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

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Saturday classes and some videos

Hi all and welcome back.

We hope you had a wonderful, relaxing Thanksgiving break and we're looking forward to seeing you again at lessons this week.

We've got our last set of group classes of the semester this Saturday:

1:45pm Theory class in Laura's studio
3pm Studio class 2 downstairs at Ivy Chapel

Here's a couple of fun videos to check out

The first video is David Oistrakh (famous Soviet violinist) and his son Igor (also a successful concert violinist) playing a fun piece by the 19th century virtuoso violinst, Pablo de Sarasate. The second video is the gorgeous second movement of the Bach Double violin concerto (some of you have learned or are learning the first movement. This movement is worth learning too.)

If you're looking for good violinists to add to your budding musician's music library this Christmas, (hint, hint) you cannot go wrong with David Oistrakh. He's considered one of the greatest violinists ever and has that beautiful rich tone that we all try to get when we play. Check out his recording of the Tchaikovsky concerto too (I believe it can be found on youtube). You'll hear what a great tone he had.

Violists, cellists, and pianists, I haven't forgotten you! I'll have videos/listening suggestions for you shortly.

Listening to good quality music written for your child's instrument, in addition to listening to the pieces currently being studied is a vital part of the development of a good ear and musical expression. By hearing really fantastic musicians, students get a good musical tone in their ear which makes a big difference in their progress, not to be replaced by daily practice though of course! Feel free to talk with us if you would like suggestions for listening.

Happy listening!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Upcoming Events

Hi all,
Here's what's on the schedule in November:

Saturday, November 6 (This Saturday) at IVY CHAPEL
2pm: Suzuki group classes 3 and 4
3pm: Fiddle Class

Saturday, November 13 at SCHOOL AND IVY CHAPEL
1pm: Piano studio class (Ivy Chapel)
1:45pm: Theory class (in Laura's studio)
3pm: Studio class 1 (downstairs in Ivy Chapel)

Sunday, November 14 at IVY CHAPEL
3pm: Faculty Recital. Faculty members of St. Louis School of Music performing works by Vivaldi, Saint-Saens, Dvorak, Ligeti, and Andrew Loyd Weber.

Saturday, November 20 at IVY CHAPEL
2pm: Laura's Student Recital
4pm: Adam, Anita, and Lan Sin's Joint Student Recital

Monday, November 22-Sunday November 28. No lessons for Thanksgiving Break. Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Upcoming classes plus assignments

Hi All,
Quick reminder of our upcoming Saturday Classes:

1:45 Theory class in Laura's studio
3pm Studio class 2 at Ivy Chapel (downstairs)

Also, I'd like to post a couple of assignments from the classes over this past weekend.

Suzuki Group 3:
Start reviewing Gossec Gavotte now if you've already learned it. It will be on the spring festival and it takes a lot of work to get it sounding good as a group.

Keep working on using more bow!!!!!! You sound so fantastic when you do!!!

Also, start practicing identifying your note names for G Major on the violin. You should know the note names (G, A, B, rather than open, G1, G2, etc.) going up and down the scale.

Suzuki Group 4: Start your review for festival NOW! A lot of the pieces are ones you learned a long time ago and consequently harder to remember. Start learning the fiddle tunes now as well.

Fiddle: I know you all are working hard to play super in tune which is pretty grueling, so thank you for your efforts. Be sure to do lots of SLOOOOOOOWWWW practice and be sure to bring Bonaparte's retreat to your teacher. We've improved but we're still pretty out of tune on that one. Listen for the ringing tone on the 3rd fingers. We also need to tune up the 1st and 2nd fingers - so basically, all the fingers can be more in tune!

Experiment with slides and double stops in Fiddler's Dream. Don't forget to do slow boring practice on this one too. We're not really in tune yet on this one either....

Mariachi: be sure to take all shifts on page 2 to your teacher if you have trouble with them. We're trying to avoid crossing over to the E string (ick!) as much as possible. Be sure to practice all shifts individually for good intonation and relaxed, smooth shifts.

Good job guys and thanks for your hard work!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Stars of Tomorrow Concert

I just got this message about an upcoming music concert featuring kids. It looks interesting although it's a bit of a trek from us here in St. Louis since it's out in Belleville. The little girl on the TV promo also plays quite nicely (note the beautiful intonation, good bow distribution, and nice vibrato!) and is worth watching.

"The Belleville Philharmonic "Stars of Tomorrow" concert will be on Sat Oct. 16th at 7:30 in Union United Methodist Church in Belleville. 3 soloists will be featured including Henry Meyers on cello, a pianist, and 9 yr-old Julia Harris on violin. The concert may be of special interest to violin, cello, and piano students. A promo for the performance was on Fox News this past Tuesday.

