Violettes By Becky
Music Fundraiser for Public Schools
Contact Becky at RMChaffee1@comcast.net
Our Knoxville Music Fundraiser information is below. Note that Oak Ridge and Maryville Schools are welcome to participate. Represent your own school with your purchases, or pick a "buddy"school. Teachers are welcome to email us at RMChaffee1@comcast.net for wish list requests that you might want purchased for your class. I suppose private music teachers can do this too! Let your students know.
Jewelry (some music-themed) made by Becky especially for the fundraiser will also be available. See sample photo on our ==>>> facebook event page <<<==. Open first post to see jewelry sampling.
Music FUNDRAISER for Knox County School Music Department
• Come on out to purchase fun greeting cards, matted prints or posters.
• 50% of profit will go to each Knox County School Music Dept. (Schools that are well off are encouraged to choose a “buddy school” to represent).
Non-specified and Corporate donations will be given to the Knox Co. Music Department Admin. to use where most needed. At this time, $1,000 has been donated.
If everyone purchases just one card for $2.50, we can raise money.
Violettes by Becky creates witty whimsical music-themed cards and prints great for music teacher’s walls, dorm, music or children’s rooms. Purchase early Holiday gifts. Hand written greetings are a lost art!
Finally a GULTEN-FREE school fundraiser with NO Calories!!! Except for the FREE DONUTS!
Many of the prints are based on serious and humorous music practice tips for instruments, voice, playing in a band or orchestra… Others are just fun prints. Over 100 designs to choose from.
Random drawings of art supply give-aways donated by Office Depot.
Free Krispy Crème donuts for buyers at each location while they last.
Three SATURDAY dates and locations to choose from:
1. Sat. Aug. 12, 9AM to Noon, Farragut Farmers Market, 12740 Kingston Pike
2. Sat. Aug. 19, Noon to 5PM at Knoxville Soap, Candle & Gifts - 5201 Kingston Pike (Bearden)
3. Sat. Aug. 26 Downtown, 9AM to 5PM, 17 Market Square - Entrepreneur Center (near Tupelo Honey across from Tomato Head)
· Teachers wish lists available at event locations.
· Violettes by Becky will donate 20% of other sales - jewelry, purses, T-shirts…
View complete set of designs available for purchase at ViolettesbyBecky.com in the “other music gifts/note card” section. Large prints of any of the designs are available.
· Rain alternative announced on Violettes by Becky.com blog if necessary.
Request a copy of event flyer to be emailed to you , write RMChaffee1@comcast.net
Violettes by Becky Music Lesson Prints and Greeting Cards
Catalog of Available Music Lesson Prints for Reference
Contact Becky at RMChaffee1@Comcast.net
Because we are having a fundraiser for Knox County Schools Music Department, below is a reference to all our original music lesson art available as Note Cards and 11 by 17 or 16 by 24 prints. Don't forget we LOVE requests. Don't hesitate to email or call with questions. (RMChaffee1@comcast.net)
Before we start, I will show several of our currently popular prints. Please note that what is popular is tied to what audience we are dealing with - general public, music lovers, music genre, students or parents, piano teachers, general music teachers...
Also note that many musicians, most local, but not all have contributed to this list. Most of contributors listed at end.
General Instrument Practice Tips
No. 2: Warm Up with Long Tones.
No. 3: Practice with the Metronome.
No. 5: Warm Up with Scales and Arpeggios.
No. 6: Love Your Axe.
No. 8 Just Do It.
No. 9: Play Music You Love (Used to be No. 10)
No. 10: Train Your Ear
- With Intentional Listening
- Mimic (or Copy Cat) what You Hear.
- Play It in Different Keys
No. 11: Record Yourself.
No. 13: Practice Backwards
For a difficult passage, start with the end of the phrase and add previous note, one at a time.
No. 14: Sleep On It.
No. 15: Listen to Yourself for Tone and Intention
-Know what makes your tone.
-Know which notes on your instrument are sharp or flat and how to adjust.
Perhaps reshape your embouchure, change your wind speed or finger pressure (depending on your instrument); even learn alternate fingerings.
No. 16: Mindful repetition is more effective than mindless repetition. Leave a small space between repeated phrases. Set your intention before you play. Submitted by cellist Alicia Randisi-Hooker.
