My Winter Recitals are this weekend, January 12-13 and all the students are putting the final touches on their performance pieces. Here’s a sneak preview of one soloist who will be performing the first movement of Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 3!
I had a wonderful time preparing and performing the first movement of Mendelssohn’s Piano Trio in d minor for a benefit concert at St. Veronica’s in Chantilly, Virginia. Donations from the concert benefited Fairfax County Volunteer Firefighters. Here’s the trio in rehearsal. What an amazing piece of music and such a pleasure to perform!
This year my student Duke prepared and presented a Solo Junior Recital. The repertoire included a movement of unaccompanied Bach, Introduction & Rondo Capriccioso by Saint-Saens, and a piece called "Revolving Factory" which Duke transcribed himself for string quintet. The performance included brief lectures prior to each piece that provided background information on the works. He worked hard to prepare for this and did an excellent job!
Here's a photo of one-half of the students from my Spring Recitals! This year I split the students into two separate shorter recitals. It made for a more intimate performing and listening experience for both groups and I think everyone enjoyed themselves. This picture is of the 3:30 performers. I'm having some technical difficulties locating a picture of the 1:30 group!
My band, The Beanstalk Library had an amazing opportunity to play on the Millennium Stage at the Kennedy Center. The KC offers free daily performances on the Millennium Stage at 6 pm, 365 days a year. We had a great crowd and really enjoyed the show. A few of my students and their families even came out to see us!
It's been such a busy spring I've barely had time to update! I've been working on unveiling my new logo and website and spending countless hours preparing students for all kinds of auditions and performances. Yesterday I headed out to South Lakes High School to help my student Duke prepare for his Junior Recital, happening next Saturday. He transcribed (by ear!) a piece and arranged it for string quintet. Here they are after a productive rehearsal. Unfortunately I only captured 3 of them with their eyes open...
On January 21, I hosted my 7th Annual Winter Recital. It was my largest recital ever, with 35 students performing. I had a packed audience of around 130 people. It was great fun, and all the students came away from the recital with a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction! Some of my more advanced students performed movements from Vivaldi's The Four Seasons. For the accompaniment of these movements, I had them play the chamber orchestra parts in a string quartet arrangement so they each had a chance to accompany and be accompanied.
As always, it's been a busy fall season in the Studio! I've been playing lots of fun wedding gigs with the Cherry Blossom String Quartet, and have taught many violin, viola, and cello lessons! Recently several of my students auditioned and were accepted into their District Honors Orchestras in Fairfax County. They all worked hard to prepare for their auditions and I am proud of them! Now we're busy getting ready for my upcoming Winter Recital on January 21. Here are a few images from this season. The Quartet has continued with our Columbia Diminuendo performance series, through the sun, clouds, and wind!
I had an absolutely amazing time last week attending the Chamber Music Conference at Bennington College in Vermont. It was sort of a music camp for adults. Each participant is placed into 3-4 small chamber ensembles, and you have rehearsals, coaching sessions, and for some folks, performances over the course of the week. There are also lots of informal sight-reading get togethers with various types of ensembles. It was a blast!
One of my students graciously helped me to compile a video of some of my lovely students' performances, ranging from beginners to more advanced. https://youtu.be/lyHwgPmM_AM
A couple of weeks ago, I proudly presented 25 of my students for the Spring Recital. They did a wonderful job with some challenging pieces including the Hoffmeister Viola Concerto, Praeludium and Allegro by Fritz Kreisler, the Bach Double Violin Concerto, and some fun tunes like the Star Wars Main Theme and "Spring" from Vivaldi's Four Seasons. It is such a joy to work with these kids and help them prepare for a fun and exciting performance.
For my younger (still-growing) students, I typically recommend that parents rent the fractional size instruments, as most music shops offer an option to trade in the instrument for a larger one as the child grows. Alexandria Music Company offers a great rental program. (Full disclosure: I teach there.) Once a student is ready for a full-size violin, the best option is to purchase a nice-sounding fiddle rather than rent. In the DC area, we are fortunate to have several wonderful shops with great sounding instruments at reasonable prices. Brobst Violin Shop, Foxes Music, Lashof Violins, and Potter Violin Company, and Day Violins all offer an excellent selection. Trying and buying a violin, viola or cello is something that must be done in person and not over the internet. The player needs to experience the sound and feel of each instrument, because they all feel different! Visit one of these locally owned shops if you are in the market for a rental or purchase!
Greetings! If you are interested in starting lessons for yourself or your son/daughter, please drop me a line. I am happy to say that my studio schedule is full at the moment, but sometimes things change and spots open up, particularly at the beginning of summer. I would be happy to put you on my waiting list and contact you if something becomes available.
It's beneficial for string players (and all young musicians) to experience music-making and performing via as many outlets as possible. Our local school systems offer amazing Regional, District, and All-State Orchestra Events every year. Auditions are typically at the beginning of the school year for events that take place January-March. Students can talk to their school teachers about obtaining audition materials. Fairfax County VBODA offers the Solo & Ensemble Festival for students to perform solo or in small ensembles and receive feedback from a judge on their playing. It's an excellent opportunity and a lot of fun, too! I am busy helping many of my students prepare for their respective Festivals -- coming up shortly!
Lastly, there are some excellent youth orchestra organizations in the D.C. area. The youth orchestras typically rehearse once per week and present concerts 3-4 times throughout the school year. Admittance to these orchestras is typically based on an audition scheduled in May or June of the prior school year. It's enriching, a great way to meet fellow string players from other schools, and improves musicianship. A couple of organizations I recommend:
Washington Metropolitan Orchestras - An excellent organization that rehearses locally in the Alexandria area
American Youth Philharmonic Orchestras - A very well-respected set of orchestras which has opportunities for a wide swath of ages and abilities
Youth Orchestras of Prince William - Another great organization - I am an alumna of these orchestras and have fond memories of fun concerts and their gifted conductors and section coaches
My quartet is participating in an exciting project entitled Columbia Diminuendo created by the Holladay Brothers. Throughout 2017, we are performing in the shadow of the Capitol building on the last Sunday of each month (weather permitting). Our next performance is scheduled for Sunday, April 30 at 12 pm. Below we are pictured at the first performance on January 29, 2017. A short clip is available here (as you can see, it was quite windy that day and about 40 degrees! Frozen fingers...) The piece we are performing is a re-imagining of "Hail, Columbia!" which was performed at George Washington's inauguration.
I hosted my 6th annual Winter Student Recital yesterday at the Sanctuary at Convergence. Such a blast! I had to step in for a viola duet as one of my students (1/2 of the duet) was ill, but Maggie took it all in stride.
I am brimming with pride for my students. They all prepared so well for their performances, and seeing their smiles when they finished made my heart melt! What fun it is to see these students grow, mature, and discover the great joy of music and performing. Job well done, all!
I loved this article in the Washington Post about adults who decide to take up music lessons! I thought of my current 6 wonderful adult students (as well as many adult students from the past), whom (I hope!) relish the challenges and successes, and the rich life experience, of learning the violin as an adult.