Here is a link to that TV broadcast:

If you find yourself in Illinois this weekend, check it out!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Calendar Changes and upcoming recitals

Hi All,
We hope you are having a good fall so far. This weekend we have theory and studio classes:

1:45pm Theory in Laura's studio (note that we have moved the class 15 minutes earlier)
3pm Studio 2 - 3 octave scales and masterclass at Ivy Chapel (note the changed location)

There are a couple of changes in our calendar and location. First of all, all theory B classes will now be at 1:45 instead of 2pm to give Kirby time to get to the next class. Theory will still be held in Laura's studio at the school. The studio classes at 3pm have been moved to Ivy Chapel since attendance is higher than expected (great!) and the space in Laura's studio is a bit too tight for comfort.

Also, Suzuki group classes 1 and 4 have been moved to a larger classroom downstairs in the Sunday School at Ivy Chapel rather than in the multipurpose room as attendance at Suzuki classes has been very high (yay!) and we need some more space for everyone to feel comfortable. Hopefully with these changes everyone will feel a bit more comfortable and less cramped at classes now.

Halloween Recitals!

They are coming up!! Our Halloween recitals are for students up through 5th grade. (Sorry older students! You're getting too big now!) It's really snuck up on us as the recitals will be happening in just a few weeks on Saturday, October 30th at 2pm and 4pm. Students need to have their pieces ready no less than 3-4 weeks before the recital to be adequately prepared and perform their best, so be sure to get your piece picked out and be doing lots of practice! We don't like for kids to feel stressed at the last minute getting ready (it's hard to play well in those circumstances) so being ready well in advanced will make for a relaxed recital for everyone, including us teachers!

Dress: Students are invited to wear their Halloween costume as long as they can comfortably play in it so be sure to check ahead of time that the costume is comfortable for playing whatever instrument your child plays. Parents are welcome to come in costume too if they'd like!

Volunteers: We'll need parent volunteers to help us with set up, providing spooky treats and punch for the reception, clean up, etc. We'll have a sign up sheet at the school in a few days for the specific jobs. If you can help out, please do sign up as we really appreciate all parent support we receive.

Recital Times: There are two Halloween Recitals, one at 2pm and one at 4pm. Because we only have a limited amount of time booked at the church (they charge hourly instead of the flat fee we paid at our other church) and since we like to keep recitals for the little ones to an hour or less, we need to make sure that we have two fairly equal length recitals. For this reason, we'll have a sign up sheet at the school in a couple of days. These sign ups will have a number of spots available on each recital. Please be sure to sign up for a time!

Happy Practicing!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Labor Day weekend

Hi All!

In honor of Labor Day weekend we have no group classes scheduled this Saturday. However, all private lessons for this weekend and on Labor Day are scheduled as usual unless you have already worked out an alternative time with your teacher. Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Group classes this Saturday

Hi all,
Welcome back! We hope you had a good summer!

This Saturday we'll start our group classes. The schedule is as follows:

1pm Theory class A (students up through 3rd grade enrolled in theory class)
2pm Theory class B (students 4-6th grade enrolled in theory class)
3pm Intermediate violin/viola studio class.

We'll be meeting in Laura's studio at the school. If we have plenty of space, theory and studio classes will continue at the school. If it's a bit cramped, we'll book space at Ivy Chapel just down the street from the school for all future classes.

Theory students should plan to bring any theory materials they own as well as their instrument. We may or may not use instruments in each class, but it's good to have in case you need it.

Studio class students need their music, any scale books they use, and their instruments. Some of you will play a solo for the class, so come prepared to play at least a portion of something you've polished.

Fiddle students are invited to Laura and Dennis' house for a fiddle jam session party this Saturday from 4:30-6pm. Students should come knowing at least a couple of fiddle tunes we've played in past semesters and should bring their instruments. If you are planning to come and have not yet RSVPed, please email Laura by Thursday so she knows how much food to order. We'll be ordering pizza and good stuff. Parents are welcome to stay but are not required to attend. If anyone attending has any special food needs, please let Laura know. Vegetarian food will be available.

Looking forward to seeing you Saturday!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Fall calendar and TV stuff

Hi all,
We hope you've been having a good summer! Our fall semester is starting up in just 3 weeks, so I just posed the calendar for the fall on this blog and will post a copy at the school next Tuesday. Please be sure to look it over and get the dates into you calendar. Please note that some group classes this semester are at our school location and some are at Ivy Chapel, at 620 N. Woods Mill Road just down the street from the school. Also take note that if you are enrolled in group classes and theory, or Suzuki classes and studio classes, then you will have some kind of group class almost every Saturday and should plan accordingly so you can attend regularly. (This may seem like a lot of time, but is necessary for quicker progress.) This year, the fall will be a full 20 weeks, starting on Monday, August 9th. Unfortunately we cannot afford to accomodate requests to start late and cancel those first few lessons, so please let your teacher know now if you'll be on vacation during the first part of the semester so those lessons can be rescheduled.

