Studio Recital June 2016

This year we had our studio recital at The Piano Gallery in Roy, and I have been so slow at documenting the event! I was so proud of everyone; all of my students worked very hard to have their songs learned and/or memorized. For many, this was the first time some students had performed with an accompanist in front of an audience. Alyssa 2016


Alyssa performed the Theme from “Witches Dance” by Paganini


Alex performed Giguetta by Bach

20160611_165216Goldie performed Musette by Bach


Mariska played Go Tell Aunt Rhody, a traditional folk song

20160611_164748Abe played Theme and Variations by Papini


Daviny and Mariska performed the Twinkle Variations by Suzuki


Daviny performed Long, Long Ago by Bayly

20160611_171238Emily performed the first movement from Rieding’s Concerto in G Major

20160611_170158Hannah performed all three movements from Vivaldi’s Concerto in A Minor

20160611_172141Group picture!


Daily Regime for Suzuki Book 2

I’m making every effort to standardize my lesson plans and expectations, so I am going to be writing a post explaining the daily regime I expect my students to follow. My first post will be for Suzuki book 2. When first beginning Book 2 we may not be doing all of the scales to begin with, but by midway we should be proficient in the assigned scales.

1. Scales with a metronome (click here for scales)
Two octave major scales and arpeggios: G, A, B flat
Two octave minor scales and arpeggios: a
Two octave major scales and arpeggios in third position: C, D
***Set your metronome to a quarter note = 60. Slur one to a bow (half notes), two to a bow (quarter notes), four to a bow (eighth notes)
2. String Explorer or Wohlfahrt, Op. 45 (assigned weekly)
3. Vibrato exercises
4. Review (see the chart below)
5. New Suzuki material

Now, a few words about the review chart. This chart includes Suzuki Books 1-8 and they are color coded accordingly. If you have only made it through Book 1, you only need to review the pieces you have learned. Remember- you only need to practice on the days that you eat! Review your pieces every single day, this could very possibly be the bulk of your practice time.

Weekly Suzuki Review Chart

Weekly Suzuki Review Chart


Upcoming Concerts

Chamber Orchestra Ogden has an upcoming concert! And, get this- it’s a pops concert! Ok, ok, the flyer says “Classically Pops,” but we are playing Pirates of the Caribbean! It should be a wonderful concert and I am so excited. I haven’t played a pops concert since 2008.

Children are invited, but no babies please!

May 2nd @ 7:30 pm
Union Station

Tickets are $5

Contact me for more information or check out

Helping Your Child Practice

As a teacher, I have discovered that one of the most difficult things to teach is how to practice. Learning how to practice is probably the most important skill a child can learn, because it teaches hard work and discipline. My ninth grade geometry teacher admitted as much. He knew we probably wouldn’t have a future career in geometry, but he knew that learning how to learn would be essential for life. (Thanks Mr. Jones!) Every child is so unique and it is always a struggle to a) find a practice routine that works for them and b) convince them (and their parents) to implement that routine during the week. I don’t want practice times to be a struggle for the child or the parent! That being said, I’d like to give you my 2 cents.

Find a time of day that your child can consistently practice. I like to say that you only have to practice on the days that you eat. (Practice 5 times a week, at least.)

Play a recording of the pieces that your child is working on. I highly recommend owning the CDs, but finding a quality recording on YouTube can work as well. As you are listening to the music, pull out the violin and ask your student some questions. For example,

  • How do you tighten the bow?
  • How tight does the bow need to be?
  • Where does my (thumb, pinky, etc) need to go on the bow?
  • What part of the violin is this?
  • What are the names of the open strings?
  • What happens when I put my first finger down on the A string?

Initiate a violin related conversation with your child with the music in the background. Once the child is holding their instrument and showing you how it’s done, start to have them demonstrate the skills we have been working on.

  • Can you play the A ladder for me?
  • How many different rhythms do you know? Can you play them for me?
  • Can you play (such and such song) with a good mouse hold? Good bow hold?

