Oregon or Bust!

The Doctorate is Finished. Huzzah! It’s been a while of shuffling around the U.S. after leaving Phoenix, but I’m settled in Oregon for (I anticipate) about a year. Certainly an exciting time of change, new discoveries, and plugging into the community!
I have recently been working as the Associate Concertmaster of the Rogue Valley Symphony. The group is an amazing force of musicians and community members…a refreshing change from the many years of school. I’ve had the chance to work with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival for their production of Beauty and the Beast, which was a dream come true!

Future goals have yet to be set. Administration is definitely a possibility, but academic teaching opportunities are few and far between.

Upcoming plans will definitely focus more on the comedy videos. It’s been too long for me too, I promise! Gator is still hanging in there with his handsome looks, and there’s a whole list of new vids due during these winter months. They’ll be up soon, so keep your eyes peeled!

Thanks for your continued support! New material will be out shortly!

~Oddly Noted

Benefits of Skype Violin Lessons

Have you wanted to take violin lessons, but just don’t live in an area with a violin teacher? Or perhaps your schedule doesn’t afford you the time out of your day to travel to and from a teacher? Then Skype violin lessons are for you!

Skype violin lessons are becoming more and more popular for these reasons and others. Lessons require different tactics when taught online…the violin teacher must be able to describe movements and the physical feelings that a violin student should be experiencing across many miles! The violin student too learns in a different way. Corrections to technique must be made and experienced by the student. This type of learning has it’s advantages! While at an in-person lesson, a teacher can physically change the posture of a finger, elbow or shoulder, a student must process the information and figure out how to move their own body in the correct way. It gets easier as lessons progress, but both Skype violin lessons and in-person lessons are fantastic for learning the violin!

I have been teaching violin for over fifteen years. If you’re interested in Skype violin lessons, contact me! I also do in-person lessons for violin students who live in the Phoenix, Chandler, Mesa, Tempe, Scottsdale, Paradise Valley, Surprise, Sun City, Gilbert, Cave Creek, Queen Creek, Maricopa, and Guadalupe areas! Start this week! Learning the violin is inspiring, educational, and a lot of fun!

First Lessons: Care and Maintenance

Looking for a violin teacher in the Phoenix (Scottsdale, Paradise Valley, Mesa, Gilbert, Tempe, Chandler, Cave Creek, Queen Creek, Surprise, Sun City) area? I can help! Want to take violin lessons, but you live far away or have a crazy schedule? Try Skype lessons with me!

Care and maintenance are very important to teach students at the very beginning of violin lessons. I often ask my violin students to treat their instrument like they treat their pet. While violin cases do provide some protection, like a pet, violin students need to make sure to not swing their cases around, drop it, or hit it against objects. By treating the case gently, students can avoid knocking their instrument out of tune and dislodging the sound post or the bridge.

Most violin cases come with fabric covers or sleeves for the violin. These should be used. The same fabric or a soft cloth can be used to gently wipe down the strings and the front of the instrument after practicing and helps prevent rosin build up. Because of the oils on the skin, a violinist should only touch the neck, strings, fingerboard, pegs, tuners, and occasionally the upper bout. Always wash your hands before practicing and before violin lessons! Most old violins will show evidence of oil build up on the upper bout. While the grime build up can be cleaned, it does wear down the varnish of the instrument.

The bow hair should also not be touched for the same reason; oil can cause build up and can make the hair very slick. Bows also need to be treated with extreme care. The tip in particular is fragile, and if dropped, can break. As the stick is under a great deal of tension, repairing a stick is not always effective, and a new bow may have to be purchased to replace a broken one.

Instruments should never be left in cars for reasons of extreme heat/cold and also theft. In general, a violin that is maintained, played regularly, and cared for will usually stay that way. Instruments that are neglected can fall out of tune over time. A big part of maintenance is making sure to replace your strings and rehair your bow regularly. In violin lessons, I recommend that the bow hair get replaced after about an eighth of the hair has broken. You will see the ribbon of hair become much thinner or disappear from one side of the bow. If a hair breaks, remove the remaining parts from the bow carefully by using scissors and not by pulling the hair. By pulling the hair, you risk pulling the plug from the tip or the ferule. You can also pull out other hairs, which mean that a costly rehair will have to happen that much sooner. Rehairs should be done by a professional. Strings should get replaced approximately twice a year (depending on use). Keep an eye on your strings…if you see the metal winding start to stretch or fray, it’s time to replace!

