Studio IV

Violin and viola instruction in Brooklyn, NY.

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

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Congrats to the Children of St. Stans Violin Club for a Fantastic Performance!

We had a great time playing at the St. Stan's talent show. I also really enjoyed seeing and hearing some of the violin students sing and dance. What a talented group of kiddos!

 

We are setting the foundation for a strong string program at the school and I am so thrilled to be a part of it.

New York Area Concerts for Children and Families

As you know, listening is a vital component of the Suzuki method. I encourage you to expose your kids to as many performances as possible! I find them to be fun, inspiring, and engaging for children.

For those of us in NYC, there are quite a few places that offer programs specific to children. Here are links to a few resources:

Carnegie Hall Family Concerts

New York Philharmonic

NYC Arts 

Symphony Space Family

Let me know if you'd like to arrange a group trip!

 

 

 

Studio IV Summer Update!

Hi everyone! I've been slacking in the blogosphere, but I promise I'm back now!

Summer lessons are going well. I'm really excited about starting up group classes in September. Stay tuned for dates and location! Remember that group classes are no extra charge. It's a great place to chat with other parents, and for the students to have fun playing their instruments together.

Some other fun news:

-I'm now helping out with the violas for The Corona Youth Music Project in Corona, Queens. It's great fun and I've met some really wonderful people.

-I've also been playing viola with The Classical Musicians' Rehearsal Symphony Orchestra, and played violin for a reading session with The Brooklyn Symphony. I'm very excited for regular rehearsals to resume in September.

-I'll be playing an interactive concert for kids at Caribou Baby in Greenpoint on Sunday, September 7th at 4 PM. Current students, bring your instruments! No pressure to play, but you are welcome to join me.  Invite your friends!

Misc:

-If you need a practice video for something that I haven't already sent, let me know. If I don't already have one, I'll make one for you.

-I broke my foot! It may take me a bit longer than usual to get down the stairs, but I'm coming. I promise!

Enjoy the rest of your summer, and current students and parents, watch your inbox for Fall scheduling announcements.

 

Taking Lessons

As a teacher, I feel it's imperative to practice regularly and keep my skills up in order to set the best example for my students, as well as for my own enjoyment.

This past Monday, I was fortunate to have a lesson via Skype with an instructor I greatly respect and admire. I completed my Unit 2 Suzuki Violin instruction class with her, and will be studying Unit 3 with her in just a few weeks.

It was such an eye-opening experience! We worked together for an hour, mostly on my left hand position, but also on my bow arm. It's truly incredible what just one lesson can do. While I feel I do a good job adjusting my studentss' positions, I hadn't been paying close enough attention to some bad (and painful!) habits I'd let myself get into in my own playing. By the end of that hour, my left elbow no longer hurt, my intonation was better and and my left hand felt relaxed. I have another lesson in a few weeks and can't wait to see what comes from it.

Lifelong Learning

One of the things I love the most about playing an instrument is the fact that one never stops learning. I can go back and play pieces that I learned in high school and now incorporate new technique, new feelings, and new experiences that shape the way I play. It’s a lifelong learning process, and I feel it’s such a gift to have this.

I can’t stress enough how much I’ve enjoyed the Suzuki training I have pursued this year. I didn’t grow up in the Suzuki method, and I believe there are many wonderful and diverse ways to learn how to play an instrument. I’m really inspired by the community aspect of the Suzuki method and the support system I’ve acquired in the past year.  I also feel this method has been wonderful for my students.

Through these seminars, not only have I learned how to be a better teacher, but also a better player. It’s wonderful to be in a supportive learning environment with your peers, each of whom are from different backgrounds, and we teach to and learn from each other.

I’m greatly looking forward to my next trip to Dallas in March to study Unit 3.

More on the training in the next post!

Practice Methods & Focus

A friend of mine posted this article from Lifehacker.com on Facebook a while ago: (http://lifehacker.com/5939374/a-better-way-to-practice

I’d read it a few months ago myself, but not as closely as I read it this time. It’s a great article for anyone who wants to be better at anything, and in a nutshell, stresses being present and mindful in your practice. Read it if you have time! It’s short and well-written.

I too am a violinist. I saw a lot of my own habits in the article, both the good and the bad, and agree with most of what was said.

I’m currently setting weekly goals for my violin and viola practice. This week I focused on left hand dexterity by using my metronome to play passages faster and more accurately. I found that the more thought and deliberation I put into each passage at their slowest metronome marking, the more accurate my intonation and rhythm were once I got to my goal tempo. In contrast, when practicing the etudes at their slowest markings while daydreaming about what was in my crock pot and trying to remember where I’d put some batteries I recently bought, I made nowhere near the progress I’d made earlier when I was truly focusing.

This coming week I’m going to continue working on my left hand dexterity in my violin and viola practice. However, I’m going to practice nothing but focus when it comes to composition. I hope to have something decent to share next week!

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