Here's what I was doing this morning. This was on Fox 2 St. Louis. Enjoy!

We're looking forward to seeing you all soon and hearing about your summer!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Recitals this Saturday and end of semester stuff

Hi All,
Congratulations on another set of successful recitals! We've got our last two recitals this Saturday (May 22) at 11am and 2pm at St. Timothy's Episcopal Church. We're looking forward to seeing all the performances!

We're coming to the end of our semester. The last day of the spring semester is Saturday, June 5th and the summer semester will begin Monday, June 7th. Those of you who have lessons on Fridays through Mondays, you are scheduled for a lesson on Memorial Day weekend unless you already made other plans with your teacher. Because of the large number of make up lessons we all have to give before the end of the semester, we really cannot accomodate any more changes in lesson schedule over the next couple of weeks, so please aim to make your own plans accordingly.

The practice challenge is coming to an end next Saturday, May 29th. Be sure you've reported all your practice days to your teacher since we cannot count any unreported days. Be sure to get lots of practice in this week too so you have as many days as possible. We'll be tallying up the winners as well as comparing studio numbers to find out which teacher's "team" won. We'll have that information for you soon.

Have a good week!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Congratulations and this Saturday

Hi all,
Congratulations to everyone for your hard work on the festival this past weekend! Thanks for sharing Mother's Day with us!

This Saturday, May 15 we have another set of recitals at St. Timothy's Episcopal Church:

11am - piano recital in the chapel
2pm - violin recital in the sanctuary

Students performing in these recitals should plan to arrive AT LEAST 15 minutes before their assigned recital to tune and warm up. Advanced students in particular need to warm up before playing so they can play their best. Students should plan to dress nicely, (Sunday clothes - no sneakers, jeans, etc.) but in clothes that can performed in comfortably.

Everyone else is welcome to come and support our students. They've worked hard this semester! Then join us for goodies afterwards.

Saturday, May 1, 2010


Hi everyone,
Congratulations to those of you who performed in the recitals today. Fantastic job!

Next week we have our spring festival. Here's a reminder of the schedule:

Saturday, May 8 Dress rehearsal (Required)
2pm Suzuki rehearsal
3pm Fiddle rehearsal
Viola students, be sure to be at the Suzuki rehearsal to rehearse the Bach Gavotte with us!

Sunday, May 9 - 2pm concert. (Should be about an hour)

For the Suzuki rehearsal we will start with the pretwinklers for the first 5 or so minutes and then work our way from the twinkles up to the Bach Gavotte. That way, as the pieces get more advanced, the younger students do not have to stay for the entire rehearsal.

Here is the Festival performance order:

Fiddle Group
  • La Cumparsita (Tango)
  • Redwing
  • Bill Cheatem
  • Mason's Apron
  • Finnish Polka

Pretwinklers: Chicken's on a Fencepost (i.e. Peanut Butter Sandwich)

Violists: Judas Maccabaeus and Minuet 3 (please check these pieces with Maggie as I may have the it wrong!)


  • Bach Gavotte in G minor
  • The Two Grenadiers
  • Waltz
  • Musette
  • The Happy Farmer
  • Minuet 2
  • Etude
  • Allegro
  • May Song
  • Go, Tell Aunt Rhody
  • Lightly Row
  • Twinkle Theme and Variations

We will announce the order as we go. Please be sure to be practicing your festival pieces this week! We want to play really in tune and really together so it's a really enjoyable concert for our audience. Thanks and see you all soon!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Fiddle Assignment and recital clarification

Hello Fiddlers!

This week please be sure to practice the following with your teacher, even if you are sure you are doing it perfectly:

Mason's Apron - intonation at the start of the B section. The F# and G# are both sounding really out of tune in the group. When you place your first finger on the the B and the F# (non-simplified version only) make sure you use the inside corner of the finger or the F# will sound really flat. Be sure to check with your teacher that you are doing this properly and do some slow practice to really listen! This may sound confusing, so ask your teacher to help.

Redwing - Practice the ending note with the repeat back to the beginning. The long note should be three beats. Count "1-2-stop" to get a clean sound. If you don't stop your bow we will not all sound together. Be sure to check this with your teacher.

Bill Cheatem - Practice intonation on the first two notes. Practice with your teacher for good rhythm to make sure you are not coming in early after half notes.

Tango - Continue to practice articulation and musical stuff Kirby mentioned. Remember the spot where you have 3 beats of rest!