No. 17: For Flute Players
Space in the Face (Attributed to Jill Bartine)
Don’t be sharp on high notes:
Aim the airstream to the floor. Drop jaw, open teeth, and open the mouth cavity as much as possible.
Practice Tip No. 18: Practice BEFORE Performing in Public Places (not While)
- Xmas Practice Tip: Hoard Cookies Before Practicing.
- Chanukah: Practice Because Your Mother Tells You To, Oy Vey!
Practice Tip 22: Express Yourself (Wild West)
Practice Tip No. 24 Resolve Your Blues In the Final Four Bars
Practice Tip No. 25: Relax – Piano Teachers say “Drop Your Shoulders”, relax arms wrists, fingers. But if thumbs or wrists droop, watch out for alligator bites!
Other Instruments: Recognize body stress points – shake out muscles when they tense, hold instrument ergonomically; perhaps learn yoga or meditation.
Practice Tip No. 26: More Cowbell
Music Lesson No. 27: Practice Makes Permanent, Practice Perfectly
28: Push Music Phrases Like Spreading Frosting – continuous…
Music Lesson No. 29 Bone Tone Tah, Too, Toh, Not Tuh (says 27, change to 29)
Music Lesson 30 Shape Your Phrases: Interpret Phrases and shape Them.
(ML 31 Flute angel below in excuses)
ML 32: Set Practice Time Goals (from Mary Ann Fennel)
ML 33: Revert to the Masters
ML 34 (Below in excuses)
ML 34 Excuse No. 12 “My Grandmother Died Dyed.”
ML 35 Excuse No. 2 “I should have practiced scales!” (from Stacy Nickell)
ML 36 Excuse No. 11 “My Mother Drained the Bacon on it.” (from Brenda Goslee)
ML 37 Excuse No. 3: “My Mother Forgot it.”
ML 38 Excuse No. 4: “I didn’t Practice because my Father was sleeping.”
ML 39 Excuse No. 5: “I tried to practice. My brother was playing video games.”
ML 40 Excuse No. 2: “I did practice. I practiced in Virtual Reality”.
ML 41: Trumpet Lip Slurs: Keep the air constantly flowing. Change speeds, but the flow must never stop. Always produce the most beautiful sound that you can create.
Orchestra Playing Tip No. 1: Put Your Ears out on Stalks
Orchestra Tip No. 2: After an erroneous note, DO NOT make a face. It’s best to make it obvious that it came from your neighbor.
Orchestra Tip No. 3: Listen to recordings and live performances of your orchestra music. Notice how your part fits and blends with other parts. Color me Card
Orchestra Tip No. 4: Be Ready to Play when the Conductor Lifts the Baton
Orchestra Tip No. 5: Play for the team. Always be mindful that you’re part of a collective sound. Never try to stick out. Listen to the players around you and blend in terms of sound and intonation.
- From New York Musician and Education, Timothy Judd
Orchestra Tip No. 6: Only Leave Your Cell Phone on if its in the Right Key.
Orchestra Tip No. 7: Feel the Rhythm. Don’t Rush Fast Passages - Note subdivisions within main beats. Metronomes are good. Metronomes are fun.
Orchestra Tip No. 8: Practice as if You are Performing. (Every note should have good tone, dynamics and phrasing.)
Adult Practice Tip Series (currently sold separately)
Pick Banjos, Not Fights
Crazy for Dulcimers
Brown beer guitar cards: “Have Foam with Your Music”
Blue Beer Bass Guitar: “ Resolve Your Blues in the Final Four Bars”.
Winolin: When You just Need to Unwind (with Saint-Saens Syrahpy Red).
Winolin 2: “How does a Violin Player Pour Wine?” (Sarasate Red Zigeunfandel, made from Gypsy Wine)
Seize the Opportunity to Play, "Gift Set" of 8 cards (plus several extra available):
Watch out for the “Bana..” Banana in Bassoon on elephant
Rain Song Gone Awry
Chickens Chillin' with Chopsticks
Play and Bear It
Additional Seize Opportunity:
Mockingbird Air Guitar
- Sing with Resonance (1A).
- Sing with Resonance (1B).