Daily practice should mimic what we do in lessons. If you are unsure of how that routine goes, come to a lesson and take notes or record the lesson. Young children need to learn how to practice, and they will need your help. If you are consistent with this, practicing will be much more enjoyable (hopefully) because it will become less of a power struggle. Think of it as family music time! Start with short practice sessions and gradually lengthen the amount of time as the student become more proficient at practicing on their own. Students need to focus the entire time, and that is why I try to give very exact instructions for them to follow.

And, last but not least:


I will probably use this meme a lot. I love it so much.

What Parents Should Know About Practicing

Ah, the big question- how much should my child be practicing? Here are 3 things you should consider as you help your child practice…

  1. 5 days a week. Kids do best when they practice consistently, and if violin practice is part of the daily routine they know what to expect. (Practicing the day or hour before your lesson is not good enough! We all have hectic weeks once in a while, and I understand that, but if you really want your child to get the most out of lessons, schedule a daily practice time.)
  2. 10 minutes per year of age, per week. For example, if your child is 10, you would expect them to practice 100 minutes a week. Divided by five days of practice a week, that would turn into 20 minutes of practice a day.
  3. 15 minutes a day. At least. Unless you are under 7 years old, it’s 15 minutes a day!

A few more suggestions:

  • Practice sessions should be structured like lessons. For example, if we start lessons with bow exercises and then move on to scales, your practice session should follow the same pattern.
  • I try to make notes for students that will help them practice. Please read through my notes and have your child read them. Even better, come to a lesson every once in a while and take notes yourself!
  • I believe that every child can learn to play the violin well. That being said, my most successful students are the ones who can focus not only during their lessons but during practice times as well. Is your child practicing with purpose?


I know, exciting post ahead- but flashcards really are useful when learning to read music. Knowing your note names is crucial, and being able to read them quickly will make you a better sight reader. The faster you can sight read, the faster you can learn your music. Who doesn’t want that? You can buy them at any music store, online, or you can use this handy link to print your own:

I printed and laminated my flashcards by using this website, because I’m all about saving a few dollars. (I could buy laminate paper for $8 and flashcards for $17.99!)

Performances and More

WSU Chamber Orchestra plays Mendelssohn’s Italian Symphony

A few years ago the WSU Chamber Orchestra went to China and performed several concerts in Beijing, Tianjin, and Shanghai. We played Mendelssohn’s Italian Symphony (one of my absolute favorites) and the Beethoven Triple Concert0. Click on the above link to watch part of our performance at Weber State University after our trip.

Classical Music Festival Highlights 2011

I’ve already blogged about the CMF, but check out the above link to see just how awesome it really was.

Ghosts, Heiße Liebe, and Beethoven

I’m pretty sure that Austria is my favorite place in the world. Ok, Austria/Germany. But I haven’t been to Germany recently, so Austria is currently in the top spot. (Wiener schnitzel fast food joints. I love it.) A few years ago I attended the Classical Music Festival in Eisenstadt, Austria, and it was the most amazing experience ever. I went with two other students from Weber State, Gabrielle Cox and Courtney Bullard, our violin professor Dr. Wang, and Gabrielle’s mom Emilie.

Here I am with Gabrielle, posing by one of the concert posters. For the Gala concert we performed Haydn’s Der Sturm, Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy, and Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. 


These are a few of the many delicious flavor of ice cream that contributed to my expanding waistline. (Totally worth it.) I probably ate ice cream at least twice a day. One of my favorites was Heiße Liebe, or “Hot Love.” It was ice cream with hot strawberry sauce and strawberries. Hot love indeed.


The Festival Chorus and Orchestra performed as part of the Sunday mass at St. Stephan’s Cathedral in Vienna. (This is the view from my chair.) Mozart was married here, the organ was the most incredible thing I have ever heard, and the catacombs were incredibly fascinating. Music and bones.


Ice was almost impossible to find. At this particular cafe, we didn’t even have to ask for it- hence our happy faces.