I also just wanted to clarify in case there was any confusion: although we have student recitals this weekend, not everyone is assigned to play. We have a total of 6 student recitals for violin or piano this semester, so don't worry, you're child is still performing on the day discussed with your teacher. However, everyone is welcome to come and attend the recitals this weekend, regardless of if they are performing or not.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Weekend recitals and Faculty member's orchestra premire

Hello everyone,

Student recitals!
We have some recitals coming up this weekend at St. Timothy's Episcopal Church in the Sanctuary. The recitals will be at 11am and 2pm Saturday, May 1 and will be approximately an hour (or less). We'll have goodies available afterwards. Everyone is welcome to attend and support our students who are performing. Feel free to invite family and friends too. The more the merrier!

Students who are performing should plan to arrive no later than 15 minutes before the recital to tune and warm up so we can start right on time. Performers, please wear dressy clothes. Boys should wear nice pants and a collared shirt. Girls should wear nice pants or skirt and a blouse, or a dress. No jeans, t-shirts, tank tops, tennis shoes, crocs, or shorts. Please also be sure the clothing is comfortable for playing.

Ocarina Concerto Premire!
Our flute/ocarina faculty member, Heather Scott, will be premiring the first concerto ever written for ocarina this Sunday, May 2 at 2:30pm with the Town and Country Symphony Orchestra.
The details can be found that the Symphony's website at
The concert will take place at The Principia 13201 Clayton Road, Town & Country, 63131 and admission is free.

We will be having a free reception after the concert at:
Longview Farm House
13525 Clayton Road
Town & Country, MO 63141

You are invited to come and meet the composer and the performer! We hope to see you at our performances this weekend!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Summer and Fall Semesters

I am starting to get questions about when the summer and fall semesters are. Here's the upcoming schedule:

The spring semester goes through Saturday, June 5.

The summer semester is from Monday, June 7 through Saturday, August 7. At least one violin teacher will be available for that entire time. Piano lessons will be available starting in late June/early July.

The fall semester is from Monday, August 9 through Saturday, January 15 (2011). There will be a one week break at Thanksgiving and a two week winter break from Sunday, December 19 through Sunday, January 2. The following spring semester will begin immediately after the fall semester.

I'd also like to remind you all that any make ups you need to fit in need to happen before the end of this semester since your tuition covers the full 20 weeks of the semester. If you plan to be away at the end of the semester (especially Memorial Day weekend) now would be the time to let your teacher know so a make up can be scheduled since we do not allow cancelations. Otherwise you won't be able to receive that lesson. Please also keep in mind that all of our schedules are extremely busy for the next month with all the recitals and performances coming up, so please avoid giving us last minute notice in scheduling make ups or letting us know about schedule conflicts.
We appreciate your help. Many thanks!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Group and Fiddle classes this Saturday

Hi All,
We have our last set of group and fiddle classes this Saturday, April 24.

2pm: Suzuki Groups 3 and 5
3pm: Fiddle group

This is the last time we'll meet before the Spring Festival dress rehearsal on May 8th. We'll be at St. Timothy's as usual. See you then!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Pianofest and the St. Louis Symphony

Hello All,
The Artist Presentation Society is presenting "Pianofest" with Andrew Sheffield next Sunday, April 25 at 3pm. It will take place at the Ethical Society of St. Louis
9001 Clayton Road, St. Louis, MO 63117. Mr. Sheffield will be performing works by Chopin, Beethoven, Belcom (some piano ragtime music), and Schumann.

Tickets can be purchased at the door for $15 ($12 seniors and $5 for students).

Next weekend is the weekend that that world famous violinist Pincas Zuckerman is coming to play with the St. Louis Symphony. He'll be performing the Bach A minor concerto which is a really awesome piece. It's not to be missed, especially those of you learning this piece!!!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Faculty Recital

Come see our faculty recital this Saturday, April 17th at 7:15pm. We'll be at St. Timothy's Episcopal Church. Hope to see you there!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Studio, Group, and Fiddle Classes Saturday, April 10

Hi All,
We've got classes coming up this Saturday at St. Timothy's:

1pm: Beginning/intermediate studio class
2pm: Suzuki groups 1,2 and 4
3pm: Fiddle class

If you're a Suzuki student planning to play in the festival and have not made it to a group class yet, please be sure to come. The festival is coming up soon and the more we all practice playing together, the better we'll sound!

We'll get the juice and cookies out in a timely fashion this time! Sorry about that last week!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Theory Assignment

Hi All,

Here's the theory assignment from the classes earlier today. Both classes have fairly similar assignments this week.

