Hello Everyone! Many, many thanks to all of you who participated in our 2017 Spring Festival and to those of you who joined us for our pizza party at Longview Farm Park! The community of families that makes up West County Strings is really special, and we’re incredibly thankful for such a wonderful afternoon and evening of performing and spending time together. Here’s some pictures from the day:
Hello Everyone! As you know, our Spring Festival Group Concert is coming up on April 23. Here is the finalized repertoire list that we will be focusing on in group classes until then, and that you can be practicing at home, as well!
|Bohm Perpetual Motion|
|Seitz 2 III|
|Go Tell Rhody|
|Gavotte in G minor|
|Chorus from Judas Maccabeus|
|Long Long Ago|
|A La Paul Rolland Dance|
Ray Chen is one of the brightest stars of the younger generation of classical violinists. He is as technically polished and musically accomplished as anyone, and is particularly generous with his time and kind and fun-loving in his interactions. He’s really a great ambassador for music!
In this video that I recently came across, Mr. Chen shares some of his philosophies on practicing and performing with students aspiring to become capable musicians in their own right. Some of his tips, “Just go for it” when it comes to experiences that seem overwhelming; and the “worst thing you can do” is just run through a piece in practice. Check out the video here:
Spring ’17 Newsletter (click to download)
Twinkle Theme & Variations
Lightly Row – Perpetual Motion
Chorus from J.M.
Twinkle Theme & Variations
Lightly Row – Perpetual Motion
Telemann GM for 2 Vla
Circle of 5ths
Any participants in the Performance Ensemble are encouraged to join in the performance at Marie de Villa on Saturday, February 25 at 2:30 p.m.
At our parent night on Tuesday, January 10, I had a chance to talk with many of you about opportunities for learning and performing in the St. Louis area beyond. Thank you so much to all of you who came out! I wanted to take an opportunity to provide everyone with a summary of the opportunities that we talked about that night, and links to get more information and sign up for anything you might be interested in doing.
Local Performing Opportunities
Opportunities to perform in front of an audience are such an important and irreplaceable part of developing as a musician. Throughout the semester and over the summer, parents in our program will be coordinating performing opportunities at Mari De Villa and Parc Provence. If you would be interested in signing up to play, please email me at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org and we can help you get set up!
Local Workshops and Camps
Music workshops and camps give students a wonderful opportunity to engage in a fun, intensive learning experience and walk away with new ideas, new ability, renewed energy, and a lot of excitement.
On March 4-5, Southern Illinois University’s Suzuki Program will be hosting their bi-annual Suzuki Workshop. Faculty assembled from across the Midwest will come to work with students here in the St. Louis area. Registration is now open! Don’t wait to sign up!
And on June 5-9, students from our program and several others in the St. Louis area will be gathering for the Sprunger Violin Camp in Kirkwood, MO. The camp will meet each morning that week, and students will work on theory, rhythm, technique, repertoire, and performance with wonderful teachers in a fun environment. Right in our neck of the woods, this is a great opportunity to take advantage of!
Summer Suzuki Institutes
This summer, Kirby and I will be participating in three Suzuki Institutes across the U.S. – The Colorado Suzuki Institute, the Chicago Suzuki Institute, and the American Suzuki Institute. We encourage you to join us for a once-in-a-lifetime learning experience.
The Colorado Suzuki Institute runs two sessions – June 12-17 and 19-24 – of which you can participate in one or both! The Institute is located in the beautiful resort at Beaver Creek, CO and features some of the best Suzuki teachers from around the country as well as limitless activities for students and families alike!
The Chicago Suzuki Institute runs from July 2-7. Located on Chicago’s North Shore, this relatively new and quickly-growing Institute affords students access to exceptional Suzuki teachers, private lessons, group classes, chamber rehearsals, and orchestras. A quick drive or train ride takes you right to downtown Chicago where you can enjoy all of the cities sights.
The American Suzuki Institute also runs two sessions – July 16-22 and 23-29. You can take part in one or both. The Institute is located on the college campus of the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point, near the Wisconsin Dells and tons of amazing outdoors activities and opportunities.
The earlier you register for any of these Institutes, the lower your registration costs will be and the greater your chances will be to receive a scholarship. Please feel free to let Kirby or me know about any questions you may have. We’ve had more and more students joining us at Institutes each summer, and we would love to have that tradition continue this year!
A few weeks ago, I happened across a book on a friend’s bookshelf entitled Violin Mastery: Interviews with Heifetz, Auer, Kreisler and Others. I had a chance to flip through the book, and the few snippets of interviews that I was able to read convinced me that this book should definitely go on my list of books to read.
One selection in particular stuck with me. A few of you have heard me talk about it in lessons over the past few weeks, and I wanted to share it with all of you now:
What stuck with me from this selection wasn’t that this violinist practiced 8-10 hours a day from ages 5-12 (as impressive as that is!), but this final quotation: “No serious student of the instrument should ever forget that, no matter who his teacher may be, he himself must supply the determination, the continued energy and devotion which will lead him to success [emphasis mine].”
Above all else, this is something I want to help all of my students identify and develop in themselves – an inner motivation that leads to productive lessons, consistent home practice in spite of busy schedules, and the willingness to do the meet the challenges of difficult technical and musical hurdles that must be overcome to develop real ability.
So, as we put one set of recitals behind us and head into a season of new material and new challenges, I encourage all of you to talk with your children about what motivates them, and to help them develop their own internal motivations as they grow older.