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This is the sad truth... [25 Apr 2008|11:08pm]

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teaching a 3-year-old beginner [01 Feb 2008|01:45pm]

hi all...

i'm about to start a 3-year-old boy who, when asked what he wanted for christmas this past year, told his mom and dad that he wanted a toy truck and a violin. soooo mom and dad got him a violin and now he wants to learn how to play it!

i'm curious as to how other string teachers approach teaching these little ones. any ideas for teaching and the process for a kid this young would be SO GREATLY appreciated! i don't want to screw him up! :-)

thanks in advance!
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frantically searching with nowhere to start ... [23 Jan 2008|03:13pm]

[ mood | curious ]

Hi all, looking for a few recommendations here. Can anyone recommend a composer or book series with beginner pieces that are interesting? I am using Applebaum, Wohlfahrt and Tune-a-day with my students, and no one is interested in any of the pieces. Thanks in advance.

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Quartet Aria is looking for String Musicians in the DC Metro Area [09 Nov 2007|06:39pm]

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Scary ... [22 Oct 2007|05:43pm]

I have a student who tells me her mother wants me to call her. This kid actually does pretty well in my class, but doesn't believe so and is consistently unhappy. For the record, I'm the orchestra teacher. The other students in my class have been playing either one or two years, but this kid has not played any before and knows she's behind. (She's in my class as a guidance office mix up.) She's worked really hard at playing the violin, and she's come a long way. I've sat with her and helped with her, and I've gotten students to sit with her and help her. (I have two in particular that really like helping her, and they're good at it.) I'm somehow sure that some one is going to accuse me of not helping this kid at all, but it's just not true and I don't know what else I can do.

Meanwhile, I'm sure the parent is also going to bring up that she doesn't have a car or a way to get the kid to concerts. I've told the student MULTIPLE TIMES exactly what the principal told me when I asked -- to either get a ride from a friend in class, or that the Youth Services Center can provide assistance.

I guess I'm just REALLY scared because I'm betting that everyone is going to be upset with me even after I'm pretty sure I've done every thing right. Does any one have ANY comments or advice?
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Job Search [06 Oct 2007|09:49pm]

I am 25 and about to finish my master's degree in arts administration, and my bachelor's is in music (violin) and business. That being said, I have been teaching privately since high school and I taught as an assistant in a public school for 6 months, coaching the slower kids in 7/8 grades in small groups so they could catch up to the rest of their class. Hard work, but I really love teaching. I just never had the time or money to complete all the education degree requirements at my undergrad (it was a 5-year program).

So now, of course, I'm looking for full-time jobs, and one has come across my plate that's an orchestra assistant teacher position. It looks like a great opportunity to teach, but also put my admin degree to work organizing all the area festivals and contests and handling the music booster's club, etc. I have a lot of experience event planning and fundraising/handling finances for arts organizations, and to me this is really similar - plus I'll get to teach!

My only problem is that I am not certified, and won't have time to complete a full certification before I graduate in December. I know that I could pass the praxis exams and I have as much experience as someone graduating with a bachelor's and student-teaching, but not the piece of paper.

So for all of you teaching in public schools - if you were hiring an assistant, how willing would you be to consider a candidate that is not certified, but totally willing to complete certification as she worked? Oh, the job has been open almost a year, so that has to be a factor as well. How would you recommend I approach the application process?

Thanks for your help! I would really love to have a chance at this job.
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Orchestra Web Page [28 Aug 2007|06:21pm]

x-posted to, like, a hojillion different communities.

Imagine: your kid is in my 4/5/6th grade orchestra at Whateversville Elementary (or Middle) School. What would you want to see on the orchestra web page?
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Looking for a music program? [06 Jul 2007|02:32pm]

Is anyone out there thinking about applying to college music programs? Do you have students thinking of applying to a college music program? I'm a recruiter for SUNY - University at Buffalo and I'm here to answer any questions you might have about our program. We have a great mix of traditional and new music options and students are free to focus on any style that they please. We have programs from Bachelor's to PhD and lots of openings, as well as funding, particularly for graduate theory students.

If you're interested in learning more visit our website at http://www.music.buffalo.edu or leave a comment. You can also email me at sbailey4@buffalo.edu.

Hope to hear from you soon!

x-posted, sorry for duplicates
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violin music [30 May 2007|07:19pm]

hi everyone,

a couple violinist friends and i are playing for a friend's wedding in august. she doesn't know anything about classical music and doesn't have any requests--just not the really traditional stuff (i.e. no bridal chorus, pachelbel canon, jesu, etc.)

i'm wondering if anyone can suggest either a few really pretty (and not too difficult--one of our violinists is kinda not-so-hot) either violin trios or duets that we could double the 2nd part. we need probably 10 minutes worth of prelude music, a processional, something for lighting the unity candle, and a recessional.

i've already thought of a few of the pleyel duets, but further than that i'm kinda stuck. any ideas?