1. Try to identify major and minor key music you hear on the radio. Have fun doing a "car music quiz" with mom or dad. It can be a fun game. Also listen for major and minor keys in the upcoming recitals. (Hint: all the book 1 pieces are major!)
2. Practice open string melodic dictation. After finding all the open strings on the staff to create a "cheat sheet", parents can pluck strings slowly and let your child find them on the staff. Don't be too eager to jump in and help too quickly. Feel free to let them make mistakes and learn to correct them since that can be a good part of learning and internalizing the knowledge. Also, you can switch roles and have your child pluck strings and you put the notes on the staff. Be sure to make lots of mistakes so they can help you and show off what they know! With melodic dication it's good to start slow and just do a small number of notes like 3 or 4, or maybe even just one or two notes if he/she is finding it really challenging without parental help. You can always increase the number if it's too easy. Each little melody should be repeated a few times so your child has time to check his/her work. If dictation is quite a challenge, try just doing two strings only and spend lots of time reviewing how to put the open strings on the staff.
3. Blue jello dynamics! Try doing different dynamics on the blue jello cards: pp (pianissimo), p (piano), mp (mezzo piano), mf (mezzo forte), f (forte), ff (fortissimo!), cresc (crescendo = get louder), decresc (decrescendo = get softer), dim (diminuendo = get softer). If it gets pretty easy, kids can try playing the rhythms on their the arm or on open strings. Remember that big bows are loud and small bows are soft.

Since I got questions about this from some parents, for the difference between minor and major check out:

Major key - any piece on the book 1 CD
Minor then Major key- The first half of this piece is minor and the second half switches to major around 0:50. (on electric violin)
Major then Minor key - This piece is in major at first. It switches to minor at about 1:40 and swtiches back to major a bit before 2:30. (it's Yo-Yo Ma and Itzak Perlman, so it's worth checking out just for the sake of beauty, as well as for listening for major and minor!)

Feel free to ask me or your teacher if you would like more listening ideas to learn to identify the difference. Remember major keys are associated with positive emotions and bright colors and minor is associated with negative emotions and dark colors, so try listening for how the music makes you feel to help identify the key.

Happy Easter!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Upcoming Concerts and Faculty Recital

Hi everyone!
There are some terrific concerts coming up this month at the St. Louis Symphony as well as our faculty recital.

The details for our faculty recital are below:

When: Saturday, April 17 at 7:15pm
Where: St. Timothy's Episcopal Church (808 N. Mason Road, Creve Coeur)
Who: Kirby Kay, Maggie Kline, Dennis Yeh, Heather Scott, and Lan Sin Lim
What: Chamber and Solo works by Brahms, Bach, Maloy, Mozart, and Clarke.

Admission is free so feel free to bring friends and family.

We hope to see you there!


Two world famous, not-to-be-missed violinists will be performing with the St. Louis Symphony this month! Details and tickets available here:

Gil Shaham will be performing with the Symphony on Friday, April 9 through Sunday, April 12. He's got two different programs, one a Mozart concerto and the Stravinsky concerto, and on the other a Prokoviev concerto.

Here is a good video of Gil Shaham. Check out how nicely he uses his full bow, frog to tip. (Those of you who study with me - Laura - do you see now why I am constantly shouting "get to the frog!" on your tone twinkles and scales? It'll help you sound more like Mr. Shaham!)

Pinchas Zukerman is coming Friday, April 23 through Sunday, April 25. He'll be playing the Bach A minor concerto and will be conducting for some of the concert too. He is one of the last of the great old generation of violinists. It's worth catching him while you still can.

Here is Zukerman (on viola in this video) with Itzak Perlman. Check out how rich and full his tone is!

(Please keep in mind when watching these youtube videos that we have no control over the content of the comments below the video. Occasionally rude comments do show up below youtube videos so it's best to ignore comments section.)

Happy music making and music listening this month!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Chicago Suzuki Institute July 4-9

Really great/well-known Suzuki institute held each year up in Chicago. Details below:

Theory and Studio Classes this Saturday

Hi Everyone!

This Saturday we have:

1pm: Advanced Violin Studio class (This is the last class till next fall)
2pm: Theory class A
3pm: Theory class B

For theory, we've unfortunately had to cancel the June 5 class so this Saturday will be the last class this semester, but we will be giving you all a refund for the June 5 class. We'll be resuming theory class in the fall.

Kirby will be teaching studio class and I'll be teaching theory this week.

We'll be at St. Timothy's as usual. See you all there!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Fiddle and Suzuki Groups this Saturday

Hi All!

We've got Fiddle and Suzuki classes this Saturday at St. Timothy's Episcopal Church.

2pm: Suzuki groups 3 and 5.
3pm: Fiddle group. (We should be having our accordion player again!)

Treats will be available after Suzuki classes. In addition to some regular cookies, I've bought some allergy free, vegan cookies since some students have trouble with being able to eat the cookies we've had in the past. They might be good, they might be gross. You never know! Let us know what you think of them!

Sunday, March 14, 2010


Bowfire is coming to St. Louis this week and will be performing at Powell Hall this Wednesday.

The information can be found here.

I've had a chance to see one of the fiddlers, Shane Cook, in concert and he's fantastic.

