you all are enjoying this beautiful Fall weather!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Fiddle and Group Class home assignments

Hi Guys,
Great job today in classes today! Those of you in fiddle group and group class 4 were given assignments for your home practice. Here’s a reminder of what you need to practice (in addition to what your teacher has given you in your lesson.)

Fiddle Group:

We had some new vocabulary words today that I’ve put in blue.

1. Chops: Once you’ve got them, they are all about creating a really groovy rhythmic effect. Practice at least one day each week. Don’t forget; chops are WAAAY down at the frog, almost on the silver clip. It’s a heavy bow stroke, so be careful not to hit the string WITH the silver clip! Chops move a bit sideways towards your fingerboard rather than perpendicular to the string to create that “chh” sound. Remember that chops are the ONLY time you can play with a straight bow thumb.

2. Creating Solos: Talk with your teacher about creating a solo for Fire on the Mountain. Even if you are not a soloist this semester, this is a great thing to learn. Fiddle players usually do this on the spot when they are performing or jamming (which is called improvising).
Remember, the three good ways to make a fiddle solo out of the basic tune are to:
• Change the rhythm
• Add extra notes
• Add double-stops (playing two strings at once)

3. Off-beats/Back-beats: Practice these with a parent this week. Your parent can clap on the beat. See if you can play on the off-beat. For good back up playing, this should be done at the frog. Do them all up-bow if you can. Remember to start from the string with something a bit like a colle stroke. (Ask your teacher if you forget what colle means! ) For back up playing, these notes will eventually be double-stops.

4. Sally Gardens: We need to make sure we’re counting better on the phrase endings so we’re really together. Because it’s an air this tune is SLOW! Don’t be in a hurry! At the places that have long notes, have your parent count out loud to make sure your rhythm is good. At the dotted quarter notes, count 3 eighth notes before playing the next note. (This is called subdividing). Practice these spots repetitively at home!

Group 4:

Kirby asked you all to make sure you have Gavotte from Mignon memorized and sounding good for the next class. (Maybe take a look at the section with all the flats. The intonation can get pretty icky there!) Also start paying attention to the names of your pieces and the composer. It’s good to know what it is you are playing!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Famous violinists and Upcoming group classes

A big thank you to Maggie for making the cool new montage on the wall! It's got tons of famous violinists on it, so be sure to ask us about our favorites that are good for listening!

Next week, I'll send out a list of some really good violinists that are good to listen to or go see perform. One of them (Pinchas Zuckerman) is performing in St. Louis this spring! More details on that later.

This Saturday (Sept 26) we've got fiddle and group classes again. Fiddle will be at 2:30 to 3:15 and Groups 3 and 4 will be from 3:30 to 4:15. We'll be at St. Timothy's again at 808 N. Mason.

Fiddlers be prepared to play a swing Suzuki song, Orientalische Melody, some of Bach Up and Push, along with the tunes we did last week. We'll also talk a bit about how to create your own solos and how to play back up during solos and such.

See you there!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Matt Glaser Jazz Violin Workshop Oct 1

Hi Guys,
Andrew Driscoll and Victoria Brannan of Fiddleback (and also local Suzuki teachers) are bringing in famous Jazz violinist Matt Glaser for a workshop 7:30pm Thursday, October 1 at University United Methodist Church in University City. Matt Glaser is the head of the String Department at Berkley College of Music in Boston and is well-known and respected as a fantastic musician and string educator. The workshop is free of charge and students are welcome to bring their instruments and join in the fun!

I'm not sure of what level students need to be to feel comfortable joining in, although certainly kids at late book 1 and up should be fine. Younger students are welcome to observe if the material seems a bit too challenging. I think more advanced students (book 6 and up) will also find it informative.

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Listening to Music is Key to Musical Success! (part 2)

Continuing the discussion of good violin music!