- Sing with Joy (adult)
- Sing with Joy (children)
- Know Your Range.
- Break a Lip.
- Send Your Voice to the Back Wall.
- Relax and Plant Your Feet Solidly.
- Use a Natural Volume when Singing Just Like Speaking.
- Sing songs “on the Vowel” –maintain the vowel as long as possible and just touch the consonant.
- Find a comfortable vowel to vocalize on, and sing a simple song on a vowel that makes your voice feel good….
- Try to comfortably expand your ribs from the back of the sides. Keep shoulders and abs relaxed. Think “No work”.
- Medleys have a lot of Tempo Changes. Be Prepared for them.
- Play Musically, Not Mechanically
- When Caught in a Whirlwind of Notes, Don’t overlook Dynamics.
- Know who has the Melody and Play under the Melody unless it is You.
- When Playing Fast Rhythmic and/or Syncopated Music, take extra care to hit Notes Precisely on Time.
- Interpret Phrased and give them Shape.
- Keeping in Tune is Key
- Familiarize Yourself with all Parts.
- Communicate with Your Audience (Verbally or/and Nonverbally) in progress.
- Communicate with fellow musicians.
For Elementary School Teachers (this is a link) - IN Progress
- Criss-Cross Applesauce.
- For Recorder – “Use Your Paws, Not Your Claws” from Sarah Davis
- “Put the Beat in Your Feet” from Tracy Doty Ward
Also see “Voice Tip” Series
Music is the food of Love Series:
- Music is the Food of Love, Feed Your Puppy 2
- Music is the Food of Love, Feed Your Friends- “If its lentil soup, we’ll have bass.”
Flutist Yogini Series
Flutist Yogini 2 – Downward facing Dog
Just Do It Series
Just Do It 2 Ukulele Moon Cats
Asian Instruments (10 cards)
- Catchamouse Tango
- “Raising Cool Cats”
- “Times, They-are–a–Changing”
- “What does a Cat Sing in the Shower?”
- “Stayin’ Awake”
- ”You Can’t Teach an Old Dog New Tricks, But You Can Teach Him New Songs.”
Many, but not all folks who contributed are listed here:
Jill Bartine, Flautist, Knoxville Symphony Orchestra (KSO)
Judy Bartine, Flordia Voice Teacher (Jill's Mother-in-Law)
Robert Bonham, Maryville Piano Professor Emeritus, Trillium Trio
Paul Brody, Composer, Trumpet Player, Writer, Berlin
Sarah Davis, Retired Knox County General Music Teacher
Mary Ann Fennel, Violinist, KSO
Brenda Goslee, Piano and Organ teacher
Denise Griffin, Amazing Brainstorming Non-musician Friend
Kelle Jolly, Knoxville Jazz Singer
Ian McClure, Colorful Cellist
Stacy Nickell, Cellist, KSO
Alicia Randisi-Hooker, Cellist, Trillium Trio
Pam Robertson, Composer and Piano Accompanist
Susan Shor, Violist, Oak Ridge Symphony
Tracy Ward, Sequoyah Elementary School Music Specialist
Sandy Wells, Tennessee Valley Ensemble Band Conductor
(and a couple teachers I met at state music teacher convention)
Style - Solving Problems While Making a Violin Purse
Making Rachel's Violin Purse was a long process with many construction problems to solve. This record of the construction will remind me not to make the same mistakes in the future. Because she wants the purse as an everyday purse and to hang from her wrist, there were new challenges. The fabric must be ultra sturdy. It was my choice to use a thin leather. I don't have a professional leather machine. If I were to get more orders like this, I might hire a professional with a leather machine to sew parts of the bag. It was a joy that her favorite color is purple! I couldn't meet her request for sequence around the edge of the purse, so I hope she likes bling!
Please excuse the lengthy videos. I edited them a little, but the whole while I was holding my cell phone in my hand to video myself!!! And I am a relatively quiet person, not used to all the talking, especially when I stayed up most of the night many times (had little sleep) working on the Violet Violettes Violin Bag.
Thanks for watching.
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) :
1st Place for Senior Composition Competition:
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 Violinist.com 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:
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:
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
Music Teachers Love Them
The prints make great posters for offices, and the greeting cards are blank inside and great for sending notes to students. The sets make fun gifts.
