Violettes By Becky

  • More Phenomenal Students or Gifts for Our Children, Violettes by Becky Youth Music Composition Competition

    More Amazing Phenomenal Students ---

    How do You Supplement Your Child's Education? 

    Gifts for Our Children

    My son was reading before Kindergarten (Reading Harry Potter in Kindergarten). He could do all times tables in his head in Kindergarten. (He learned by quizzing his older sister for her tests). My daughter was just as smart, but with a slightly different set of talents such as language and management. (My son didn't talk until he was almost 3. It was a little scary). How would you (or did you) supplement your children's public school education? Honestly, what I did was give them what I always wished I had had. (Isn't that what everyone does?) -- And also what was available and feasible in our city. Since I was a pre-teen, and saw Suzuki violinists on TV, I  wished that I could do that. In high school, I begged my parents to let me go to jazz camp. Going to the camp turned out to be pointless without the proper background. (At that time the camp was chaos with no sessions for beginners.) So my kids took classical and jazz violin and piano. Gifts for our children! But as they got older, they both got busy with their own interests such as acting, school clubs, volunteering, sports (basketball, football, golf, soccer, tennis, frisbee, girls).

    Anyway, what fun to be able to compose. These brilliant talented students are lucky to be able to have fun becoming skilled in this art. The judges and I really enjoyed listening to the entries. At least locally, competitions for kids that include music composition seem to often have no or maybe one entry. 

    Two phenomenal composition students. Congratulations!!!

    Music Teacher Gfits Fiona Abney-McPeak, 2nd Place winner

    Fiona Abney-McPeek, 15, enjoys playing violin with the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra and with a chamber trio. She has studied composition with Elliot Cless, Teddy Niedermaier and Tonia Ko and is in her fourth year of participation in the Composition Seminar of the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras. Fiona also volunteers as a teaching assistant in the Chicago Math Circles, and she is active on her school's science and math teams. (This year she and a teammate built a musical instrument for one of her Science Olympiad events.)

    Fiona's Program Notes for her Brass Quintet Composition titled, "Unstable Equilibrium"

    "Unstable Equilibrium"  is inspired by the intersection of order and disorder --- the inevitable imperfections in even nature’s most orderly creations, and the hidden order behind what seems like pure chaos. Neither orderly, nor disorderly, this piece finds stability in the fact that it is constantly evolving. It is not confined by form, melody, key or rhythm, yet it never gets out of control, developing organically as a self-contained system. Unstable Equilibrium opens with a stable, yet slightly bouncy motive whose 3-eighth-note idea makes a little rippling wave through the ensemble. This idea of waves, or ripples, disruptions in something otherwise orderly, appears throughout. The waves lengthen in duration and amplitude near the beginning of the piece, and appear at the end in the form of ripples moving up in register through the ensemble and transitioning into an off-kilter version of the original motive.


    music teacher gifts Youngest entry, age 13

    Alexis Cai is a 7th grader at Foothill Country Day School in Claremont, California. She has been studying classical music since age five. Alexis is a skilled pianist, flutist, a classically trained singer, and an aspiring young composer. She has been composing since age ten, and is currently studying with Mr. Charles Davis at Upland Music School. She has won 2nd place in music composition category in the California State Reflections Arts Program. Two of her solo piano pieces were featured in Claremont Symphony Orchestra’s annual Concert for Young People. She also composes choral music for her school choir to perform in both spring and winter concerts. Alexis has been a flutist with Claremont Youth Symphony Orchestra for three years. She is a pianist and flutist in Chamber Ensemble Program at the prestigious Colburn School in downtown LA. Over the years, Alexis has won multiple prizes in piano, flute, and composition competitions including: Lansum International Music Festival Competition, San Diego Flute Guild Festival Competition, and John Child Walker Music Competition. As a winner of 2018 Claremont Youth Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition, Alexis had her orchestral debut in February 2019, performing 1st movement of Mozart Piano Concerto no.23 with Claremont Symphony Orchestra. Recently, Alexis is accepted into Juilliard 2019 Summer Performing Arts “Young Artist Program” in Geneva, Switzerland. She will be joining talented young musicians from around the world, and studying closely with Juilliard Faculty to take her musical artistry to the next level.

