10 Violinists Worth Getting To Know…

The violin is an incredible versatile instrument, and can express itself a wide variety of musical styles, emotions, and contexts. A creative and competent player will pour all of her or his culture, ideas, and personality into the instrument.  The simple physical motions of dragging a bow across strings can tell a story of where…

Bringing it All Back Home: Reconciling Dylan and Seeger

The 1965 Newport Folk Festival is widely considered one of the most iconic moments in rock history. It is one of those historical moments where it felt like everything changed radically in an instant, where the familiar fell apart and a new thing was birthed.  A lot has been written and said about the event;…

every note is alive

Basho was a poet who lived 17th century Japan, considered one of the greatest haiku writers of all time.  It was said that Basho was once with a student, and they saw a dragonfly, and the student attempted to compose his thoughts on the experience: A red dragonfly If you would but pluck its wings…

how to become your own teacher…

In my own musical journey, I have been deeply blessed to have the patient, knowledgeable, and supportive input of many great teachers. By walking beside me, encouraging what was good, challenging what was lacking, and helping me change the way I approached violin playing, they brought me to a level where I can comfortably realize…

being musically multilingual

In a previous article, I briefly brought up the concept of being musically multilingual as an important goal for my students. Just as a multilingual person is able to communicate with people from a wider range of nationalities, a musician proficient in multiple cultural or musical traditions can perform with a wide variety of people,…

what I learned about violin teaching from a hamster…

  A few days ago, my wife and I became the proud owners of a very adorable longhaired hamster, mostly not by choice. A neighbor knocked on our door and handed us a shoebox of the adorable but feisty creature, telling us she had too many animals and was looking for a nice home for…

two fiddlers, many ways of music learning

  My first exposure to how wonderful and exciting the sounds emulating from a box with four strings could be was with a bluegrass band at an amusement park. My four or five year old self was completely captivated, and that moment started a musical journey for me from which I’ve never looked back. In…

play nice with others (and keep your [musical] hands to yourself)

In my development as a musician and violinist, I  was deeply fortunate to be mentored and encouraged by a number of great teachers who nurtured creativity and encouraged improvisation.  At violin/fiddle summer camps in particular, I interacted with several amazing teachers who were directing sessions intended to unleash our creativity, break rules, and one time,…