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  • 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?!!

     

  • 50 Ways to Lose Your Loved Ones

    Or  Gifts for Classical Music Lovers

    Or Raising Children to Love Practicing

    Gifts for Classical Music Lovers? 50 Ways to Lose your Loved Ones? The titles make me seem confused? I must satisfy web site blogging word requirements according to SEO gurus that I pay attention to. And some times it is so unnatural to do so, that we might as well make the difficulty blatant. But, I promise they are somewhat related to this blog.


     

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    Gifts for Classical Music Lovers? Part of the beginnings of Violettes started when my mother told me to sew little violin purses, to help little girls to love their violins. This has great validity. I sewed the little violin purse to hold a pencil and rosin, but it is also used as a evening purse for young girls and adults, as the rosin pocket fits credit cards and a comb and lipstick.

    When my daughter was very young she carried her little lamby everywhere. She loved it. Why not love a little violin? This could be for pre - twinkle children. Or, when my daughter was young and had a clinic with a classical "music star", she told my daughter to love her violin in attempt to tell her to be musical. It's no secret that the female culture enjoys fashion. A little handmade violin purse (makes really special violin gifts - inquire if you don't see colors you want). These are designed and hand made by Becky (moi) in Tennessee, not in China! for made in the USA fans.


     


    Please note a previous blog on raising  musical children in interview with Annie Dupre from the fabulous Annie Moses Band ===>>Click here for Interview


    As an entrepreneur at heart, I always thought that if I could "can" the way to make children want to practice their instruments, I could be the next millionaire.

    Jokingly, the title "50 Ways to Lose Your Loved Ones" is referring to getting your kids to turn on you by trying to get them to practice. I have plenty of stories from friends -one friend says her son actually tried to run away from home because of all the practice. The son is now a multi talented and fabulously creative adult.  Let's see how he handles the deed with his children! (I think the brighter the children, the more we expect of them. But we do mellow out with each younger child.)

    I hear many folks chatting about so and so's kid doesn't even play anymore!!!... So and so's kid is concertmaster in the college orchestra. And I wonder how I could have done the music lessons and practice thing better so that my kids would still be playing. It is clear  that my daughter will get back to her playing when life allows. Meanwhile, many of her dates actually involve trips to hear the symphony. I can be proud of that!! As for my son, sports got in the way, and may always be in the way, but that is such a healthy lifestyle. And when my musician brother comes to town, both my kids love to join him in whatever musical improv session he directs.

    To get to my ideas about canning ways to get children enthused: Well, I got it right with reading. I made a point to sit on the couch in front of the kids everyday and read. Guess what they did? YES! They climbed on the couch beside me with their own books. We read both together and separately. We did so many kinds of projects with book discussions ( a different blog).

    Following this model, and noting that my father got up at 6AM before going to work to practice piano (or rather to enjoy playing )... It was such a sweet alarm clock for us, and it was also ear training. When given a music tone ear test by the music instructor before being invited to choose a school instrument, old Mr. Figeroid told me I must play the violin because I had a perfect score. I have always been sorry that I didn't take violin, so I tortured my daughter instead. I say this because I just started her in lessons at age 3, and she took to it right away. But I should have taken her to symphony (and band) concerts and let her choose an instrument on her own to let her feel that it was her choice. Perhaps this was mistake number 1 (after not making her her own little violin purse to replace lamby)!!!! When my kids were small, we had just moved here, and I had no close friends for years, and no music groups to be part of.  With young children, I also considered myself too busy to practice my own music. But loving my own music would have shown the kids just how much I love my own music. KIDS COPY PARENTS! (I did try to learn violin alongside my daughter until I got carpel tunnel syndrome on both wrists, and I did play duets with her on my flute for a few years).

    I wish my kids were involved in a singing group from a young age (before they got otherwise too busy). So many people do this thru church, but our young kids singing program fizzled when my kids were there. My kids always were and still are so very happy when they are singing!! A family tradition, started by my kids is to sing Xmas songs in the car during the whole 4 plus hour drive to Grandma's at Xmas time.