    Piano Composition by Alexis, "Koi Fish"


    Happy composing you two. Thanks for sharing your work with us. We hope to see your work next year again.

    My kids have both finally rewarded me for my efforts in the way I would want - With music gifts of their own doing.  For Xmas, I got a recording of my son playing his newish ukulele and singing (with girl friend back ups) and for Mother's Day, I got a recording from my daughter playing violin in a trio with her boyfriend on the piano. The best gifts ever!




  • Music Teacher Gifts and Violettes by Becky announce Youth Music Composition Tie Winners 2019

    We are proud to present our Youth Music Composition Competition students.

    Remember to get your spring Music Teacher Gifts from

    Presenting 1st Place Tie Winners:

    Richard Ren, 15, with Piano entry from New York

    Music gifts Richard Ren, Piano Composer, 1st Place winner

    Richard loves to compose music because it allows him to express himself and be creative. He has been composing since he was nine years old, and since then, he has composed multiple solo, chamber, and orchestra pieces and has won the Music Teachers National Association award, a New York State School Music Association honorable mention, and 3rd place in the 2019 Golden Key International Piano Composition Competition. His pieces have been played by his school’s orchestra, in local music festivals, in a Long Island Composer’s Alliance concert, and will also be played at the Ehrbar Hall of Vienna during the summer of 2019. He loves to play piano and guitar in his free time and also has an interest in science, technology, politics, and animation.

    About his work, he writes,

    "Usually, my composition process begins when I sit at the piano and start having fun improvising various ideas, melodies, and harmonies. I was able to combine a lot of the ideas that I improvised into one beautiful, flowing piece. The various ideas and motifs in the song seemed to tell stories of various adventures and experiences. These adventures, connected together with legato phrases in a smooth, romantic, soft style, seemed to tell a long, winding story about a river’s journey, so I called it “The River’s Memoir.

    "The River's Memoir" by Richard Wren

    Music Teacher Gifts can include Music from our sponsors, Performers Music, and Sheet Music Plus or bags, scarves, card sets, prints from or


    Presenting 1st Place Winner: Emily Singleton, 16, String Quartet from Florida

    music teacher gifts Emily Emily Singleton Composer ,1st Place Winner

    Emily Singleton is a composer and violist from Gainseville, Florida. In 2016 she made her debut as a composer with the premiere of a trio for violin, viola, and piano, at University of Florida. Since then she has had her work featured by Interlochen Center for the Arts’ World Youth Wind Symphony and Advanced String Quartet Program, Gainesville Civic Chorus, Alachua County Youth Orchestra (ACYO), MATA, and Face the Music. She is currently principal violist in the ACYO and was selected as a member of the 2018 National Association for Music Educators All-National Honors Ensemble.

    Singleton has been awarded titles from National Federation of Music Clubs, Florida Federation of Music Clubs, Florida State Music Teachers Association (FSMTA), Sacred Music Florida, Technology In Music Education Foundation, Music Teachers National Association, and MATA. Among these titles includes winner of the FSMTA's 2018 Intermediate Strings Concerto Competition. Her primary instructors include Paul Richards, Stephen Fine, Jorge Peña, and Benjamin Reiter.

    Singleton is actively involved within her community presenting at local events, health care facilities, retirement homes, hotels, and schools. These efforts have been awarded by organizations such as the FSMTA, which presented their community service award for 9th graders to her in spring of 2018. She aspires to make a career in teaching, performing, and composing, and hopes to encourage audiences to appreciate and supprt living artists.