I, Becky, have been painting whimsical illustrations of tips for practicing musical instruments, and for playing in a band or orchestra, and more. Not only that, but I love requests for tips. If I use your request, I'll send you free greeting cards when the project is complete.
I have only just begun to create videos to show the prints available. Please let us know what you think, and whether you are a music teachers, music student or other.
There are many more to come. The video below might need to be slowed down al little, which you can do yourself. (Ask us how if you need help).
Peruse all cards and purchase HERE. Feel free to contact us with any questions.
If you know music teachers that would like these, we can give a discount for large orders to teachers. In addition the cards and prints are great for music department fundraising. Contact us at RMChaffee1@comcast.com for fundraising opportunites.
Practice Tip Cards are Hit with Music Teachers
Definition of Palooza is: "an all-out crazy party; partying at one place with a ton of people like there's no tomorrow."
That's what Violettes by Becky has been so quietly doing. One year ago, I started painting music themed art. People loved it. Even more, they loved when I put titles to the art. It turned into over 50 Greeting Cards , posters and even a coloring book in one year. The cards mostly illustrate music practice tips. But the sets of eight cards expanded as I received requests.
So, currently in addition to getting 8 of the same cards in a set (as in number 1 below), the following sets are available:
1. Whimsical with humorous or serious "PRACTICE TIPS" on the backs. (We take requests).
2. "Seize the Opportunity to Play" (best gift with people playing in interesting places - subtitle on back)
3. Asian collection (A set of 10 cards with instruments from 10 different Asian countries, and description on back)
4. Appalachian Assortment
5. Beer-Guitar (Adult Tips "Have Foam with Your Music") and Banjo Moonshine Designs.
6. Tips for Playing in an Orchestra
7. In Progress - Voice Tips
All cards can be purchased as 11 by 17 or 16 by 20 inch posters at the link below.
If you have any requests or questions, do not hesitate to email RMChaffee1@comcast.net or call 865/850-9220.
We have been attending new kinds of events, and have learned that music teachers and
Grandmothers of young musicians are the biggest clients. Recently I attended the ETSBOA, the East Tennessee School Band and Orchestra Association. Folks love the cards and posters with cats and dogs so much. One gentleman came up to my vendor table and said, I am a dog person. What dog cards do you have?
Now we are creating a "Musical Pet Series". So stay tuned.
Future Violettes by Becky vending events:
Turkey Creek, Knoxville Hallmark store will be holding an event featuring Violettes very soon.
- Feb. 25 Relix Theatre, Wild Women Don't Have the Blues
- March 3 at Sherrill Hills Retirement Home from Noon to 3PM
- April 5 and 6, Nashville, Tennessee Music Teachers Association (TMTA) State Convention
Please visit our Music Teacher Cat - A - Palooza today.
Election Blues or Winter Comfort Food while You Shop for Music Art
Have the election blues? Need winter Comfort Food? This is my story of cooking a gourmet dish for no one. ====> A dish "To Die For".One of my claims to fame is, people come to me for recipes for special occasions. I had planned to make a dish with butternut squash for 3 weeks, but couldn't get interested in peeling and chopping the hard squash. One night I finally did it!! My husband didn't come home until long after dark. While I was waiting for him, I snacked on a LOT of things, and so I wasn't hungry anymore. He said he had dinner at the golf tournament, and he thought that he'd told me. My 91 year old mother who lives with us just had 3 teeth pulled at the dentist; she was on a soup and ice cream diet.But this recipe which I will share with you is "To Die For"! And we couldn't get enough of it even though none of us was hungry.
First : RECIPE NOTES1. I didn't have lemons on hand, so I subsituted Limes - I will always make it with lime!!!!2. I recommend using TWO Butternut Squash! It wasn't all that painful after all. And this time of year, you can find them already peeled and cut if you can't face the task.3. If you need your meat, it's great with cooked sausage pieces._____________________________________So Voila----------------------------------
NEW: our Music Tip Coloring Book (with free shipping)
Violettes by Becky Presents
our 4rth Annual Youth Composition Competition & Songwriter Contest
Register now HERE. There is a $15 entry fee**. Send Score and MP-3 or You tube by Feb. 14, 2017 to RMChaffee1@comcast.net. (Registration after Dec. 31 goes up to $20) Note that you can register by paying early, but submit entry on Feb. deadline. Thank you.
