music education

  • 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.






  • Music Education Pays Off -Youth Music Competition Winners

    Students Take Music Education Seriously

    1st Place winners of the Violettes by Becky 4rth Annual Composition and Songwriter Competition are presented below. Bios and photos of students and honored teacher, Ms. Helen Hayes will follow soon. (I have temporarily posted old photos from students who have entered previously). I apologize for the lack of communication for the past few months. Our wonderful practice tip Greeting Cards and Prints have been occupying my time.

    Check out the 2 minute card/poster samples video here (divided into 8 segments) :

    Cards  video can be purchased HEREAny of the cards can be ordered as posters.

    1st Place for Senior Composition Competition:

    music education, violin lessons, violin teacher Music Education is taken seriously in this family. Sisters Helena (right) and Fiona are both 1st place winners this year.

    Congratulations to Helena Abney-McPeek from Chicago, Illinois who won $250.

    Ms. McPeek had a the added bonus of a skype lesson from the generous judge, Andrew Sigler. Mr. Sigler's bio can be found on our blog.

    Helena's winning composition, "By the Seashore", can be heard here:







    1st Place winner for the Junior Composition Division:

    Congratulations to Fiona Abney-McPeek (Helena's sister) from Chicago, Illinois for her winning composition, "Curiosity".

    (I'm sorry, I couldn't get the music to load here).

    1st Place for Senior Songwriter Competition:

    music education, violin teacher, violin lessons Carli won guitar (from US Music Corps.) for second place last year.

    Congratulations to Carli Ann Tuttle from Florida who we understand will be attending Belmont University for a Music Business Degree next year.

    Her winning entry, "Piece of You" is heard here:









    1st Place for Junior Songwriter Competition:

    Violin Gifts, Guitar Purse Gifts for Music Lovers Emma Rowe receiving her certificate last year.

    Congratulations to Emma Rowe from Knoxville, TN for her song, "Case Closed".

    (This file would not load).







    Honorary Mention to Piano and Composition Teacher Ms. Helen Haynes from Missouri who had the most students enter the competition. We are still waiting for results from the Junior Composition Judges, However I'd like to post the music from one of her students here, Maya Wood.

    END of Blog


  • Violin Purse -un 35, Susan Shor, Finds Parallels with Hobby and Livelihood

    Do You Think Dogs when Searching for

     "Gift for Music Lover"?

    Ms. Susan Shor is a staunch supporter of Violettes. She owns a handmade black Violin Purse (or Viola for her sake) which she uses during concerts to hold spare strings, her wallet.... She uses her own artsy pin for the "chin rest". She's not afraid to say it's a great "gift for music lover" and string player. She asks to borrow an assortment of Violin Bags to bring with her when she goes to music conventions, to wear a different one every day and pass out our cards!!! Thank you Susan!! (Our handmade violin purses are in the Violin Gifts section.)

    Her own black viola purse is featured below on the cat's lap in this video by her talented son, Alex.


    Violia/Violin lessons are time consuming and expensive. It is hard to keep up the practicing. However, getting children started and seeing them light up when they can play a song or join an orchestra is rewarding. Giving the students groups to learn and practice with helps the children develop friendships and prevents quitting. Performing with them in the community (old folks homes) teaches them that they can "give back". Seeing a dog or cat very scared of its environment, scared to be put in a car and to be on a leash, change to be happy and comfortable and finally adopted into a caring home is equally rewarding. Susan says it all feels like you are transforming lives.

    About Ms. Shor's Music (Education - a Gift for Music Lover):

    Susan was introduced to music in the public school program in 4rth grade in Philadelphia. She picked Viola to be different because all the other girls wanted flute or violin. She loves to play the supporting parts. In college she started majoring in art, but became intrigued with music teacher Mimi Zweig and her husband who were teaching classes about how to teach children music. She followed Ms. Zweig from Carnegie Melon to Indiana University and changed her major to music. When she saw a young 3rd grade boy come into the class and perform the Vivaldi Concerto in A Minor from the Suzuki Books with so much heart, she was hooked. Well, it happened that that boy's name was Joshua Bell! She moved back to Philadelphia after graduating certified to teach both Violin and Viola in the Suzuki Books. When a friend got pregnant and gave Susan her studio to take over, she loved teaching students and never looked back. She ended up moving to Oak Ridge (after meeting her husband from Oak Ridge) and becoming very involved with the classical music scene.

    violin themed gifts, violin purse, gift for music lover Teaching is a gift for music lover Susan Shor.