Bones! Or, to be more specific, St. Constantine. He is a 2000 year old Roman soldier who is on display in the chapel at the palace.


Eisenstadt! If you follow the road you end up in the Fußgängerzone, or pedestrian zone.


This is Schloss Esterhazy, where Haydn was employed by the Esterhazy family. We rehearsed and performed here.


This picture was taken at the back of the palace, where the main entrance is now. There is a huge park at the front, complete with a pool, tennis courts, walking paths, etc. There is a gazebo/shrine/temple up the hill away, and from there you get an amazing view of the palace.

On our last night, we decided to pull an all-nighter. The bus that would take us to the airport was scheduled to leave at 3:00 in the morning anyway, so we chose to stay up all night and sleep on the plane. Around midnight we got bored of the Hungarian soap operas that were on TV, so we went for a last walk around town. We started by walking up to the old Jewish cemetery, where the broken old tombstones leaned and tipped against each other. The grass grew wild in between the slabs of stone, and the etching was obscured by years of weather and moss. This place is pretty creepy in the daylight, let alone at night when the city is silent and dark. (Because buildings in Austria don’t typically have air conditioning, everyone sleeps with their windows open. There is a city curfew to reduce noise during the night.) To be honest, looking at the graves spooked us, and we headed down the lane towards the park behind the palace. Everything was dark, except for the temple on the hill that looked down on the palace. The temple was well lit, so we headed up the footpath towards it. 

The atmosphere at the cemetery was left behind as we sat in the glowing light of the temple. We could only see the silhouette of the palace below us as we talked. After a while, I looked back at the palace, and I could see light shining through one of the windows. I asked the others if that light had been on the whole time, and we couldn’t remember. We continued our conversation while keeping an eye out, and a few minutes later, another window lit up. Ok, I will admit, after visiting the cemetery and wandering around in the dark- I was spooked by the fact that lights were randomly turning on in the palace. (I wasn’t the only one nervous one. For the record, we were all feeling a bit skittish.) The conversation halted as we fixed our attention on the newly lit window. My brain was going a million miles a minute as we nervously began to ask questions. Who is turning lights on? Why would someone be in the palace at one in the morning? Is someone squatting in the attic? Maybe it was the spirit of St. Constantine, the 2000 year old Roman who was displayed in a glass coffin in the chapel?

My frazzled nerves were on the verge of collapsing when I saw a figure walk past the window. We began to panic, realizing that from the figures point of view we were the only things visible in the dark. We started to debate on whether or not we needed to leave, and it was right at this moment that the figure came back to the window and remained standing (floating?!?) there. Whatever was standing in the window remain perfectly still as it watched us. Someone mentioned something about the fact that we were being silly, it couldn’t be a ghost. I, ever the realist, responded with- “I may not believe in ghosts, but I do believe in murderers and serial killers.” Then the debate began. Do we leave now? Do we let the figure leave first? I knew that I was about to lose it, and I definitely wanted to make my move before St. Constantine did. I said as much out loud, and we all got up and turned to get back to the footpath. I thought chaos would break out when Courtney started running, but we caught up to her and began making our way down the footpath. There are only so many ways to say that it was dark, but it was, and the only way of staying on the path was listening for the sound of gravel versus grass and trying to avoid the trees and bushes that lined the path. The four of us walked arm in arm back to the road and up the Haus de Begegnung. (Our hotel.)

I imagine, if you are still reading this, that you are amazed that someone could be so ridiculous. This doesn’t sound scary at all. What ghost? Who are you, crazy person? There are a million reasons why a perfectly normal, well-adjusted person would be in the palace at one in the morning. For example, a security officer. My mom pointed that out to me when I told her the story, and I felt like an idiot. However, it was completely terrifying. For me.


One last picture for you- here we are in front of Haydn’s house. If you have made it to the end of this particularly verbose post, I commend you. Maybe it wasn’t about music, necessarily, but I have been so blessed with amazing opportunities because of music. Ghosts and ice cream. I’m telling you, this is the life.