There are separate categories for composition and songwriter entries. Each is divided into 2 age levels for judging and prizes. Thanks to sponsors Violettes by Becky for Gig bags and Cash, Board Member Bennye St. Claire for obtaining Songwriter Grand Prize TBA, Performers Music and Sheet Music Plus for Sheet Music Gift Certificates for prize donations. Thanks to all volunteer judges!
Bios for Composition and Songwriter Judges can be found HERE.
Judging Criteria for both Composition and Songwriter entries posted at bottom of this page.
Composition Theme: Being Me Now!
A song is sometimes the melody, sometimes the lyrics and sometimes the heart. However your song comes thru, let it fly. Share your reflections and introspection.
1. Entries must be amateur composers/songwriters who are ages 10 thru 18 on Feb. 14, 2017. For judging, Junior Division will be ages 10 thru 14 and, Senior Division will be ages 15 thru 18. (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 songs 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. Top 30 entries in each division will be judged by two independent professional musicians. Students of judges may not enter. (In the case of over 30 entries in a division, Violettes will use a committee to choose the top 30). Each student in top 30 will receive at least one feedback critique from judges.
6. Register to enter by Feb. 14, 2017. Registration after Dec. 31, 2016 goes up to $20. You can register and pay early, then send entry on deadline.
7. Compositions/Songs are due by February 14, 2017. Submit to Violettes "Contact us" email or RMChaffee1@comcast.net.
8. Winners will be announced on April 15, 2017.
9. Registering for the competition means that you agree that your work is original and that you hold all rights to the composition/song.
10. Entry constitutes permission to use winner's names, likenesses, and voices for future advertising and publicity purposes without additional compensation.
11. Submission constitutes entrant's agreement to release, indemnify and hold harmless Violettes 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.
12. 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, "ViolettesbyBecky.com, Gifts for Music Lovers" in the press release for the generous competition.
**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 Violettes Newsletter.
Prizes for Composition & Songwriter Competition
Please try to patronize our wonderful sponsors.
* We especially thank our new Board Member, Bennye St. Claire who helped obtain songwriting judges and who is securing songwriter grand prize.
Bennye J. St.Claire - President - Texas Universal Management has been in the country music industry since 1976. He has worked with such artists as The Oak Ridge Boys, Eddie Raven, Gena Roberts-Hamilton (Country Gospel Singer), Gayla Earline (Gospel Singer), and others too many to mention. He has managed several up and coming vocalists. He also acts as a booking agent for South Bound Train, The Jason Helms Band, T.Kaye and Sweetfire and others.
Violettes by Becky is a creative company hiring visual artists and serving youth music programs. We sell musical-instrument-shaped purses and gig bags. Please support our work. Violin, Guitar and Piano and Ukulele Purses are unique gifts from www.ViolettesbyBecky.com. Fill them with concert tickets...Violin, Piano, Guitar and Ukulele Purses or Gig Bags make Awesome Gifts!
- Judging Criteria for the Compositions will include up to 5 points assigned to each of the following 3 categories: 1. Originality/Creativity, 2. Technical Proficiency 3. Orchestration and Overall Effectiveness
(Note that the majority of entries are entered on just one instrument).
- Judging Criteria for the Songwriter Competition
will include up to 5 points assigned to each of the following categories:
1. Emotional Impact, 2. Individuality and Creativity, 3. Meaningful Lyrics, 4. Melody
Points will be deducted for going over the 5 minute time limit for each entry.
An Outstanding Violin Teacher in Knoxville
We are lucky to have violin teachers as fine as Dr. Susan Eddlemon in Knoxville, TN. Dr. Eddlemon holds the distinction of being the first woman to graduate from the Julliard School of Music with a Doctorate Degree of Musical Arts in violin performance. Her studio is probably the most up to date in the area with high tech capabilities to assist in teaching students!