    Susan has been in the Knoxville and Oak Ridge Symphonies, assistant orchestra director for Oak Ridge High School for the past 12 years (until funds dried up last year) and helping the Youth Aliyah (Music) Competition by rounding up judges for over 15 years. She also runs the Oak Ridge Coffee Concert series featuring usually local classical musicians in an informal setting. The concerts are free with refreshments after the performance. There are usually 4 concerts per year. She has played in some of these concerts. And of course she has her private teaching studio.

    Susan loves to help with the Oak Ridge Symphony Orchestra with its annual free family concert. (One is this Sunday Jan. 24 at 3PM at the Oak Ridge Center of Performing Arts (Oak Ridge High School Auditorium). There are crafts for children and "an instrument petting zoo" after the performance.

    Most rewarding about raising her musical children? It was tough keeping them going, and at one point the very talented Alex threatened to run away from home. Now he is playing literally side by side with her in the Oak Ridge Symphony. Alex plays piano, cello and Accordion. Her daughter, Emilie, plays violin and piano and is majoring in that in college. When Susan was able to play the Double Bach Concerto with Emilie - that was a high. (Special Gift for Music Lover)

    gift for Music Lover, violin themed gifts, violin purse Susan with foster dog. Each becomes hard to give away.

    About Ms. Shor's Love and Fostering of Animals:

    Her parents would never let her and her 3 sisters have the dog they wanted. When she was 12, her family was at an auction in Vermont and valuable dog, an American Foxhound, was auctioned with a starting bid at $200 which was a lot back then. No one purchased it, so her family got it for about $15. She and her sisters took good care of the dog. First thing Susan did when she got married, was get a cat, even before furniture! When her daughter was 12, and had to do a "Mitzvah Project" (a community service project), she decided to foster dogs.Susan is still fostering dogs 8 years later even though her daughter has gone off to college. She is on dog number 43. She just started taking in cats and is on cat number 3. They get the animals from the Oak Ridge Shelter Animal Rescue Group (SARG).


     Gifts for Piano Players, Piano Purse, Gifts for Piano Teachers
  • Big Orange Guitar Purse

    Do you Love the Big Orange UT Football Season?

    Now you can show your Big Orange UT Football love to support the arts! Get an awesome Big

    Guitar Purse, Big Orange, Giftsformusicians A Big Orange Football Guitar Purse is a fun gift.

    Orange Guitar Purse and put IOUs for tickets for concerts and games inside. Then just fill to the top with chocolates. We'll throw in the ole Rocky Top song for Good Measure. Violettes by Becky will send 20 percent of profits to the UT Knoxville Music Scholarship funds. This is a scholarship for a rising junior or senior student majoring in music at UT Knoxville. The scholarship is managed by the Music Study Club of Knoxville.

    The Music Study Club is a group of both professional and amateur musicians, who meet once a month to perform for each other. Each meeting has three 10 to 20 minute performances - Piano or Organ, Instrumental and Vocal. Our dues are a mere $15 a year, but we have an end of the year luncheon, where everyone is asked to donate what they can. All funds go to the music scholarships.

    Come join our fun in the Music Study Club. All ages are welcome, and we always welcome new members who are able to attend most meetings. Members are expected to perform once per year, and often perform in a group or as an accompanist to another performer. Meetings are in homes and churches (for organ performers), making a friendly atmosphere. They are held the 1st Wednesday of every month at 10:30AM.


    If you are searching for UT Football memorabilia for this holiday season, give back by purchasing a Big Orange Guitar Purse. We have several styles, several price levels. The best by our local artist, Bobbye EdwardsGuitar Purse, Big Orange, Gifts for Music Lovers

    Guitar Purse Enter to Win Guitar Purse


  • Kiwanis Helping Children - Not just any Business Club

    Or What Does a Guitar Purse Have to do with Kiwanis?

    My Kiwanis Business Club has helped me use my Guitar Purse to raise money for local charities. In addition, they have generously donated to my "pay it forward" business, Violettes by Becky, work. Kiwanis is an International Business Club with a mission to help children, in particular children's education. This is not a story about the facts and figures of Kiwanis, as you can google that. It is about my own local group.