    Her program notes for her composition:

    Program Notes
    This work as a whole focuses on specific colors as seen in an
    urban environment, with natural and artificial embodiment of
    color around every corner. Commissioned by MATA,
    premiered by Face The Music at MATA Jr. Festival 2018.
    I. Prussian Blue
    Prussian Blue incorporates tremolo shimmers, sappy glissandi,
    and somewhat blues-style chromaticism to portray the imagery
    of blue within the context of everyday encounters: puddles on
    sidewalks, ice hanging off roofs, paint on buildings, the collage
    of fabric on busy streets, and the sky above.
    II. Carmine Red
    Carmine Red is a fast, lively miniature that captures the character of
    the color red through syncopation, agitated melodies, and breathless
    textures. Red has been historically associated with sacrifice, anger,
    love, danger, and courage, coming together to form a symbol of
    passion. This reflects the dedication of city-dwellers to their work,
    the busy flow of traffic, and urban night-life.
    III. Icterine Yellow
    The color yellow may represent optimism and amusement, betrayal,
    duplicity, and jealousy, or joy, virtue, and nobility. Due to the many
    interpretations of this color's character, Icterine Yellow takes on a
    wandering nature, drifting through the city's many alleyways, dabbling
    in moments of laughter, pranks, and confusion, lost in the city, as it
    seeks to find its place of rest in a role of honor.
    IV. Ochre Orange
    Orange is a color of oddity, celebration, and folly. This final
    movement, Ochre Orange, is a playful miniature that reflects the
    variety of cultures and holidays celebrated in a large urban
    environment and peculiar characteristics that may be imagined in
    the color orange. The mischievous and careless nature captures the
    joy found in this combining of traditions, celebrating the acceptance
    of diversity and providing an exciting close to the work.

    "4 Urban Miniatures" by Emily SingletonKeep Tuned for the next blog.We will present more winners sponsored by our Music Teachers Gifts web site.






  • Six Violin Gifts that are Hand - made in the USA

    1. Violin Gifts Made in the USA are a Special Treat

    Made in the USA ! I have recently traveled to several music conventions with my hand - made in USA Violin Gifts.  I have met other violin gift makers while exhibiting.  Most special about these gifts, is they often can be customized. So here are my recommendations.

    1. Hand Made in the USA Violin Purses are amazing gifts. These are designed by myself, and take several days to make.  If you can't afford these elite violin gifts, there are some prototypes that are not quite the final product, so are sold at a greatly reduced price. You are welcome to send a note asking about these violin bags if you have questions. And I have provided another alternative to the handmade by getting some made overseas to reduce the price. These include a small leather wallet. See the photos of each of these choices.
      violin gifts, made in the USA, Elite Handmade Black and White Violin Purse
    2. Violin Gifts, Made in the USA Purchased a Violin Gift for herself, and is so happy.








    violin gifts, made in the USA This hand painted silk scarf has been a popular seller.



    2. Hand Painted Violin Silk Scarves are also made in the USA. I don't know of any other scarf painter that is spending the time painting instruments on silk, as It is time consuming, but produces fun results. This particular design is not posted on the web site. It is very popular at festivals. Large (11 by 60) is $85, and smaller (8 by 50 in.) is $70. Shoot me an email with requests to





    3. Delightful Music Lesson and Practice Tip Folk Art Greeting Cards that make you smile. There are many many violin and string cards. But from requests, the folk art cards have taken on so many other directions besides just music. We now have yoga, wedding, neighborhood, beer, Holiday and Occasion, wild animals... Find the cards and use the search feature if you like at Please don't let the music part of the title fool you. There are plenty of other kinds of cards too, and we LOVE requests.

    mde in the USA, Violin Gifts Purchase Music Art Greeting Cards, Blank inside with Practice Tips on Back.










    4.0 Large prints of any of the over 150 cards mentioned above. use the search feature for violin specific art - there are many. You can purchase a print to be matted in a final size of 16 by 20in. or as a canvas. Canvases are not offered on the web site, buy contact me for a request and size. Here is a popular sample. The size is 12 by 15 by 1.5 in. The canvas has a wide side, and sells for $50 plus shipping. However, If you order a thinner canvas , 3/4 in., I can sell a (approx.) 16 by 20 canvas for $60 plus shipping.

    Violin Gifts, made in the USA Violin Gifts - Made in the USA "Ensemble Playing Tips: Be familiar with all parts."