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question about being in an orchestra [10 Mar 2007|10:45pm]

i have been playing cello for three years now
and my teacher asked me if i wanted to play with the
local orchestra and i said of course
i am afraid that i wont make it
i really want to do it
so i want to ask you
when you play in an orchestra are the cello lines easy??
i hope it plays a backround role!otherwise im screeeeewwwwd
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Interview [23 Jan 2007|01:08am]

What are some questions I might expect at a job interview? (And, should you feel kindly -- what kind of answers are they looking for?)

What are some questions I might ask?

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[08 Oct 2006|12:33pm]

Hello! My name is Abby and I am a violist/ music education major and a sophmore at the University of Rhode Island. I just discoverd this community but I am disapointed in the lack of postings here.
What is everyone's experience been as a string teacher? What college(s) did you attend or are you currently attending?
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[01 Sep 2006|02:26pm]

Right now I'm having a dilemma with the music department at my college. To recap, I entered this college as a viola performance major in fall 2003. After a year there I got burnt out on music and the environment at the school of music so i took a break and focused on general education at another institution.

After a year and a half away from this college I returned in Spring of 2006. I limited the time i spent at the music dept by only about four music classes while the rest of my classes were upper division general education. Now fast forward to this week, I'm in my fourth semester as a viola performance/music education major and this fall they have been implementing many new procedure the main one being, "if you receive private lessons you MUST be in a large ensemble." However, the ONLY options the string players have is orchestra. I had played in the university orchestra in 2003 and it's just terrible. All the conductor ever does is have the orchestra run through the pieces from the beginning to end without any actual rehearsing. Every year the size of the strings in the orchestra dwindles more and more because no one wants to be in the orchestra which is the reason for the new policy. They don't even have any incoming string players this year.

The problem for me is that i teach a violin program at a middle school and elementary school on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday afternoon so i would not be able to do orchestra. I have for the most part fulfilled my ensemble credits according to my 2003-2004 musicians handbook and my transcript. I have tried talking to many of the faculty members including the head of the music department explaining that I cannot join orchestra because I MUST work in order to be able to attend school and even brought up the fact that this is a new policy and it shouldn't apply to me because I was in the school of music in 2003 so i should be following the guidelines that apply to the year i entered. In my hand book it states "Any performance major receiving FREE private lessons music have at least 12 units and participate in an ENSEMBLE." They don't specify whether it's a large or small ensemble AND they state you have to participate in an ensemble for FREE lessons. Not only am i in an ensemble but I'm also taking 18 units. I have brought this up to the head of the music department but he's trying to say the new policy overrides any old rules in my handbook or the general catalog for the year i entered and there has always been an "internal understanding" that string players are to be in orchestra in order to receive lessons. However, It does not say this anywhere in the musicians handbook nor does it say that in the catalog that applies to me, so i find this very hard to believe. I have told my viola teacher about this and she's sympathetic about my problem and has offered me help in fighting this if i needed it. i really don't know what i'd do without her. I have looked at my options and the most drastic steps would either be to get in contact with the dean of the university about the problems I'm having at the music dept. or just transferring at a better institution all together. the closes reputable college i've heard of for performance and music education would be CSU Northridge which is 2 hours away.

Generally if something is bothering me I'll keep it to myself and deal with it but I'm really getting fed up at this place. This has been just one of many problems I've been encountering all week. I'm not happy with the atmosphere here and i don't really feel like most of the professors care about their students with the exception of a very small amount. They're always implementing/changing procedures so i makes it feel like they're trying to make it as hard as possible for students to graduate. The only program I've satisfied with this college so far is the music education program.

I would really appreciate any advice anyone can offer me on how to see if what they're doing to me is in fact legit.
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[30 Aug 2006|10:38pm]

I'm having a challenge.

Music is a core academic class at my school, yet my vice principal says that 2 1/2 hours of homework per week should go to math, science, and history, and 50 minutes per week should go toward music.

I was told that my 90 minutes was too much. I also have kids do listening logs. He said this work load is discouraging to kids and parents complain. Yet, since I've joined the school, enrollment in my music classes have gone up 20%, and about 80 - 85% of my students do more than the required practicing and listening.