Check it out. Should be a good concert!

Spring Break

No lessons this week for spring break.

Have a great break and we'll see you all next week (week of March 22).

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Theory and studio classes this Saturday, March 14. Assignements from fiddle and group classes

Hi all,

First of an apology to those students who did not get a juice box this Saturday. I bought enough for everyone, but I forgot to bring one of the packs I'd bought so we ended up a bit short at the end there. Sorry about that, but hopefully the cookies were delicious in spite of having nothing with which to wash them down. They were a new brand I thought we'd try, so let me know if you all liked them.

This Saturday we have studio and theory classes with Ms. Kirby at St. Timothy's. The schedule is:

1pm: Beginning/intermediate studio class (50 minutes)
2pm: Theory group A (45 minutes)
3pm: Theory group B (45 minutes)

Group class assignment:
Continue to practice festival pieces during your review sessions. If you have not received a festival review sheet by now, please pester your teacher for one this week! Pieces need to be polished and performance ready 3 weeks before the Festival so it's necessary to start reviewing now!

Also, group class 2, in regard to metronomes, they can be purchased for $10-$40 or there are free ones online as well as very cheap iphone applications. (I have a terrific app called "Tempo" on iphone which was only $4.99.)

For online metronomes, these are rather fun because of mimicking the old-fashion type. You get to "wind" it before it starts!

This one is pretty good I think.

I would definately recommend some kind of metronome to help develop rhythmic steadiness. They are also fun!

Fiddle Assignment:
We ran out of time to practice Bill Cheatem and Redwing this past week so be prepared to do a lot of them both at our next rehearsal on March 27th! I have a harmony part for the second half of Redwing that some of us will be adding in as well. We'll be trying it out to see how it sounds. Tango players, please do A LOT of intonation and articulation practice during practice sessions and lessons! We'll definately be rehearsing Tango at the next fiddle class.

Also, all fiddlers, be sure to practice "spelling" chords (ex. A C E, or D F A). If you feel courageous enough, try droning some back up notes with your teacher on Finnish Polka in your lessons this week.

Happy Spring everyone! Looks like it's arriving soon!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Group and Fiddle this Saturday

Hi all,
We have more Suzuki and fiddle classes this weekend, Saturday, March 6th. We're back at St. Timothy's. We found out that we will unfortunately not have use of the Parish Hall downstairs, so one class will be in the choir room, one in the double classroom upstairs, and one in the main lobby. We'll show you where to go if you're not sure!

The schedule is:

1pm Advanced violin studio class (don't forget to bring your assignment that Kirby emailed!)
2pm Suzuki groups 1, 2, and 4
3pm Fiddle group

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Thanks and Assignments/Another Summer Suzuki Institute

Hi all,

Thank you all for your flexibility this weekend with the location change for group and fiddle classes. Although it was stressful to find out last minute that we couldn't be in our usual spot, Ivy Chapel was wonderfully accomodating and a beautiful space, so it was a nice provision. Thanks again to you all for bearing with us as we got things sorted out.

I'd like to pass along the assignments for the group and fiddle classes.

For Suzuki groups:

We'll be passing out review lists this week that will have all of the songs we'll be performing as a group on the Spring Festival at 2pm Sunday, May 9th. Students should plan to extensively review these pieces to have them performance ready. As pieces are ready, your teacher will give you a check for each piece on your review sheet. Once you receive a check for a piece, it should stay that good which means continually reviewing it. If you work on it really hard and then forget it, your teacher will have to erase the check! Any piece you would like to perform in the festival must be performance ready (have a check) at least 3 weeks before the Festival. Students must also attend the dress rehearsal on May 8th. (2pm-3pm Suzuki students, 3pm-4pm fiddle students.)

For fiddle students:

Please, please, please work on getting first fingers more in tune! We sound so great when we are all in tune! A great way to practice intonation is to practice scales or twinkles very slowly and really listen to the pitch. When you play too fast, you don't have time to hear if you are in tune. Try also practicing your fiddle music slowly and try stopping on the first fingers to hear if they sound in tune. Have your teacher help you with this if necessary.

Mason's Apron (fast version): in the second half, practice making sure your first finger doesn't "lean" when you place it on the E and A strings. If it leans you will be out of tune on one of the strings. Be sure to work on this with your teacher. (It's called playing on the "inside corners")

Mason's Apron (slower version): rememer the circle bows! and remember to watch the leader!

Finnish Polka: Have at least the first line learned for next week's rehearsal if you have not already learned this piece.

Tango students: I believe we may have our accordion player joining us for a bit this weekend. It's not confirmed yet, but we may get to rehearse with him a bit on Saturday. Because of that, let's really do some good practice on tango at home and in lessons this week.

Redwing: please work on the spot where there is a D# (high 3). We want to be really in tune there!