    5.0 Violin Earrings are fun violin gifts hand made in the USA. very few people know that I also make jewelry. It is a big seller at street fairs. i can make your colors to order for $20 plus $5 shipping and handling.

    violin gifts, made in the USA Violin Earrings, violin gifts made in the USA I can make whatever colors you request.








    6.0 Becky's handmade themed wallets.

    violin wallet handmade USA Handmade Leather Violin Wallet
  • What in Berlin is Paul Brody up to? besides selling Becky's Violin Purses?

    News from my brother, Paul Brody, on the other side of the World

    (about the Spoken Word and Melody)

    My brother, Paul has been hired by...
    Well, I asked my brother to tell us about his new project for the Pierre Boulez Auditorium (Artistic Director:  Daniel Barenboim) where he is hired to be a feature sound installation artist, and got an earful as follows! (For specifics about Boulez work click HERE.)

    Trumpeting and Composing through Stories 

    When Paul Brody was struggling to get a grade higher than a D in his high school English class he hardly imagined that would have a job experimenting with language. Words were something that were difficult, and generally brought a lot of red marks when the teacher returned his essays and tests.

    Now Brody is 56 years old. He still feels Californian although he’s lived in Berlin, Germany for almost a quarter of a century. Brody is an internationally acclaimed composer, radio producer, and sound installation artist. To most people these three actively seem wildly different. But Brody puts them all under one category, which is his self proclaimed ‘sub-genre.’ That is the world between spoken word and melody.

    The red marks from his high school English teachers have changed into notes, frequencies, vocal gestures, and melodies. And the mistakes Brody might have made on his tests have even been assigned an artistic value which Brody calls, the aesthetic of misunderstanding. His latest projects have included composing for a theater piece based on the people who worked as interpreters for the Nuremberg Trials. What was it like to be the interpreter who had to translate during those long weeks? The through-composed composition functioned as another translation that left the words and embraced the speechlessness of it’s unfathomable tragedy. The state theater, Munich Kammerspiele housed the documentary music theater piece.

    Brody has extensively explored using the voice as a compositional base. His work at the Jewish Museum Berlin uses interviews with people about how they see their place in their chosen home of Berlin. Brody’s special composition technique shows that along with words, the voices-melody both accompanies what we say but also carries it’s own independent narration.

    Brody is currently working on a sound installation based on Yiddish blessings and curses for the Candian Language Museum. In April he will also be guest artist speaker at the University of Rhode Island and Artist in Residence at the University of Virginia.

    Back in Berlin he will be a feature sound installation artist at the Pierre Boulez Auditorium (Artistic Director:  Daniel Barenboim). (For specifics about Boulez work click HERE.)

    He is also developing a sound installation for the Anton Webern festival.

    Brody has also toured extensively as a trumpeter and played and recorded with such greats as John Zorn and Jelena Kuljic.

    For more information and exciting listening examples please check out his website:

  • Violin Travels to ASTA Conference 2018

    Violin Travels - Braved It with Big Time Music Conferences Twice Now

    Something new that I have never experienced before  - fans! What fun!

    One of my fans convinced me to get out of the small time sales and fork out the large amount of money and travel with violin purses and music art to go to bigger gatherings such as music conferences, "big league" Xmas shows and even very large food festivals.

    Violettes by Becky with her violins, guitars and pianos made a last minute decision to travel to Chicago to the Band and Orchestra Teacher Midwest Conference the week before Xmas. That was rough, as Chicago is pricey, and I was stuck in the back of the Exhibitor Hall by a "Face Lift" booth. And since I joined so late, I wasn't in the program.

    But I met more fans who told me I'd do well in the right places, and people who might carry my cards in their chain stores. So, even though I was far from breaking even, I braved the recent ASTA Conference in Atlanta. And at ASTA, I learned some things that maybe I already knew. The mini violin purses are not only great for young violin players, but they make cute night purses. They are a lot easier to make than the larger and largest size purse, and just max out the easy to purchase price of $75. Don't misunderstand -  They take many hours to make, and the materials (beads, buttons, zippers and brooches!) come close to $25 per purse, but I think I can style them cute enough for teens in the future. And all my cat purses sell out. Sooo, I am redecorating a couple of existing purses to be ready for the cat lovers!