    We meet once a month for lunch on the third Tuesday at Noon at The Egg and I in Bearden, and

    Guitar Purse, Kiwanis, Business Club Volunteering to serve at "Reach Them to Teach Them" event.

    have an officer's meeting once a month (which includes all the members that want to come). The restaurant meeting includes a speaker from a local children's education or charity group. They usually present to us because they would like a monetary donation, hands on help or both. Members of other local Kiwanis Clubs often join us at the luncheons.

    Kiwanis, Business Club, Guitar PUrse Target Golf Fundraiser for Joy of Music

    Kiwanis is a parent group to the high school Key Club. We are specifically affiliated with Bearden High. We make donations when they are needing funds, and pitch in with our volunteering efforts when needed. My Kiwanis group enjoys working together at events such as Reach Them to Teach Them (Inspiration for school teachers), Fantasy of Trees (Children's Hospital), the Llama Races (funds for Southeast Llama Rescue and an elementary school in La Guardia, Bolivia), Homework assistance, backpack and stocking stuffing activities.

    In order to have money to donate, we mainly park cars at the UT football games, but also sell a few Xmas wreaths.

    For my Violettes by Becky business charity, music education, I organized a fundraiser for the Joy of Music School, and Kiwanis showed up with elbow grease! it was a golf event at Target Golf in Karns.

    In addition, Kiwanis helped me set up a stand at our football parking, letting passers by pay $1 to hit golf balls into a baritone

    Guitar Purse, Business Club Kiwanis Hitting Golf Balls for funds during UT Football tailgating.

    bell, which enabled us to donate over $200 to the Joy of Music School. (I continue with the bell game when I attend Guitar Purse vending events to raise money for the Violettes youth music competition. I hang the bell from my stand for a ball toss. People  of all ages love the challenge).

    I worked on a fundraiser for the Tuesday Morning Club, who gives music scholarships to high school music students. Kiwanis made a generous donation to the effort.

    So if you would like to have fun working with a business club for local children's charities, attend one of our meetings. Contact me that you would like to join us for a lunch meeting, and Kiwanis will buy your lunch. Send a note to Becky Chaffee at Please note that we are now accepting corporate memberships, where your business can send different representatives to meetings and volunteer activities.



  • Music Education at Work - Our Songwriting Contests for Kids

    Songwriting Contests for Kids shows Music Education in Action

     More Bios and songs from Impressive Violettes Youth Competition Children from 2015. Violettes by Becky is a Gifts for Musicians company, giving back to youth music education.

    Entering a songwriting contest for kids, gives a child a goal, then an accomplishment to be proud of. The process is so much fun, it is hard to realize that they are getting a music education. Actually, I tried writing several songs myself last year. I have great fun with the words, but turned it over to a professional with the music. I did try first though! So I know how really really hard this is. Just playing with the words in song, I learned a lot about what might and might not fit easily in song form. However, I couldn't produce any version to satisfy myself.

    Note the ages and years quoted are from last year when they entered.

    Songwriter Contest, Music Education Ms. Campbell         Songwriter Contest

    Aelish Rose Campbell, age 10 from Texas with "Happy Me"

    Aelish has been singing and writing her own songs for years. She studies piano and songwriting with Julie Bonk in Dallas, Texas. Her other interests include cello, horses, wild cats, playing with her friends, drawing, and travel. She is homeschooled.

    Happy Me! (This and That)

     I'm alright, I got this and that.
    I'm alright, I got my shoes tied...
    I got my smile ready to go,
    I got this and that,
    in my head for so long.
    Just Let It Glow,
    Let it flow,
    Let it grow.
    I'm alright, I got this and that,
    I'm alright.
    Got my shoes tied,
    got my smile ready to go
    I got..this and that,
    in my head for so long
    just let it Glow!
    just let it flow,
    just let it grow,
    I'm  alright, I got this and that
    I'm alright.
    I watch the sunset
    as I rise up, from the depths
    I got this and that,
    In my head for so long...
  • Music Education Empowers Creative Kids

    Gifts for Musicians

    What has Music Education Done for You?

     More Bios of Impressive Violettes Competition Children from 2015

    Violettes by Becky is a Gifts for Musicians Company, giving back to youth music education.