Overall, please really listen that you are in tune. Be picky! We sound great when we all match pitch together so let's do more of it.

Last of all, I received an email about another summer Suzuki institute. It's in Idaho. You can learn more here

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Group class change

Hello everyone,
We've got group classes this weekend, but we'll be at a new place just for this weekend. We'll be at Ivy Chapel at 620 N. Woods Mill Road in Chesterfield 63017. It's just a couple of minutes down the street from the school.

Here's the schedule
2pm: Suzuki groups 3 and 5
3pm: Fiddle group.

We'll have goodies and juice available after the Suzuki group classes.

Sorry for any inconvenience the changed location causes. See you soon!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

More Suzuki summer institutes and camps

I received another email about a Suzuki institute this summer. This one's in Ottawa, Kansas.
You can see the information here

The website for the program is here

I also received an email about the summer Suzuki camp at SIUE. Here's the email:

What? SIUE String Camp
When? JULY 20-23, 2010 Tues.-Fri.
What time? 10:00 am - 2:00 pm
Final Concert: Friday, July 23, 2:00 pm
Dunham Hall, Room 1115

Who should come? Violin, Viola, Cello Students
Parents and Observers welcome!

Vera McCoy-Sulentic, Camp Director Susanna Woodard, Co-Director
Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville Dunham Hall

Tuition: $135 includes 3 Daily Group Classes (Technique, Repertoire, and Music Reading/String Orchestra/Chamber Music)

Additional Opportunities:
Private Lessons: $45
Two 20 minute private lessons before or after classes.
Mariachi Violin: $35 (2-3 pm Tues, Wed, Thurs)
Class will be taught by Alicia Kulla Branz, former Suzuki Student, and teacher from Parkway School District
Musical Theater: $35 (2-3pm Tues, Wed,Thurs)
Class will be taught by Marc Schapman, SIUE Voice Faculty

Faculty: Teachers from SIUE Suzuki Program, Webster University
Community Music School Suzuki Program, and Local String Teachers

**Students 5th grade and above will be chaperoned at all times.
**Children younger than 5th grade must be accompanied by Parent or Responsible Adult

Further information: Contact Vera McCoy-Sulentic:,
Susanna Woodard: or SIUe Suzuki Program Office:
Ph: 618-650-2839 618-650-2839, Fax: 618-650-5988,

Go to for more info!

Let your teacher know if you have any questions or if you need suggestions for summer programs. In the meantime, stay warm!

Monday, February 15, 2010


Hi again Fiddlers!

I've got the last of the fiddle recordings for you. Thanks to Kirby and Maggie for recording it for me! Since the recording is just to help with practice, it doesn't have the piano part. When we perform it, our pianist will be filling in some of the gaps with some cool piano parts.
You can download the audio file at Just go to the file that says "Fiddle Tunes Spring 2010."
See you at our next fiddle class on Saturday, February 27th at 3pm. Kids that play the tango will be in a separate class with Kirby for the whole class. Everyone else will be with me (Laura) downstairs in the Parish Hall.

See you then!

Theory/reading classes this Saturday

Hi Guys,
We'll be having the theory/reading classes again this Saturday, February 20th at 2pm and 3pm. We'll be at St. Timothy's as usual. See you then!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Festival Attendance Policy

Hello Everyone,
We've had some questions about attendance policy requirements for students wanting to take part in the spring Festival on May 9th as well as who would be taking part in the festival.

First of all, the festival is for Suzuki students (we will have a play-in which is a traditional Suzuki group performance), viola students who attend viola studio class, students in the fiddle group, and hopefully students who take part in the violin studio classes will also have a performance.

To participate, students must regularly attend their classes, and must attend the dress rehearsal on May 8th. For fiddle students this means that they cannot miss more than 3 of the 6 scheduled classes and must attend the dress rehearsal.

Please feel to contact me (Laura) if you have any questions. Thanks and Happy Valentine's Day!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Yet another summer Suzuki institute

Here's another Suzuki institute this summer. It's at Stephen's Point, Wisconson and has a good reputation.

For details check out the website at

Theory this Saturday

Hi everyone!
Just a quick reminder that this coming Saturday, the 13th we'll have theory classes at 2pm and 3pm at St. Timothy's church.


Hi Guys!
I've finally got some sound recordings up for our tunes. I haven't gotten tango recording up yet since it's a two part piece, but will have it shortly. Everything else we are performing this semester is there though. I did it all on my iphone, so hopefully the quality is decent enough. I've posted the audio files on my idisk account at where you can download them. If you need me to make you a CD copy, please let me know.