    I wish both my kids could have started on a small (portable) instrument first (or at the same time) for at least 2 years. I carried my flute everywhere, especially hiking and backpacking in my younger days. When my son started on clarinet, he marched around the house playing it having so much fun, but the sax and piano weren't the same thing as far as portability. I recommend starting young kids on ukuleles. Maybe if you could get serious harmonica lessons...!

    When the kids are proficient at playing, make sure they get taught the various music styles on their instrument. This can be hard to find in one teacher and even at all! Also, put on varying styles of music when everyone is around to hear. If they are interested enough, they should be able to pick up some music styles on their own. "Unfortunately", my kids were reading every spare minute, even in the car and in the pool! Yes, we put in a pool, and the first thing they did was lay on floaties reading in the pool!!!! A funny story is that everyone that visited with kids had to scream and yell and fight with their kids to get out of the pool. I would go outside by the pool and yell, "Let's go to McKay's" (the local used book store). My kids would scream hooray and come running out of the pool. My neighbor told me we are the crazy family. I don't think I could have yelled , let's go to the symphony or let's practice now.  There's something to think about.

    This can be impossible if you don't play yourself, but play music with your kids. It is such special family time! Otherwise, organize an ensemble so they are playing with other kids. I really can't recommend starting orchestra at a young age. I thought that it would be cute and social, and it is. However if your young child is very bright and very capable, it can be a political nightmare (much more than a learning experience). Get several capable students together, and have the parents pitch in for a private group instructor/conductor.

    Teach kids that they can give music shows as gifts to parents and other family, and teach them that they can use their performances as fundraisers for causes. We had some grand times with fundraising opportunities.

    My newest thought, only recently renewing my own music enthusiasm - I mean real serious enthusiasm, is seeing if the kids can sit among symphony (or band members) during concerts with or without instruments. It is so thrilling to be among and surrounded by the sound of all the instruments. Many symphonies have intimate outreach performances with small performance groups in bookstores or libraries. Perhaps you can suggest kids sitting right next to the performers during performance!

    Please note a previous blog on raising  musical children in interview with Annie Dupre from the fabulous Annie Moses Band ===>>Click here for Interview

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  • Karen Fitchpatrick Cool Guitar Purse - Un No. 19

    Xmas Gifts for Music Lovers - - We Met at the Oak Ridge Coffee Concert Series



    Karen Fitchpatrick uses our Red Elegance Guitar Purse as her concert going purse - "A delighful design and the perfect size", she says.  Violettes considers these bags to be perfect Xmas Gifts for Music Lovers.

    I met Ms. Fitchpatrick toting the well loved Ruth Martin to an Oak Ridge (Tennessee) Coffee Concert, another of the Knoxville area best kept "other music city" secrets. I believe the thrilling Soiree Winds performed at that concert. I am not joking - it was a thrill to hear their music, finally! Several months later, I was introduced to Ms. FP again by Bob Grimac at Ruth's Memorial Service. She said she bought a purse from me, so I set up an interview to meet this very cool (guitar purse) lady.

    Ms. Fitchpatrick taught Spanish and Biology at Clinton High School for 32 years, then worked for 13 years for the Migrant Head Start Program. This was a program for the  ages 6 months thru 5 year old children of field workers in farm areas of Tennessee. She was a family service coordinator "helping to keep the children from having to spend all day rolling in tobacco leaves". The children usually help parents in the fields. For babies, they make shade from plants or leave them in the car. The real problem comes if there is a federal inspection.  Children are not allowed in fields, and it might mean a fine for the grower. While working for the Head Start Program, she started also teaching non-credit Spanish Classes at UT night school. She generally had 2 1/2 classes filled. So she taught the half class spill overs at home.

    Violettes asks:  How did you learn Spanish so well?

    Ms. FP says she went to Oak Ridge High School. Previously, students went overseas for 6 month exchange programs, but it was changed to one year when she applied. Many students applied! Options were to go to Europe, Japan and South America. Out of all these brilliant people in the Oak Ridge High School, she was the only one accepted, because everyone wanted to go to Europe! She had applied to go to Argentina in 1963.

    Xmas gifts for Music Lovers, Guitar Purse, gifts for guitar Players Ms. Karen Fitchpatrick was a delight to talk with. We could easily talk for another hour.