    Note the ages and years quoted are from last year when they entered.
    Music Education Music Education Nathanael Fleming

    Nathanael Fleming, age 14 from Pennsylvania plays piano, and started composing 3 years ago. He started working with a little waltz, and is currently working on a piano concerto. Aided by listening to works of great composers and studying from several wonderful piano teachers, he has experimented with different music styles, including classical, jazz, religious and baroque. Nathanael’s works include sonatinas, symphonies, rags, hymns, minuets, string quartets and scherzos. He has won numerous awards for his compositions. He entered a sonatina called “Little Dance” in the Violettes Competition. Nathanael says, “I am delighted to serve the Lord Jesus Christ with my talent of composing.”

    The “Little Dance” sonatina (his competition piece) was composed around February of 2014, though the fourth movement was composed much earlier.

    Here is a sample movement from his composition.  

    Continue reading

  • Musical Minds: Chamber Music Curriculum for Children

    Chamber Music Series for Children

    by Alison Maerker Garner


    Violettes by Becky, a Gifts for Musicians company, enjoys giving you an introduction to Ms. Garner. Ms. Garner has arranged a series of Chamber Music Books for children, which she writes about in this article. Purchase her books and CDs  at:

    Chamber playing encompasses the whole musician. It demands of its players technical precision, sensory and empathetic response, and improvisational skill that gives breath to the ebb and flow of a communal work of art. No other musical performance medium quite does that and, as it is in my mind, the epitome of musical excellence. As an educator and as a musician, I aim to attain these qualities to the best of my ability, and guide my students to do the same, for the sake of the art. Musical Minds grew out of this passion after years of performing as a soloist, orchestral violinist, and chamber musician; teaching; writing; and research in child development, aesthetics, and cognitive science…particularly the work on mirror neurons and their role in learning. How to teach the aesthetic sense? Anyone can learn technique, but to perform from the head and the heart is a rarer find.

    Musical Minds is a curriculum for children ages 2 through 18 that presents and practices music

    Music Curriculum for Children Pre-Reading Manipulatives

    concepts through sensory perception, empathetic response, and cognitive functioning as applied to chamber performance. Young children are introduced to musical elements through sensory experience such as language, visual art, texture, song, and movement, providing a necessary context through which to understand and eventually articulate abstract musical ideas. Such experience lays the foundation for audiation, a term coined from Edwin Gordon that describes the complex ability to hear from within oneself rather than through the external environment. Sensory experience also prepares the way for empathy and responding to others in a sensitive and appropriate manner.

    As children develop themselves on a chosen instrument privately, these building blocks of musicianship are integrated into a musical setting first, through rhythmic and melodic patterns and later, through folk and classical repertoire. These aesthetic responses include imitation, transposition, improvisation, composition, arranging, and ultimately, chamber performance. Intermediate and advanced instrumentalists learn critical listening skills and how to analyze a score, ways to practice individually and within a group, and perform works stylistically and musically appropriate to the composer’s intentions.

    I firmly believe music can cleanse the soul, renew the spirit, and heal the body. Musical Minds provides a way a child can achieve musical excellence and a higher state of being through his/her own individual journey.

    Music Curriculum for Children Musical Minds: Exploring Round Shapes; Articulation
    Music Curriculum for Children Musical MInds: Listen and Play



    Music Curriculum for Children Musical Minds: Movement to Phrase; Chopin Prelude















    Music Curriculum for Children Musical Minds: Read and Play






    We hope you enjoy learning about this music curriculum for children. If you purchase it, please tell us how you like it! And let us know if you are a teacher involved in music education or a parent. Please send comments to

    Gifts for Musicians


  • Treasure Coast Strings Violin Studio in Vero Beach, Florida

    Through Violettes' violin themed gifts store and children’s youth music charity ventures and competitions, I have been meeting some awesome people. From the competition volunteer judges, mentors and music teachers to parents who contact Violettes with questions.

    Meet Wendy Karabensh, Owner of Treasure Coast Strings Violin Studio

    Wendy Karabensh, who will be entering a couple of middle school students in the composition competition. Her unique violin studio has "themed recitals”! We all know that Suzuki string lessons are a serious time commitment from the students and parents. So, the students in a private violin studio tend to be very bright with great concentration skills. Wendy takes advantage of the parent support to have more fun with her students.