SO...does anybody have some hard facts...research and articles and studies...that say (I can't believe I have to say this) that practice makes kids better? =P And that listening to classical music improves performance?
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Not a good way to start... [09 Aug 2006|10:37pm]

[ mood | annoyed ]

We're a few weeks away from the beginning of the school year. I just got an email from the counselor saying that the only decent violinist I had in my freshman class is dropping. Of course I'll follow-up with her family and find out what's going on (they just spent 3K on a new instrument...so what's up?), but I'm really really annoyed right now. This class has been horrible from the moment they started as 5th graders...and not in a behavioral way, but in a complete inability to follow-through and practice EVER kind of way. Normally, I'd start to think it was me, but all the grades below them have actually GROWN, and I haven't treated them any differently. I'm sure now that she's dropped it will cause a chain reaction because they are also way more "do what everyone else does" than the other groups. I know that the incoming freshmen are the same in the band program, so I'm kind of wondering if there was something in the water that year?

Sorry ...I just needed to rant, and it's not going to put me in a very good mood for the beginning of the school year... My mantra is going to be "focus on the 7th graders, focus on the 7th graders..."

Good luck to all!

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[25 Jul 2006|04:49pm]


I have a private violin studio, and I recently received a new student. Her last teacher pushed her too quickly through the Suzuki books, and now she doesn't have a good foundation. My main concern, and one I can't seem to fix, is her intonation. She refuses (or, I should say her mother refuses) to put tapes back on, but I convinced her to use a sticker "just for a week" for her 4th finger. It has seemed to help.

My question is, does anyone have any good ideas on how to help a student with intonation that doesn't involve tapes? I'd appreciate any comments. Also, I would like to take her backwards in the Suzuki book to songs she skipped, but I think she and her mother would flip. Does anyone have any experience dealing with situations like this?

Thanks in advance!
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[17 Jan 2006|10:44pm]


My name is Beth and I'm new to the community.

I am a recent college graduate in violin (my degre was in music business) and I'm just starting my own studio. I was wondering if anyone could suggest to me some "policies," like how you handle missed or cancelled lessons, late payments, practice incentives, etc. I'll mostly be working with intermediate students (6th-9th grade) so I expect that they will need a lot of motivation for practicing. I have a lot of experience coaching small groups of young people, but this is my first venture into teaching privately on a scale larger than a student or two.

EDIT: I'm also looking for a good method book for 6-7th graders who haven't quite mastered awkward notes and counting. I grew up on Suzuki but I don't want to use that until I get my certification and can do it more confidently. I plan to work some on what these kids need for school, but I'd like to have something else for them to be working on as well.

Any advice would be great!


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Seating Question [17 Jan 2006|12:41pm]

Does anyone have any experience with the orchestra seating I've shown below?

Violas Cellos
Violin 1 Violin 2

I have particularly weak cellos this year and I'm trying to find a way to mask them for state assessment. Does anyone know anything about this type of seating? Do I even have it right?

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Beyond the Mozart Effect.... [16 Dec 2005|12:49pm]

[ mood | amused ]

This was forwarded to me today and is hysterical if you know anything about some of the great composers!

A new report now says that the Mozart effect is a fraud. For you hip

urban professionals: playing Mozart for your designer baby will not

improve his IQ or help him get into that exclusive pre-school. He'll

just have to be admitted to Harvard some other way. Of course,

we're all better off for listening to Mozart purely for the pleasure of

it. However, one wonders if playing Mozart sonatas for little Hillary or

Jason could boost their intelligence. What would happen if other composers were played in their developmental time?Collapse )

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Feliz Navidad [15 Dec 2005|07:36pm]

I teach a violin program at the middle and elementary schools every weekday afternoon. There are often far too many days were I dread going there cause physically, emotionally, and mentally fatigued after a long day of lectures. I can no longer count how many times I’ve gone to class loaded up on coffee. However, today made all that worth it. This morning my violin students played beside the San Diego Symphony and the Southwestern Mariachi College. The kids at the middle school played to pieces: Cuatro Milpas and Cielito Lindo while the mariachi musicians at Southwestern College did their selections along with the San Diego Symphony.

During the rehearsal before the performance I was looking at the row of about 15+ violinists...practically all of them I’ve taught. I looked at everyone in their little maroon mariachi outfits, bows moving in synch with each other, as well as accurate intonation. I felt pride from hearing how well the violinists and guitarists played together. The students knew that music so well that almost none of them needed their music, they all performed by memory in front of the San Diego Symphony.

Another thing that made me happy was the fact that many of the Symphony members we're coming up to me and the other music teacher saying how good the students were and good the intonation was. I can’t call you how many times I’ve told the students, “No, Your sharp! No, you’re flat! Listen to your pitch!” Teaching is such a difficult field and everyday is a new learning experience as to what and what not to do. Really it seems to be a thankless job but when you experience moments like this happen...it's worth it. There are still days where I wonder am I REALLY making the right choices considering teaching. Honestly I still don't know but at least today I can say I truly enjoyed it.

And now...pictures from the Mariachi Concert Collapse )
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