    At the conference we got to see and hear Rachel Barton Pine. Her Bach lecture was too packed to enter, but she streamed it! Yeah. Watch it here.

    Violin travels teacher gift; traveling violin Traveling with a violin is easier if it's a Violin Purse by Becky!

    Her lovely daughter posed with her own violin purse:

    Performance Highlights were seeing the Mark O'Connor Family Band with the sweet, talented Maggie O'Connor et al. They've really come up with a lot of toe tappin' incredible music that's hard not to stand up and dance to.

    In addition, we saw the the trio "Time for Three", an electric string extravaganza. I have never heard anything like it in person before.

    Best of all, Cards and Prints flew off the shelves to find homes in New York, Hawaii, North Carolina, Florida..., and a couple of teachers used school credit cards to purchase my prints for their classroom walls! I crated many of the prints with this use in mind - Fun Educational Music Art!

    And although plenty of my educational note cards were purchased, the most popular were the cutesy less educational animal cards.

    So grabbing my violins and traveling to ASTA was well worth it. Next, we'll try to get into the Suzuki conference in Minnesota, even though it's passed the deadline!

    Check for my cards and art in full, HERE. it's easier to view them on my new web site, music teacher gifts and Cat - a - Paloooza

    All around, the event was a lot of fun.

    Thanks to ASTA and all the traveling violinists! (and of course violists and cellists)


  • Music Lesson Art Cards, Gifts and School Charity in Knoxville News

    Music Lesson Art Cards, Prints, Purses

    & Music Education Commitment

    on Cover of Local Newspaper Section

    Music Lesson Art Cards and other music gifts created by Becky have earned kudos from the local newspaper! Because few read a long blog, we posted an insert from the continued page of the article below. Thank you to the Knoxville News Sentinel and Reporter Margie Hagen!

    Peruse thru our Music Lesson Art Cards at this link: HERE. Large prints of any of the cards are available, many are listed HERE. Please note we are building a new web site where all cards and prints are listed. They are easier to see, understand what we have available and find what you want at This site is not yet set up for purchasing.

    Purchase our Birthday cards, and a $1 per card donation goes to the local school music department. It's not too late to sign up for our youth music composition competition or to purchase holiday gifts!

    We love requests for our music lesson art cards. That is, send us what music lesson or practice tip you'd like to see illustrated Becky style. I currently have a list, but if I love your idea, it gets pushed to the top. Give us pictures of your pets to be painted into the cards if you have a fun musical animal card idea. Even give us photos of your student(s) to be painted into a card if you have an idea that Becky uses.

    In addition to the Music Lesson Art Cards, Becky created a line of local flavor for the Knoxville Hallmark store.

    Music lesson Art Cards Music Lesson Art Cards, Prints, Purses and Charity Earns Local Kudos
  • Sisters Win Violettes by Becky Youth Competitions

    2017 Annual Violettes by Becky

    Youth Composition Competition
    Sisters, Helena and Fiona Abney McPeek Both Win First Place


    Repeat participants in the Violettes by Becky Youth Composition Competition, Helena and Fiona Abney-McPeek have both placed before. This year they have something special to celebrate, as they both have our 2017 first place prizes.


    Violettes by Becky Youth Composition Competition Senior Division -

    Youth Competition Winner

    Helena Abney-McPeek writes, "I started playing Suzuki violin when I was 4 years old.  From the very beginning, I was interested in composing, and I have several pieces for violin and voice that I wrote when I was maybe 5 years old.  Currently I'm 16 years old and a high school junior.  I sing in the a cappella choir at school and play violin in the Chicago Youth Philharmonic Orchestra.  I'm involved in the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra's Composition Seminar and have composed for my high school's musical.  I'm also involved in the Computer Orchestra (an electro-acoustical ensemble) at my school and have composed a piece that we will perform in our concert next month. My other interests include math, computer science, science, writing and acting."
    Violettes by Becky Youth Composition Competition Junior Division -
    Youth Competition Winner

    Eighth grader Fiona Abney-McPeek has been involved with music for much of her life.  She started playing violin when she was a todder. Soon after, she began her first compositions, which she played on violin with her family.  In addition to playing and composing music, Fiona participates in her middle school's Mathcounts, Science Olympiad, robotics, cross country and track teams.  She currently plays in a youth orchestra, sings in the school choir, plays chamber music with her friends and participates in a composition workshop.