I would suggest having a special listening assignment each week in addition to the daily listening to the Suzuki CD/your current pieces. Find a violin piece each week to listen to and tell your teacher about it in the lesson! Be sure to tell your teacher the violinist/group that played, the name of the piece and the composer too. That's important information to know!

Now onto more music...

Romantic music:
Music from the Romantic period is very emotional, intense, and virtuosic, all the stuff kids go for. It really shows off what the violin can do. There are literally HUNDREDS of pieces I could list here, so I’m just going to mention a few of the major concertos that are an absolute must for listening.

Violin Concerto in E Minor by F. Mendelsohnn: This is one of the greatest pieces ever written for violin. Of the artists who have recorded this, my favorites are Isaac Stern, Nathan Milstein, and Yehudi Menuhin. There are a number of current violinists who have done great recordings of this piece too. Kyung-Wha Chung, Sarah Chang, etc. I would avoid Joshua Bell’s recording as he changed parts that really should not be changed…He's a fantastic musician worth listening to, so check out some of his other recordings!

Brahms Violin Concerto: I love David Oistrakh’s rendition of this, although pretty much every good violinist out there will probably have a recording of this amazing piece. I also like Ida Haendel’s version, although that’ll be hard to find I think. I like this concerto even more than the Mendelssohn, if that’s possible. It’s one of the most difficult violin concertos.

The Sibelius Violin Concerto: This piece is amazing. I have been listening to Jasha Heifetz play this and it really makes me want to go practice more so I can learn it. (Heifetz usually has that effect on violin players!) The second movement is especially beautiful. I believe that Leonid Kavokos also has some good recordings of this piece. He’s one of my favorite living violinists and he often comes to perform in St. Louis. He’s definitely worth checking out. Disclaimer though: his posture and position of his bow arm are both atrocious even though he plays amazingly well. I guess it’s a freak of nature…

The Tchaikovsky Concerto: This is probably the most famous violin concerto. David Oistrakh and Itzhak Perlman both do AWESOME things with this piece. I grew up listening to Isaac Stern’s recording of it with the Philidelphia Symphony, so I’m partial to that recording too.

Brahms Sonatas for Violin and Piano: I have to mention these even though they are not concertos. These are astonishingly beautiful. My favorite is No. 1 in G major. The first movement is…there aren’t words for it… Also check out the Franck Sonata for Violin and Piano. (The one in A major) The fourth movement is heavenly.

There’s also a lot of great short violin pieces (around 2-3 minutes) from the Romantic period that would be good for kids to hear. I’ll mention those another day as well.

I’m out of time to tell you about the 20th century music for violin, although much of that would be less appealing to kids anyway, but there is some that is tonal and quite enjoyable.
This should get you started. Talk to your teachers if you have questions about what would be good for your child. Also check in with us if you need help choosing what artist to hear. There are a number of amazing violinists both from the past as well as those alive today that are really essential for any good violin music library. I’ll get a comprehensive list of them later.

Happy listening!!!

Recitals: A change

Hi Guys,
We need to make a change in the recitals. The fiddle group will perform on the 11AM recital on December 12th instead of the 2pm recital. Sorry for any confusion.


Stay tuned for more listening ideas!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Fiddle and Group classes 1 and 2 this Saturday

Hi Guys,
We have fiddle class meeting this Saturday at 2:30pm to 3:15pm.

We'll be working on:
Sally Gardens
Fire on the Mountain
The King of the Faeries
Johnny's Gone to France
I'll also be teaching a harmony part to the Klesmer tune.

Don't worry if you don't know all these tunes. Most of us don't yet, so just play what you feel comfortable on.

Also, Suzuki group classes 1 and 2 are meeting from 3:30pm to 4:15pm. Group 1 is for Pretwinkle songs through Lightly Row and group 2 is for Song of the Wind through Etude. If you are unsure which group class your child is in, talk with your teacher.

We'll be at St. Timothy's Episcopal Church at 808 N. Mason Road. The church is right next to the Andrew's Academy and the Hope Montissori school. The driveway winds around to the back of the church where the parking lot is. We use the side door up the ramp as the main entrance will be locked.