    1. Violettes: You teach violin, viola and cello in your Treasure Coast Strings studio. Do you have Suzuki group lessons in addition to individual lessons? Do you hire assistants? Tell us a little about your teaching program.


    I do have Group every month. High school students help me with the program. (We are fortunate to have a nationally recognized high school orchestra program here in Vero Beach under the direction of Matt Stott.) We do warm-ups like bow exercises and rhythms played on each string and simple beginner songs up to Twinkle, followed by a “Solo Time” where anyone can play a solo, then music theory games. The students are divided by age into three groups and the high school students have been trained to lead the theory games.  I use a lot of “Music Mind Games” by Michiko Yurko. The last half hour of group class is geared toward more advanced students and depending on what we are working on it is either run like a string orchestra or like a performance group rehearsal.

    In weekly lessons, we always do scales and music theory. I have developed a Spy-themed progression of music theory levels for them to complete and it keeps them (and me) motivated. I also do a Performance Challenge to prepare them for the solo recital so that by the time the recital rolls around they have PERFORMED (not just played) their piece a multitude of times. Each summer we do a different Summer Challenge to keep them playing even if they take a break from lessons. And sometimes I do things that have nothing to do with learning an instrument, but just make life more fun and build community. It is funny, because they still relate it to their lessons. For example we had this giant inflatable whale that we named and then dragged around town and took pictures with him. Then we had a huge map in the studio that we marked where the whale had been. After taking pictures by an airplane at an airport one student turned to her mom and said “That was the best violin lesson ever!” (No violin was in sight.) I find it builds student retention instead of student turnover.

     2. Violettes: Your recitals are not just Suzuki tunes, but full blown productions with themes and costumes. How did you come up with this imaginative plan? It must take immense energy. Who plans and makes the costumes? Do you change themes from year to year? Or do stick with several shows that you have produced?


    I am always looking for ways to motivate students. In 2003 in West Palm Beach I started a student performance group called “Pizzazz!’s a string thing” that was inspired by the string group Barrage. Students ages 7-17 auditioned to get in and every number was choreographed and /or used props. That was the start of doing things out of the box. I was not afraid to hire people who were experts in their field to help where I felt I could use extra input. So sometimes we had a choreographer work with us, or a professional fiddle player come and teach a fiddle tune. Performances were professional, colorful, fun, upbeat, and included the audience. Students performed for people in the community rather than the obligatory family members.

    In 2006 our family moved, the performance group ended, and I started over with my Treasure Coast Strings studio in Vero Beach. I have not started another performance group (it takes time to build up to that type of program), but I have incorporated some of the same tactics in our annual recitals. The recitals are still mainly Suzuki repertoire, but the set, programs and outfits are theme-related. Any large group or quartet songs are theme-related.

    The first time I decided to have the students wear something other than the usual fancy dress clothes was for our “Treasure on the High Seas” recital and I wanted them to dress like sailors. I knew the boys would go for it. (Choking necktie vs. pirate attire? No brainer.) I wasn’t so sure about the girls because most of them liked wearing a special dress, but they were as excited as the boys. Now the recital barely ends and they ask what next year’s theme will be and what will they be wearing.  I put parameters on their outfits and they are responsible to put them together, but frequently I will have certain items available like the hats or bandanas. I did make all the mermaid skirts for the “Treasure Under the Sea” recital. I have not repeated an entire show theme yet, but I have used songs that I previously did with the performance group.

    Do you want to try something different in your studio? Earn the trust of your students; I never ask them to do something I would not do myself. Get their parents behind you too. Enlist the aid of experts. I also could not do all this without the help of my husband who does the majority of the set building. My own college-aged  children have even returned home to help set up for performances. If you need some ideas where to start I suggest reading Philip Johnston’s book “The Dynamic Studio.”

       3. Violettes: Tell us about your productions. Have you had any funny or special things happen at them that are fun to talk about?


    That time I had a violin maker come to class to demonstrate how a violin made sound, complete with a peek inside a violin with the top removed, and then the kindergartener that went home, crawled under his bed with his violin and then COMPLETELY disassembled it. I thought he was very inquisitive. His mother did not think it was funny. He and I got together and I supervised as he reassembled it.