    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Violettes by Becky sent some questions to Mom for the blog to learn about the family of these amazing young ladies.

    Helena has entered the contest 4 times, and younger sister,  Fiona, 3 times.

    Youth Competition training A memory treasure for the McPeek Family
    Photo shows Helena, Fiona and Mom playing violin trios about 9 years ago.  Mary Sara McPeek, Mom, picked up a bit of violin from sitting in on the kids' lessons. Mrs. McPeek says, "with my (limited) experience on other instruments, I could hang in there and play duets and trios with them when they were little".
    "My husband, Mark, and I have a lot more musical enthusiasm than actual developed skill.  Mark has basically no training and doesn't play any instruments.  I am a musical dilettante with little formal training (some flute, mostly self-taught on piano, and some choral experience).  When the kids were little and the pieces were easier, I frequently accompanied them on piano.  The kids left us in the dust musically a number of years ago.  For example, Helena and Fiona both have perfect pitch and can sight-sing together in perfect two-part harmony (or more than two parts if there are others available).  My singing ability is much more limited, and my husband works hard to keep his part.  However, the kids still graciously and enthusiastically allow my husband and me to sing along with them, and they are encouraging when I try to play the piano with them while they play violin or sing."
    Youth competition contestants with family "A family portrait taken shortly after my kids had performed at my sister's wedding 1.5 years ago."
    In addition to caring about music, we are a family of math and science lovers.  Helena and Fiona are both very interested in areas such as computer science, physics, robotics, math and environmental science.  My husband has expertise in physics, I have expertise in statistics, and we both are academic researchers in statistical genetics/computational biology.  As a result, our family tends to talk a lot about interesting and puzzling science, math and technology problems as we sit around the dinner table.  There will sometimes be robots, hovercraft, or wheeled vehicles being built or programmed in our house, generally by the kids and their friends, with us parents helping to find supplies.  We also love to travel and to do fun stuff outdoors like hike or play ultimate frisbee.
    Congratulations to these wonderful young ladies and their family.
    Registration is currently accepted for the 2018 competition. Inquire with any questions to
    Music Lessons Popular Music Art Prints and Note Cards
  • Youth Composition Competition by Music Gift Co.

    Violettes by Becky, Music Gift Co., Presents

    our 7th Annual Youth Composition Competition

    Register now HERE  for $20. There is a $5 late entry fee after Dec. 31.  Send Score and MP-3 or You tube by Feb. 14, 2020 to  Note that you can register by paying early, but submit entry on Feb. deadline.           Thank you.

    The Violettes by Becky Youth Music Composition Competition is for ages 10 thru 18 (students still in high school). Sign up now, but submit your compositions by February 14, 2020. The compositions should be submitted via email to in both written and recorded forms.

    Th cost is $20, but if you can not afford this, we can waive the fee.

    Volunteer judges will provide constructive feedback for the students’ works and decide the winners.

    Judges are Professors of Composition Laura Elise Schwendinger and Andrew Lloyd Sigler of University of Wisconsin-Madison and of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville respectively. More about judges below.

    Prizes are -

    First place: $100 or choice of purse or wallet by Violettes by Becky


    Second Place: $50 gift Certificate from Performers Music

    Third Place: $25 Gift certificate from Performers Music


    Should there be at tie, or at least 3 entries under age 15, an age

    division will be made for judging and prize purposes, and more gift

    certificate prizes will be added from Sheet Music Plus.


