Studio IV

Violin and viola instruction in Brooklyn, NY.

Studio IV is the violin and viola teaching studio of Erin Ellis in Brooklyn, NY.

Learning on Vacation

I am so fortunate to have the opportunity to vacation in Europe this summer. So far I’ve traipsed around Paris and Lyon, France. I’m currently en route to Geneva, Switzerland, and then will make my way to Novelle, France, and back to Paris before we head home.

One strange thing about a long vacation for me is all of this time without my instrument. At first the idea always seems good, but by around day 3 I miss it so much. There are so many things one can do to practice sans instrument (blog post about this coming soon!) but it’s just not quite the same.

There is a MAJOR heat wave in Europe right now, which sent me and my terrible French skills on a wild goose chase for an electric fan in Lyon. What was meant to take about an hour ended up taking near three, but it was so worth it!

After my first unsuccessful venture, I roamed around looking for the second place I’d marked on the city map the hotel had given me. (Note to self: those maps are NEVER to scale!) I never found the store I was looking for, but I did wander into a sheet music store that I saw along the way.

After Patelson’s closed in NY this year, I resigned myself to the idea that I’d always have to shop for sheet music online. I can’t begin to explain the nerdy euphoria I felt when I opened the door and saw all of that music. I said greeted the shopkeeper and asked her “Est-ce que vouz avez de la musique pour violon?” (Do you have music for violin?)

She replied that they did, and showed me to the section.

I had a great time browsing the shelves and ended up buying three books that I’ll use with my young and intermediate students. Here is a sneak peak:

new books


As I paid for my items, the shopkeeper asked about me and what I’d chosen. I told her in my mediocre French that I was a Suzuki violin and viola teacher and that I was delighted to find her store, as our brick and mortar music stores are gone.

Finally as I was ready to leave, I thanked her again and apologized for my terrible French.

She then flashed a giant smile and said to me “Je vous comprends.” (I understand you.)

The way she made me feel in that moment is how I want my students to feel with me. It was a truly lovely experience and I can’t wait to get home and share this new music with my students.*

*I did kind of ruin that beautiful moment at the end by telling her in French that I am so pretty rather than so happy. Oops! Got a good chuckle, though, and I won’t mix up those words again! 

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