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,…

Why we need both a Suzuki and an O’Connor method….

… I was prepared to not make a comment on this at all, but recent discussions about violin pedagogy and which method books to buy have reached a level of passion and vitriol I usually associate only with religion and politics (and that usually sends me looking for the door.) For those of you too…

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…

Four musical approaches…

When I first walked down this path of using strings to create sound, I was unaware how versatile it could be, or how the same instrument could make me comfortable in a huge variety of settings. I have inserted my voice into all kinds of situations – sometimes projects involving many hours of rehearsal, and…

reflections on playing for a wedding

This weekend, I played for a wedding.   While I normally don’t deal with a lot of pre-performance anxiety (most of the time, I can usually talk or gentle breathe myself into knowing I’ll do ok and then feel fine), I did wake up with just a small amount of fear, mostly because I knew it…

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,…