    That time we did the theme from Star Wars complete with glow-necklaces strapped to our bows, in the dark, with black lights and fog.  People, it was moisture in the fog machine, not smoke. We had performed this numerous times. So why on the SCHOOL TOUR did it set off the fire alarm? And then the fire trucks came. And the kids kept playing anyway, because the show must go on.

    treasure coast, violin studio, Wendy Karabensh, Vero Beach Treasure Coast Strings Violin Studio

    4. Violettes:  I see by your studio photos, you take advantage of the beach to have fun with your students. Are you not worried about getting sand in the instruments?


    We had a lot of fun with the beach pictures, but what you don’t see on the other side of the

    treasure coast strings, Vero Beach, violin studio Treasure Coast Strings Violin Studio, Underwater!
    Vero Beach, Florida

    camera is all the parents holding cases! So the instruments never came in contact with the sand. Humidity is more of an enemy than the sand is.

    This year we were even more adventurous with our underwater shoot that included a junky violin that I hot glued sand, shells, and rocks on. It even had a crab for a chin rest.

    These were taken in my swimming pool to promote our “Treasure Under the Sea” Recital.

    Violin Studio, Vero Beach, Florida Underwater Violin Studio in Vero Beach, Florida






    Purchase our Violin Themed Gifts Now



  • Violettes Meets Song Writer, David Lauver, Part 1

    David Lauver Invites You to                    

    the Smoky Mountains Songwriters Festival

    August 21-24 (Don't have to be a Song Writer to Attend)

    Knoxville Songwriters Association, Smoky Mountains Songwriters Festival Knoxville Songwriters from KSA perform at 2013 Smoky Mountains Songwriters Festival

    I met David Lauver at the Grand Opening of Digitrax Entertainment Company in South Knoxville. (Lucky me to run into this Song Writer). As the Education and Public Relations Director of the Knoxville Songwriters Association (KSA), he was generous to offer to be a volunteer judge for the Violettes by Becky Youth Composition & Songwriter Competition. He suggested that I attend a KSA meeting to invite the club to be involved. KSA meets each Tuesday from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Fountain City Library, 5300 Stanton Road. I thoroughly enjoyed these talented folks’ pre-meeting sing-a-long session followed by a group review of songs in progress by attendees. I couldn’t help thinking how night and day the meeting was compared to engineering meetings that I attend!

    1. Violettes - What are your recent projects as education and public relations director of KSA?
    Mr. Lauver - I work with other KSA members to provide developmental and continuing education opportunities for local songwriters. We bring in Nashville professional songwriters, publishers, and studio owners to share their experience and answer questions from local writers. By arranging for KSA participation in community events, we also work to support civic and charitable programs, give our members experience in performing their songs in public, and contribute to East Tennessee’s heritage as a center of musical creativity.

    2. Violettes - The KSA seems like a fun group.  What are your favorite KSA memories or events?

    Mr. Lauver - We’ve made many good memories performing original songs around the region.  Our next scheduled performances are at the Smoky Mountains Songwriters Festival, August 21-24 in Gatlinburg, and September 14 at the Historic Ramsey House’s Country Market.  In addition, we may be among the community performers in September at the Tennessee Valley Fair. (Violettes recommends that you attend performances of our own talented Knoxville Song Writers).

    Also, you never know what memorable events could take place at KSA’s weekly meetings.  Several long-time members recall a night when
    Kim Williams* showed up with a guy who sung demo recordings Kim pitched to publishers and producers.  The young man said he wanted to be a recording artist, but told us he also had aspirations as a writer.  He got out his guitar and asked if we’d like to hear a song he’d co-written.  It was being pitched to Tanya Tucker and he really hoped she’d cut it.  Then he began playing the minor chord intro to “The Thunder Rolls.”  I’m not sure if Tanya ever recorded it, but it became one of his own signature songs in Garth Brooks’ record-setting music career.

    *Kim Williams, who is a lifetime member of KSA, was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2012 and will be at the 2014 Smoky Mountain Songwriters Festival.

    David Lauver, Part 2 to be Continued in next blog.

    Song Writer, Smoky Mountains Songwriters Festival, Knoxville Songwriters Asociation
    David Lauver In-Concert
    Mr. Lauver will be a volunteer judge in Violettes' 2nd Annual Youth Composition & Songwriters Competition.
    ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦You can support the arts by SHOPPING FOR GIFTS FOR MUSICIANS at Violettes by Becky.

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