This particular week, we will not have use of the parish hall, so classes will be in the choir room and in one of the larger classrooms upstairs. I'll have a sign up to show you where to go. We may need to divide group class 1 into two classes just for this week since we have a smaller space than usual.

Students are welcome to stay and have cookies and juice after the Suzuki group classes.

See you soon!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Fiddle Music

Hi Guys,
I've finally figured out a way to get you the easier version of Back Up and Push.

You just need to click on "click here to start download." The website puts ads up sometimes, so I would suggest parents doing the download and not kids. I don't know what kinds of ads pop up on file hosting sites, so better safe than sorry.

I'm sorry I can't seem to figure out how Dennis nicely hyperlinked the fiddle music straight into the blog, but hopefully this will work out just the same.

The King of the Faeries

I've added a few slurs here and there to make the bowing come out easier. Your teacher will point out where these slurs go.

Let me know if there are any problems getting the music.

Fiddle kids I'll see you soon, on September 12 for our first class!!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Listening to Music is Key to Musical Success! (part 1)

Hi guys!

Disclaimer: This is a really long post with lots of good information. Save it for a time that you can sit down and read it all. I know you’re all very busy! To help out, I’ve divided this topic into two posts so you have more time to digest the info.

Listening to good violin or fiddle music is the best way to develop a good musical ear. Although listening to the Suzuki CD and your current piece on at least a daily basis is also helpful, nothing beats having music on as often as possible. In fact, listening is equally important to daily practice. As a child I remember we always had music on, Jazz, Classical music, Baroque music, Classic Rock, pretty much everything. (We were eclectic in our tastes.) It’s also good to get to some good concerts as that is a great way to motivate kids and show them the possibilities of their instrument. That’s another post for another day. (I’ll post from time to time about upcoming concerts to see in St. Louis.)

Today I’ll be posting on good Classical violin music to listen to. I’m saving fiddlers for another day. I find itunes is a great resource as is On Pandora you can create a free radio station. I’ve discovered many an artist or wonderful piece/song through Pandora. This list is not exhaustive in any sense, but is a starting point. I have included music here which features the violin. There is a ton of orchestral music and chamber music which is fantastic. I’ll put that in another post another day.

Baroque music:

Solo Partitas and Sonatas by J. S. Bach: I have Rachel Podger’s recordings which are incredible. She’s a Baroque style violinist which means she plays the music the way it would have been heard in Bach’s day. The Henryk Szeryng recordings are an excellent example of the more modern approach to Bach, as are the Nathan Milstein recordings. (Milstein is one of my absolute favorite violinists. He’s definately worth checking out!) The 2nd Partita is particularly beautiful, especially the “Ciaccona.” for more info on Partita No. 2.

Devil’s Trill by Giuseppe Tartini: This is an AWESOME piece. There are several violinists who do a nice job with this piece. I have Rachel Barton Pine along with others.

Corelli trio sonatas: These are for violin, viola de gamba (precursor to the cello) and harpsichord. Very cool music if you like Baroque stuff.

Classical music:

Music from the Classical period is wonderfully refined and demonstrates the beautiful tone of the violin.

The Mozart Violin Concertos: These, along with Mozarts violin/piano sonatas are pretty much the crowning jewel of the Classical violin repertoire. Concertos 3, 4, and 5 are the ones most worth listening to. Joshua Bell does a beautiful job with Mozart, so it’s worth checking out his recordings.

The Mozart Sonatas for Violin and Piano: You can’t go wrong with these. I don’t have a particular artist I listen to for these. There are several that are good.
The Beethoven Sonatas for Violin and Piano: These are getting into the end of Classical period stuff but are still wonderfully refined. Absolutely beautiful and worth checking out!

Stay tuned for info on some of the great violin music of the Romantic period including several of the best violin concertos!