Thanks also for bearing with me Saturday since I'd left the papers we needed at the school. We'll be working all semester on how to read chord charts, so don't worry if you're a little confused now. By May we'll have worked on it enough that it'll be easy! Our next fiddle rehearsal will be February 27th. We'll divide into two groups. Students who play the tango will rehearse upstairs and the rest of us will be down in the Parish hall. Be prepared to work on Mason's Apron, Redwing, and Finnish Polka.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Theory/reading class assignments

Hi theory/reading kids and parents!

Thanks for coming to the class Saturday. I had a blast! You guys are all fantastic! I have just a couple of important items:

1. In theory class A (2pm class) when I taught the hand signals for solfege I did the hand signal for "Fa" upsidedown. (whoops!) The thumb should point down, not up. Those of you in the 3pm class, I got it right that hour so no worries there. I found a chart for the hand signals on this website to help you all practice this week:

You just have to go down to where it says "hand sign diagram" to open the pdf document.

2. Did everyone who owns their own materials have everything? Nothing missing? I am missing a purple "C" card and am wondering if anyone ended up with an extra purple "C." I'm also considering labeling with my initials all my cards so it's easy to tell which are mine. Those of you interested in this, let me know. I have a labeling gun and could bring it next time for before or after class.

3. Homework assignments:

2pm class:
-Practice making 3rds. Remember that it is every other card. (ACEGBDF ACEGBDF....) If this is still a bit confusing, try it in your lesson with your teacher this week.
-Practice your solfege (do through So) and hand signs. You can play snake, what's missing (we played that on Saturday) or Fine. You'll need to have the solfege and hand signs memorized for the next class. Sing as much as possible when doing solfege.

3pm class
-practice making 3rds by playing 3rds fine or making a 3rds snake. Can you start from a letter besides A? Can you go up and down through your letters/notes? How fast can you say your thirds? Lightening fast?
-Practice finding the open strings on the staff. You also have an open string reading assignment that I have given to the teachers to play with you this week in the lesson. Be sure to ask them for it!
-Practice your solfege (Do through D0) this week with hand signs. You can do solfege fine and make a solfege snake if you'd like. Be sure to sing the solfege and memorize the hand signs. (See above for a link to the chart). If you are feeling really ambitious, you could try making 3rds with solfege even though that isn't something we've tried in class yet!
-Write a rhythm on a card and practice passing with a family member to a steady beat. Try something repetitive like Puur-ple or huckleberry.

We will have our next theory classes on Saturday, February 13. Can't wait!

Suzuki opportunities

Hi all,
I just got some mailings about Suzuki opportunities coming up. This March, the annual Suzuki workshop will be taking place at Webster Community Music School on Saturday, March 6 and Sunday, March 7th. The registration deadline is February 8th. If you are interested, please contact me (Laura) for details. I also have registration forms available.

This summer, the New Mexico Suzuki institute will take place July 25-30. Details can be found on their website at

Saturday Classes

Hi everyone,

This Saturday we'll start up our Saturday group classes at St. Timothy's Episcopal Church (808 N. Mason 63141.)

1pm: Advanced violin studio class.
2pm: Suzuki Groups 1, 2, and 4. (Students have new class assignments, so be sure to check with your teacher)
3pm: Fiddle Class

We'll have goodies available after the Suzuki group class. See you there!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Summer institutes

I just received an emailing about a Suzuki summer institute in New England. If you're interested, you can check out the program on their website at

I'll have more information about summer institutes later when the institute listings come out in the Suzuki journal this spring.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Fiddle Music

Hi Everyone,
Everyone should have received their fiddle music in lessons by now. However, I'm also posting this semester's music here as well. I will not be posting the mariachi tune just yet since we're still working on getting the violin 2 part done. If you do need an extra copy of the violin 1 part, let us know. I'll have both parts here soon. I'm also not posting "Redwing" from the Mark O'Connor method book volume 2.

All files are now in my idisk folder so there won't be any advertisements. When you go to the link below, click on "Fiddle Tunes spring 2010. The songs will show up. Click on any of the songs you need and select download when prompted.

Since this is the first time I've used this program, let me know if you have any trouble with it. I'm still learning my way around it. I will also have the sound recordings of the tunes available quite soon too. I apologize for the delay.

Fiddle group will have it's first class on Saturday, February 6th at 3pm. Please note that the time is later than last semester. Students should definately be prepared to work on The Mason's Apron and La Cumparsita. We'll also review some of last semester's music to warm up our ensemble skills.

Can't wait to see you all and make some music together!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Welcome Back

Hi everyone and Happy New Year!

I wanted to welcome you all back. We'll be starting up lessons again today and we're excited to see you all and hear about your break!

We'll be handing out recital scheduling forms this week in lessons so we can get your recital dates assigned as soon as possible. We also need to know which extra classes (if any) you'll be signing up for this semester. We'll need that information no later than this Saturday, January 16th since your semester invoices will be going out next week.

We hope you had a great vacation and we're excited about another semester of progress!