    1. Entries must be amateur composers who are ages 10 thru 19 on Feb. 14, 2020. (Students must still be in High School).
    2. Compositions/Songs must be between two and five minutes in length.
    3. Collaborative work accepted (partner must be in same age group). It will be the responsibility of the entry writer to divide the prize. No works under professional contract may be entered.
    4.  Submissions must consist of a score, and an MP-3 (or MP-4 or Memory Stick) or video. For ages 10 thru 14, score is not required, but will be given more weight in judging.
    5. Register (and pay) to enter by Dec. 31, 2020, but submit composition as late as Feb. 14, 2020. Late fee goes up to $25 if you register after Dec. 31.
    6. Compositions/Songs are due by February 14, 2020. Submit to
    7. Winners will be announced on April 15, 2020.
    8.  Registering for the competition means that you agree that your work is original and that you hold all rights to the composition/song.
    9. Entry constitutes permission to use winner's names, likenesses, and voices for future advertising and publicity purposes without additional compensation. (We have not done this and have no plans to do it).
    10.  Submission constitutes entrant's agreement to release, indemnify and hold harmless and judges from and against any claim, including, without limitation, of copyright infringement or other misappropriation, arising from any acts or omissions in connection with the contest or its operation.
    11.  If you are interviewed by the press as a result of this competition, you are required to tell the press, they must mention and thank the company, ", Gifts for Music Lovers" in the press release for conducting the competition.
    12.  If you can not afford the entry fee, we can waive your fee. Also, please note that this competition is a labor of love, and the fee does not begin to cover the labor involved. Support us if you can with purchase from Violettes by Becky. Everyone needs to give gifts. Thanks.

      Please keep informed by signing up for the ViolettesbyBecky,com Newsletter.

      Judging Criteria

      • Judging Criteria for the Compositions will include up to 5 points assigned to each of the following 3 categories: 1.Originality/Creativity, Technical Proficiency 3. Orchestration and Overall Effectiveness
        (Note that the majority of entries are entered on just one instrument).



      Andrew Lloyd Sigler is Assistant Professor of Composition at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville where he directs the composition program and teaches audio recording, film scoring, theory, and orchestration. He will be assisted in judging by some of his composition students. His web site link is    He often gives winners bonus skype composition lessons.

      Laura Elise Schwendinger

      Prof. of Music Composition, Head of Composition/ Artistic Dir. Contemporary Chamber Ensemble

      University of Wisconsin-Madison, Mead Witter School of Music


      MA, PH.D. UC Berkeley; First Berlin Prize on Music '00, Radcliffe Inst. Fellow '03,

      Guggenheim Fellow '09, American Acad. Arts & Letters Lieberson Fellow '09,

      MacDowell, Yaddo, Bogliasco, Copland and Bellagio Fellow


      QUARTETS: Featuring the JACK Quartet on ALBANY


      Grant recipient of an Opera America Discovery Grant!

      Discovery Grants,

      for ARTEMISIA

      AT TRINITY WALL STREET, Times Arrow Festival, Orchestral premiere Christopher Alden,& Lidiya Yankovskaya-Conductor


      review in NYT…/music/classical-music-youtube.html

      and Left Coast Chamber Ensemble, June 2019, Chamber version Premiere

          Music Gifts

    Make it Interesting.

  • Goodwill Vintage Fashion Design Challenge

    Becky Chaffee Makes Whimsical Cello Outfit Design

    Becky Chaffee, Owner of Violettes By Becky has been chosen as one of six designers for Goodwill Fashion Design Challenge, one of the company's biggest fundraisers of the year in Knoxville, TN. The Thursday Sept 21 event is typically sold out with over 400 in attendance. Many are unaware that Goodwill gives classes to help folks become employable with food service cleanliness training, nurse assistant training, computer classes... In addition to the training, folks receive certificates which also help folks become employable.

    The evening includes shopping at a visiting high end boutique, a dancing group, and dinner at the downtown Knoxville Holiday Inn. Here is the link for tickets.