When changing your violin strings, your violin teacher or a violin shop can do this, or you can try it yourself! If you are comfortable tuning with your pegs, you’ll probably have the finger strength and the ability to change your strings. First step is to remove the old string. Next, take a pencil and mark inside the groove at the nut and at the bridge. The graphite helps lubricate these areas that are most known for breaks. Changing a string takes practice and can be difficult, so be patient and when in doubt, go to your violin shop to have them replace the string. If you have to replace more than one string, make sure you do two alternating strings at a time to reduce the strain on the instrument. I usually replace my G and A string, wait a week for them to settle and stretch out (by this point, they should hold their pitch pretty well) and then I replace the D and the E. To replace a string, I strongly recommend this tutorial:

If you are interested in violin lessons, go to the contact page and send me a note! I’m looking forward to working with you! Until then, Happy Practicing!

Violin lessons for adults and children!

Many people ask me when it is appropriate for a child to take violin lessons. While there are many philosophies, theories, and methods that suggest a certain age when it comes to learning a musical instrument, I prescribe to the Suzuki violin method which says “as soon as they’re potty trained!” And why not? By this point in a child’s development, they usually can manage to hold their attention for a minute or two, especially when musical games, songs, and activities are involved. Violin lessons in person or through Skype are geared towards the fun, the interesting, and the exploring mind!

One of the most popular tools I use in violin lessons (in person or on Skype) is Candlyland. Who doesn't love this game?

One of the most popular tools I use in violin lessons (in person or on Skype) is Candlyland. Who doesn’t love this game?

Through the tools learned during lessons, a child can learn discipline, focus, and the violin! Still not potty trained? Parents can do a LOT with young children…even newborns! The more music they hear through singing and recordings, the more in love they will fall with music. Not only that, but the numerous developmental benefits of music can positively effect your child’s/children’s mental focus and capacity! How fantastic is that?! Don’t know where to start? Contact me and I can help give you some suggestions in person, through email, or even on Skype to help your child get off on the right foot with violin lessons and music education!

Are you an adult who would like to learn violin? Well, no problem! It’s never too late, violin lessons are for everyone! And the benefits gained through learning a musical instrument such as the violin are just as great for adults as they are for children. While we age, small motor skills can sometimes become challenging. The connections you form between your brain and your large and small muscle groups, the better it is for you! Stay active and take a chance! It’s easy to do in person, but you can also sign up for Skype violin lesson! Learn the violin!

Live in Arizona (Phoenix, Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa, Tempe, Scottsdale, Paradise Valley, Guadalupe, Maricopa, Cave Creek, Queen Creek, and all the areas around Arizona)? Contact me and we can get you started on violin lessons either in person on even through Skype!

Skype lessons are also offered for anyone around the world! Take violin lessons online! It’s easy, convenient, and I can work with your schedule to help you with violin. I teach classical, western, fiddle, Suzuki, and much more! Contact me to ask about possible Skype lessons!

A Fun History of the Violin Videos!

Have you checked out our YouTube page? We’re taking our prep for comprehensive exams (big ol’ college tests!) to the next level, combining humor and entertainment with the history of violin. If you’re a violinist of any age, music educator, or just someone who wants to be prepared for that rare category on Jeopardy, check it out!

Also, we’re looking for students!! If you’re in the Phoenix, Chandler, Mesa, Tempe, Scottsdale, Glendale, Gilbert, or nearby area, and would like to learn violin, send us a note! We also play at events, so if you have an upcoming wedding, party or corporate event, contact us!

 

Comedy and Classical Music Collide

kStrahmFor the past two years, I’ve been sneaking around Arizona State University’s Herberger Institute for the Arts Music Department filming the funny parts. Many people suppose that a university music department is a serious institution, and that the high-brow art comes from the tortured souls that know no laughter or humor. Wrong! Along with the tradition of audience behavior rules and 12-tone serialism that makes you question music expression that came about only a century or so ago, musicians and composers alike are some of the funniest people I know. So why not share the humanistic qualities that comes from the soul of composers, down through their pens onto paper, through the eyes and heart of performers to the…well, not to the audience. That would be low-brow.

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