Tuesday, August 27, 2013


“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” William Butler Yeats

On our second day of meeting together one of my students at The Violin Project announced that he was "doing this" only because he really wanted to play guitar. I told him that was fine with me, and asked him what kind of guitar he wanted to play—rock? Country? Blues? Classical?


The next day I showed all of them this while they ate their snack. Because while I have no intention of standing in the way of this boy's dream, I thought he should know that violins can rock, too.

I love classical music, and I love violin. Mostly, though, I just love music. I focus on classical and violin because that’s where my training was. It's what I know and do best. What I want my students to realize though, even at the very beginning, is that while I’m teaching them to do very specific things (stand still, listen carefully, hold the bow this way, put your violin on your shoulder like this, work on this particular piece of music next,) I am really only providing them with tools. Those tools mean freedom—to express, to explore, to create.

I won’t pretend to teach rock or blues or jazz or fiddling. But I absolutely want to help my students know and love the richness of their instrument. They should know that learning an excellent bow hold is deeply connected to what you can do with it once you’ve got it down.

So we’ve been watching/listening to music, all sorts, so the kids can get an idea of what can be done with a violin:
You never know which sparks will ignite, or where.

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  1. Have you heard Chris Thile play Bach Sonatas and Partitas on the mandolin? Check it out! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cxsqtoNTLTo

    1. I saw that you shared it on Facebook, and watched. I loved it! He's amazing. Thank you for sharing it here, Rebecca!


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