    The Goodwill Vintage Fashion Design Challenge show will present designs by the chosen 6 to be voted on during intermission by the audience. The popular vote is only one sixth of the points to win and unknown prize. Additional criteria include:

    • 2. Incorporation of repurposed materials from Goodwill Industries-Knoxville (minimum 90%)
    • 3. Level of complexity
    • 4. Attention to detail and finishing
    • 5. Functions for runway show (not inappropriately sheer or fragile, model can walk, not prone to “wardrobe malfunctions.”)
    • 6. Creativity (interpretation of theme, unexpected or nontraditional use of materials)
    cello End Pin, Cello Lessons, Goodwill Fashion Design Challenge end pin above the model's foot.

    Becky has chosen a design in keeping with the "In Living Color" Theme for this Year. A list of material reuse is at the bottom of this page. Here are sneak preview of the cello entry with a list of materials reused below.

    Note that we have made cello purses with re-purposed goodwill materials in the past, as some of the bling is not even available at local stores, and if they were, the prices are much better at Goodwill.

    Goodwill Vintage Fashion Design Challenge - materials listed below.

    • Two Pairs stiletto shoes: used a stiletto heel and silver strip from shoe soul for end pin at back center of dress. Large jewel strips are from both pairs of shoes for cello end pin on leg, cello string ornamentation on top front center and rest as bling décor. Use all straps from shoes for cello strings on hat, note stems, and to hold tail piece on leg.
    • Hangers – to curl the ends of scroll and scrolls on cello purse and to hold back of cello “shawl” in place. Used a complete hanger in “shawl” for shape. Also used a hanger for the cello bow.
    • Corrugated hose –front of dress cello curves (Bottom part of cello shape)
    • Rubber hose fit perfectly into corrugated hose, but is stiffer, so it is use to continue edges of cello “shawl” up the back.
    • golf green for stiffener in purse, head piece scroll, tuning pegs on hat, some music notes and for green frog on bow.
    • record to support scroll in hat
    • bicycle Helmet – used helmet padding for hat to protect head. The padding is under the belt buckle glued to bottom of hat to balance it on head.
    • Jump rope is used for cello neck “strings”.
    • 3 Belts, 2 black and one yellow--Yellow belt to hold fascinator hat on. --2 black leather belts – used two leather ends of belts for: one belt buckle for model leg as cello tail and end pin piece and buckle piece for cello fingerboard dress front center.  Other belt buckle is to balance record on head for fascinator hat. Elastic Belt Centers -- to close back of dress.  -- and remaining elastic was cut into strips to hold tail piece of cello onto leg, to hold notes onto shoe and for ring.
    • two purses – beads from one purse are used on f holes and as center front décor. Used magnetic snap from one purse and strap from another for cello purse.  Used strips from both purses for note stems. Leather strips from purse for note stems. Used strips of one for inside back cello lining under gold netting.
    • Pillow – used thin case for lining of corduroy, and stuffing for stuffing of the yellow corduroy dots and some of the music notes.
    • shell necklaces – smashed shells and sprayed them silver to glue onto notes on back. The silver notes on the back top and silver of the stiletto heel end pin needed to be tied together for the eye to move across the dress.
    • Buttons from coat for notes - I have replaced all the buttons on this coat and returned to Goodwill including the broken button.
    • Car Floor padding – used to help with stiffness and shape of back of cello “shawl”
    • Four different curtains were used for fabrics: burgundy, gold, brown, and white sprayed gold

    It was a fun experience, but I do not own a form to build the outfit on, so my model visited once a week for about 5 weeks. The style and method that I chose for this piece was a time consuming arduous task. I pulled 5 all nighters because I have trouble stopping when I am in the middle of art. In addition, I changed my design plan ideas several times during the making.

  • Music Funds for Local Schools

    Introducing the "Fundraiser Rap"

    When I was interviewed by a local TV news anchor, she told me that she would much rather purchase the earrings than the standard cookie dough that our local band sells each year.This school music fundraiser is quite an experiment. I will write about it at a later date.

    At this point watch this video written by myself with a few add ins by rapper, Brady Moldrup. Brady is a Freshman at UTK majoring in theatre. He performed and filmed this with his room mate in one evening for the project! isn't he fantastic?!!


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