    Violettes asks:  Was Oak Ridge High the high level elite school that it is today?

    Ms. FP says even more so. She thought that she was not very smart until she got to college and could do very well in biology. Everyone in Oak Ridge High School got 800's on their SAT, and she had compared herself with those high school students.

    Violettes asks:  What are you doing now, and have you made it back to any Spanish speaking countries?

    Ms. FP says she has volunteered places where they need Spanish translation. There is a lot of need at Lonsdale Elementary School in Knoxville, TN. There are so many activities there when parents come in and can't speak English. Fifty percent of those students are from Guatemala, and 20 percent are from Burundi. I am astonished to hear this. I had no idea!

    Ms. FP Volunteers at "Ladies of Charity" where they provide emergency food and clothing to anyone needing them. They also have a big need for her Spanish skills.

    Ms. FP loves helping people with their language barriers. It is a special way to get to know people, and it feels good.

    Ms. FP has never made it back to visit any Spanish speaking countries.

    Violettes asks:  What next?

    Ms. FP says she likes to keep busy. She is considering applying to be a substitute teacher at Lonsdale Elementary School. That sounds like a match!!

    Xmas gifts for music lovers, gifts for guitar players, guitar purse Now you can win your own Xmas Gifts for Music Lovers or purchase now for us to have your custom purse prepared and shipped in time for Xmas.
  • Haley Cooper, Cool GUITAR PURSE - UN No. 9

    Singer-Artist, Haley Cooper is a Cool Guitar Purse - Un, See for Yourself!


    Haley owns our Brown Destiny Guitar Purse.

    Violettes: You teach for one of those Paint and Canvas Companies. This is a job working with people having fun!! What is the funnest and funniest part of this job.

    Haley: I enjoy teaching people to paint who have never picked up a brush before. They work

    Music Art, Guitar Purse Haley's Art

    very hard to get everything perfect which I totally understand because, well, I am a slight perfectionist! Haha! The best part is to watch someone overcome their left brain and embrace their right. To accept the mistakes that happen along the way. Because, creativity allows us to make mistakes and art is just knowing which ones to keep!

    The funniest pictures I've seen while teaching are when a girl brings her husband, boyfriend, or brother. He usually adds his own flare. Once a guy added a ship sinking the the ocean scene along with Godzilla and drowning people. My husband, Josh, has done the same type of thing when he has come to my classes.

    Violettes: I seem to have heard about you having crazy dogs!

    Music Art, Guitar Purse Haley's dogs look like stuffed animals!

    Haley:  Yes, I do have crazy dogs! Chief and Willow are both full Siberian Huskies and Atlas is a Lab/Malamute mix. Atlas, although the youngest, towers over the other two. My favorite crazy thing they do is when I make spaghetti. Although they can't have the sauce, I do save them a noodle and some ground beef to the side for a treat. Chief talks, more like yells, at me to give it to him. Once he brought me his empty bowl and when I didn't fill it with his Italian make-shift meal, he went into the living room to tell Josh I wasn't listening. Haha! Of course all my dogs play so rough with each other they sound

    Guitar Purse, Gift ideas for Music Lovers Haley and her dogs

    like they are going to kill each other. They love to trick one another outside then quickly grab the toy they wanted from the one that fell for the trick. They all have quite the personality.

    Violettes: You grew up singing and playing guitar in church, and playing in a band. That's how you met your husband. You are practically a newlywed. Do you have any fun stories about him finally noticing you and getting together? What is the toughest part of being a military wife? i know you must be proud. Is there a fun part of being a military wife?

    Guitar Purse, Gift ideas for Music Lovers Haley and her Band, Open Avenue - "We were in a band together in high school and he barely talked to me, even just as friends". (He's in the very back.)

     

    Haley:  My husband and I did meet in high school and were in a band together. But, we were not high school sweethearts. He was on his own crazy path at that time. He was a trouble maker in high school! Haha! When I was in college we also lead church worship for youth together along with our old band mates. As a group, we would go to late dinners after church on Wednesday nights - - that's where we started to grow our friendship which eventually ended up in us getting married. After my first full year of college, in June, Josh was heading off to Air Force basic training. Before he left he gave me a blue topaz necklace and told me that he would come back for me. Before that day we had never really discussed where it was headed nor did we vocalize we were in a official relationship. We both just knew that this is where God was taking us. Three months later, at basic graduation, Josh got down on one knee (in front of 900 grads and their families) and proposed. And that was that!

