1) What is your background?
I teach a large private class of violinists in Farmington Hills, Michigan, and I am also a physician with a specialty in Occupational Medicine.
I attended Interlochen National Music Camp for seven summers as a child, and graduated from the Interlochen Arts Academy High School in Interlochen, Michigan. After attending the Meadowmount School of Violin in NY for four summers, I received a B.A. violin performance degree as well as a B.A. degree in Natural Sciences from a joint program between Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Institute of Music while studying with Linda Cerone. Additionally, I have studied violin pedagogy with Sally O'Reilly in Minneapolis, have completed Suzuki violin training in early childhood education as well as levels 1A, and 1B., and I regularly attend and participate in the Starling DeLay Symposium at the Juilliard School of Music in New York City.
I received my M.D. degree from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, and my Masters in Public Heath Degree from the University of Illinois in Chicago.
I accept new students of all levels who are willing to make a commitment to serious study of the violin, and who are willing to practice on a daily basis.
2) Where is your studio? Where do you teach?
My studio has been and is open full time since 2003 and is located in my home in Farmington Hills, MI. This is where my private violin students take their lessons. Chamber music sessions, tots classes, and piano accompanist rehearsals are also held in my home. Monthly recitals are held at a local venue in the Farmington Hills area. I also teach beginners' violin classes at a local community center in the summer and fall. Some of my private students begin their training at one of these classes and then continue studying violin privately with me once their class module has been completed.
3) What hours do you teach?
Private lessons are scheduled Monday through Saturday of each week. A few students take a lesson during the day, and most come after school. Most students schedule a regular lesson day and time and come at the same day and time each week. A few students "float" and schedule their lessons for a different day and time each week depending upon their schedule and mine. Make up lessons are scheduled during time slots throughout the week which become available, and make up lessons are given on Sundays occasionally as well.
There is one recital given per month on a Sunday afternoon. Participation in our monthly recitals is optional and is encouraged. Some students perform every month or almost every month. Others perform every other month or once per quarter. A studio rehearsal is held with our studio's piano accompanist prior to each recital. Chamber music rehearsals are scheduled most frequently on weekends, with occasional rehearsals being held on a weeknight as well.
Please call (248-865-3060) or e-mail me to discuss current openings in my studio as well as what works best for your schedule.
4) What is the age range of the students that you teach?
Students in my studio start lessons as young as 2 years old, with parental supervision. Students of all ages study in my studio, including adult beginners.
5) What level of student do you teach?
Complete beginners through advanced students are welcome and feel comfortable in my studio. There are many opportunities for students of all levels to learn and progress.
6) My child is special/different in that he/she is very smart, is gifted, slow, is very energetic, has a short attention span, is a perfectionist, etc. Can my child learn to play the violin?
Each student who comes to my studio is treated as an individual, with the goal being to help him/her maximize strengths while working on areas which need more focus and attention. Students are encouraged to put forth their best effort towards educating themselves each day, and support is offered to all students in helping them to achieve their individual goals. I often find myself utilizing information from Medical School to help students learn.
7) Do I need to have a violin to begin lesson? Where do I get a violin?
Beginning students in my studio are measured for a violin at their first lesson. Once they know what violin size is needed, they are given information as to where to rent a violin, and what other starting equipment is needed as well. For students who already have a violin and bow, the adequacy of the violin and bow on which they are playing will be discussed soon after lessons begin in my studio.
8) What methods do you utilize to teach violin in your studio?
Students in my studio are encouraged to learn to read notes and rhythms as soon as possible. Students are also encouraged to listen to recordings very frequently as well. Some of the basic books used in my studio are Tune a Day series, String Builder series, Galamian Scale Book, Fiddle Rhythms and Fiddle Magic by Sally O'Reilly, and Suzuki books 1-8. This repertoire supplemented by many other short pieces, concerti, sonatas for violin and piano, etude books, as well as chamber music (for groups of musicians) and orchestra music (many students in my studio participate in their school string/orchestra programs as well as our local youth symphony organizations). Students who have previous training via the Suzuki method as well as the traditional method of note and rhythm reading are welcome to join the studio.
9) Do you teach piano lessons as well as violin lessons?
Although I do not teach formal piano lessons, all students in my studio are taught to play 2 and 3 octave piano scales (major and minor) as part of their training. This helps them to understand the violin fingerboard better. Students in my studio are also taught the basics of music theory as part of their violin training.
10) As a parent, do I need to have had formal training of a musical instrument in order for my child to study violin in your studio?
Some parents who bring their child to my studio have studied an instrument themselves previously. It is certainly not necessary to the success of any child that their parent play a musical instrument prior to coming to my studio. Parents of young children will find that it is helpful to their child if they learn the basics right along with them so that they can help their child practice each day at home. Some parents actually rent a violin for themselves and learn right along with their child during their child's lessons. There is no extra charge for doing this in my studio.
11) How often do you have recitals in your studio?
Studio recitals are held each month. They are held very frequently so that students have many opportunities to "practice" performing. A piano accompanist rehearsal (rehearsal with a professional piano accompanist along with coaching by me) is held each month to help each student prepare for his/her recital performance. This is open to all students in the studio to observe, and is done in the format of a master class. These opportunities help the students gain confidence in their ability to perform as musicians, and helps them to build self confidence and self esteem needed to be successful in other arenas as well. These monthly rehearsals and recitals also allow the students and parents to get together on a very regular basis, and significant friendships form as a result. Studio members come to feel that they are part of a very supportive and caring group of people who love children and music, and appreciate that this is a healthy and safe environment in which respect for everyone is emphasized, and in which the lives of everyone involved are greatly enriched.
12) How much practice time is expected of my child?
Students are expected to practice each day unless they are ill. The amount of time expected per day is in part age dependent. Careful practice each day, with attention to detail and correct technique being utilized are concepts which are emphasized during lessons. These issues will be discussed in further detail on an individual basis and as needed as your child progresses. Each child's individual schedule, level of interest, and the involvement of the student in other extra curricular activities are all taken into account as an appropriate amount of practice time per day is determined.
13) What amount of parental involvement is necessary in order for my child to do well in the process of learning to play the violin?
Young students require parental supervision when they practice. As a child gets older, the child generally becomes more responsible and begins to practice independently. The age at which a child takes full responsibility for his/her practicing is determined on an individual basis. Students of all ages certainly benefit from the positive attitude and encouragement provided by their parents.
14) What is your rate? How much do you charge for a lesson? Chamber music? Piano accompanist fees?
Please call me (248-865-3060) to discuss this in detail. A complete package will be put together for you which optimizes the learning experience while taking into account any budgetary constraints or considerations you may have.
15) I want to make sure that my child does as well as possible as he/she learns to play the violin. What is your recipe for success?
Rarely a week goes by that I’m not asked one of the following questions by at least one parent in my violin studio: “Why does that child play so much better than my child?” Before I have a chance to inhale, the parent shrugs her shoulders and offers her own explanation, saying, “That child must just have natural talent and my child doesn’t. It must just run
in their family. My child will never be that good.”
Each time I am asked these questions, and hear these types of explanations offered, what I wish I could tell the parent is the following:
There are several reasons why one child may progress more quickly than another. Most often, it has nothing to do with natural ability and genetics and everything to do with the things that set these children and parents apart from the crowd. Briefly, the reasons are as follows: consistent daily practice, reasonable amount of daily practice time, quality of practice time, parental involvement/supervision of practice sessions, attendance at weekly lessons and studio/recital classes, praise and positive encouragement from the child's parents and teacher.
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