Category Archives: For Students

Spring Festival ’18 Repertoire List

Wondering what pieces you’re responsible for the Spring Festival this year?  Well, wonder no longer.  Please note that members of the Ensemble and Circle of 5ths should also bring a black 1/2-inch binder and music stand with them to rehearsals and the concert!

Vivaldi Four Seasons: Spring, 1st Movement

Circle of 5ths
Bach Double
Old Joe Clarke
Everything from G Majors

Viola Choir
Way Down Upon the Swanee River
Lully Gavotte (duet)
Musette (duet)
Etude (duet)

G Majors
Boccherini Minuet
Hunter’s Chorus
Gossec Gavotte
Old Joe Clarke
Minuet 2
Perpetual Motion

A Majors
Song of the Wind
Lightly Row
Old Brass Wagon Variations
Chicken on a Fencepost Variations

Vivaldi Four Seasons Auditions

Every spring, we look forward to our Spring Festival group performance, which always highlights our students’ work both as individuals and in their group classes throughout the school year.  This year, one of the supplemental pieces we will be preparing for the Spring Festival on April 21 is “Spring” (Concerto No. 1 in E Major, Op. 8, RV 269, “La primavera”) from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons.

Like all concertos, the four concertos that make up Vivaldi’s Four Seasons were composed for a solo instrument – in this case violin – and orchestra.  The arrangement we are using allows for us to play this piece with a group of 1st violins, a group of 2nd violins, a group of violas, and a cello.  However, certain parts still require a soloist.  Would you be interested in auditioning for a solo?

Well, if you’re a Book 4+ student, we invite you to audition for the two solos in the 2nd violin part.  And if you’re a Book 5+ student, you’re invited to audition for the four solos in the 1st violin part (you may also audition for the two solos from the 2nd violin part).  The audition winners will only be assigned one of the solos for the performance, so six different students will have the opportunity to play solos.  However, in order to be considered your audition submission must contain both solo excerpts if you are auditioning for 2nd violin, and all four solo excerpts if you are auditioning for 1st violin.  Audition winners must also be able to regularly attend Ensemble rehearsals from 8:00-8:50 on Tuesday evenings throughout the semester.

In order to help you prepare, we are providing marked parts, as well as time stamps for a recording for you to listen to.

Violin 1, pg. 1, Violin 1, pg. 2, Violin 1, pg. 3.

Violin 2, pg. 1, Violin 2, pg. 2.

Violin 1 solo #1 / Violin 2 solo #1 (m. 13-27) @ 0:29
Violin 1 solo #2 (m. 47-55) @ 1:42
Violin 1 solo #3 / Violin 2 solo #2 (m. 59-65) @ 2:08
Violin 1 solo #4 (m. 71-75) @ 2:33

Performances will be judged on the following criteria:

  • Intonation
  • Tone
  • Adherence to the marked bowings and fingerings
  • Technique (posture, bow hold, shifting, vibrato as appropriate, etc.)
  • Musicality (dynamics, phrasing, musical sensitivity)

Please submit your video recording of your audition to no later than 9:00 p.m on Saturday, February 24.  This gives you one month to prepare!  Please ask your teacher if you have any questions.  Happy practicing!

Food for Thought: Practice Tips from Ray Chen

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:

February Group Repertoire

A Majors
Eek! Song
Train Song
Monkey Song
Twinkle Theme & Variations
Lightly Row – Perpetual Motion

G Majors
Minuet 2
Gossec Gavotte
Chorus from J.M.
Two Grenadiers
Witches’ Dance
Boccherini Minuet

Viola Choir
Twinkle Theme & Variations
Lightly Row – Perpetual Motion
Minuet 2
Telemann GM for 2 Vla
The Swan

Circle of 5ths
Bach Bourree
Seitz 5:III
Bach Double

Performance Ensemble
Kesh Jig

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.

The More You Know: The Importance of Self-Motivation

A fimg_0201ew 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.

Spring ’16 Group Class Assignments

It was great to see all of you in group class last night!  If you weren’t able to join us, we hope to see you in upcoming weeks.

This semester, we are going to be working on repertoire that we will play on the Spring Festival. For us to do the work that we need to do as a group, we need each of you to be doing your individual work on these pieces at home every week!  Here’s the repertoire list:

Twinkle Variations w/ Stops
Wintertime in Russia

Book 1
Twinkle Theme & Variations
Lightly Row
O Come, Little Children
May Song
Long, Long Ago
Gossec Gavotte

Book 2
Chorus from Judas Maccabaeus
Minuet in G

Book 3
Gavotte in G Minor

Book 4
Vivaldi A Minor, 1st Mov. (violin)
Telemann, 2nd & 4th Mov. (viola)

Book 6
La Folia

Boil ‘Em Cabbage Down
Orange Blossom Special

Also, last night Kirby and I mentioned a talk by Itzhak Perlman in which he talks about some principles of practicing.  We wanted each student to watch this video before group class next week, and be prepared to share their thoughts about it.  Efficient practicing at home and in group will be key to a great Spring Festival this semester!  Here’s the video:

See you in group next week!