    The toughest part about being a military wife is the not knowing. Josh will probably never be deployed overseas, thankfully. (if he was he would be given a body guard and would stay out of the line of fire). But, his job requires high security so I can never know what is going on. So if I were to ask, "how was work?" He will say it was good. Maybe tell a joke he heard and that's all. Being away from family and friends is tough too. Thankfully, we are only five hours away but it sure is nice to be home and around people who truly love and support you. Making new friends is tough as an adult.

    A fun part about being a military wife is you get to see new places you'd probably never see or live in unless you were in the military. We have been to Monterey, CA. (cute, peaceful fisherman town), San Angelo, TX. (the middle of no where) and Augusta, GA. (land of the Masters). We have also seen and traveled through so many cities getting to these places.

    Haley sells Rodan & Fields skin care products at this LINK.
    Contact her with questions at: itsmehaleyc@gmail.com

    Click HERE

    Guitar Purse, Gift ideas for Music Lovers, Music Art Haley, so cool with her Guitar Purse!

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  • Biography of Becky C.

    A little of the back ground - I come from a musical family (I play flute), I raised a musical family and my Mother always donates to musicians on the street because she worries about her far away musical son not making enough money himself.

    I have always loved to give home made gifts, although in the many years raising children, I did not have the time. – Except, of course, to give teachers home made cookies for years and years. All of a sudden when my kids got their drivers licenses, I had a little extra time on my hands and in a period of two years, I made home made purses of various kinds for 8 friends and relatives. I learned every which way one could construct a purse. Then one day, I was walking thru the craft store and saw a button that looked like a violin chin rest. I said to myself, I MUST make a violin purse, and Voila (not viola or that too) - everyone loved it. I called up a very classy violinist, and asked her if she liked my purse, as I am thinking of making them to sell on Etsy. (Then when she actually took the time to come over I felt kind of embarrassed because you don’t need a PhD violinist from Juilliard to judge a purse – but this woman is so classy and I wanted classy people to want my purse). She loved it so much, she said “I need this” and asked to buy one. I made her my product representative, and gave her one to test out. She made some practical changes so she could use it as a caddy to hold her violin strings, tuner and other musical paraphernalia. She brought it to symphony and hung it in her studio. She did not try to sell it, but absolutely every one that saw it loved it and asked where she got it. It has taken many many months to develop my Violettes so that they are both more functional and more practical to produce than the very first one. I have a Masters degree in Engineering from Cornell University, so I have been trained to solve problems. I am an outside the box thinker, and too outside the box for some, but it works for this field.

    The violinist kept asking me to make the purse bigger and bigger. It got big enough that a professional cellist wanted to buy one. (All the cellists that wanted my purse preferred the violin rather than cello purses because of the extra bling, such as the beautiful chin rests made out of many different kinds of buttons and pins). This cellist loaded the purse so full that it kept falling off of the music stand. So I developed the biggest ones to hang from a symphony style chair and have a clip to loop around the leg of the chair, such that it won’t swing when reaching into it with one hand.

     

    Meanwhile I sold my hand made ones here and there. And I kept developing new ones. My mother asked me to make little ones for “Suzuki children”. My daughter went to a violin clinic when she was little, and the somewhat famous instructor asked her to “love your violin” as is needed to turn the notes into “music”. If little girls have cute little violin purses that hold rosin and their pencil, it might help them love their violins. I have made a number of the minis. The minis are also great for adults as small night purses. And, they are nice as little fanny packs.

     

    After being a stay at home Mom and volunteering at schools for so many years – it is so much fun to create and learn about the fabric industry.  I have to thank my amazing husband for his support. I also have to thank Chuck Christiansen from the Knoxville SCORE for his support. And to have a business excuse to travel to concerts is a great kind of a job! I love my Violette – I carry it everywhere.

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