If you are dedicated and looking for a violin teacher who will give you a workout and lift you to your playing height, check out Dr. Eddlemon’s studio. I would know, my daughter took lessons with this amazing teacher and I highly recommend her! -----------------------------------------------(Contact info: 865/ 617-3804; email@example.com)
Dr. Eddlemon hails from Ohio. She met her husband at Juilliard, and has lived in Knoxville for 26 years near her husband’s family. She currently performs with the Oak Ridge Symphony, Knoxville Symphony, Bryan Symphony, Kingsport Symphony, and Johnson City Symphony. She is the violinist for the Isotone Concerts and the Cumberland Piano Trio performing in our area of East Tennessee and Southeast U.S. She maintains a private studio for teaching and rehearsing. Prior to life in East Tennessee, Susan and her husband lived in Canada, where she served as Associate Concertmaster for the Victoria, B.C. Symphony, the Calgary Philharmonic, and the Saskatoon Symphony. From 1986 through 1990 she recorded and played throughout western Canada with the chamber group Music Mosaic.
1. Violettes by Becky: You introduced my daughter to many new techniques, expressing them in new ways. Perhaps, some of it was my daughter’s age and readiness level, but not all of it. You had her hold ping pong balls on her violin while playing to improve her overall posture; you loosened her stiff posture, helping her to move with her violin… And just as importantly, you pushed me out of the studio so that playing became her own. (Our background was Suzuki violin lessons, and I started learning violin right alongside my 4 year old).
Jenna’s music reading level was forced to improve, the way you occasionally left her with sections to finish learning on her own. In the beginning, switching to your teaching method was tough for my daughter, but well worth the effort for improvement. In addition, Posting an 8 X 10 photo of each student in your studio is just one way that you show you really care about each student. Students can feel the caring.
Do you think that you have techniques to offer that are not usually taught by other teachers? Do many students who come to you have areas they need to relearn?
Dr. Susan Eddlemon:
All of us have areas we need to relearn or at least revisit over the span of our playing years! I teach universally accepted principles of string playing using "string vocabulary" which combines what has been passed along to us by previous generations with terms in current usage. Young pre-college students learn these terms from me, along with words and terms I invent to respond to the individual student's need of the moment. Learning the names of various techniques is always part of any discipline.
2. Violettes by Becky: The technical level of your studio is phenomenal. You record piano accompaniments for a student’s piece at various speeds for them to take home for practice. You video your student right in your studio to play back for your student to listen and watch themselves during the lesson (just like they did at my son’s golf lessons)! You even record yourself playing a difficult passage in a teaching way for the student to bring home for practice. It’s been many years since I have listened to one of your lessons. What else along these lines do you do in your studio?
Dr. Susan Eddlemon:
I've been astonished at all the electronic tools we have that can help students reduce the time it takes to master violin playing. Violinists can benefit from regular self-recording as part of the practice routine.
My Clavinova has a metronome function which counts "aloud" in four different languages. Using this function helps the violin student just beginning to learn to play music at sight. Hearing the actual words, "One, Two, Three, Four" helps the student keep up the tempo and rhythms he is seeing on the page much better than just hearing an even "click" noise. It's too easy to lose track of how many "clicks" have gone by in a single measure while you're busy figuring out which finger or bowing to play next!
3. Violettes by Becky: You have several hobbies including walking, watching birds ,camping (not to mention all your grandchildren – your current main hobby). How did you decide to become a violinist? Are you still glad of the decision? Do you have any advice for young people trying to make this decision today?
Dr. Susan Eddlemon:
I inherit string playing from my mother's family (learning to play the violin runs in families sometimes!). Mom started me on violin when I was six years old; first because she played herself and second because we did not yet have a piano in our house (which she also played). If we'd had a piano, she would have begun teaching me from that instrument; but she was keen to get me started studying music early, and reckoned she didn't want to wait until whenever we could afford a piano ( which could have been several years).
Arriving at my junior year in high school and realizing I was expected to study something after graduation, the only two interesting options for me were either further violin study or language study. The second option did not appeal because I would have to continue sitting stationary behind a desk, reading and writing. Even as young as I was, I knew my body needed to move around quite a bit. One of my early ambitions was to become a cheerleader; but my Mom said I needed to choose only one after-school activity and master it. "Do one thing and do it well," she said, adding "That's what my Mom taught me!"
Best advice for young people making this decision: If you cannot imagine doing anything else but pursuing violin, by all means do it; but consider your other interests also. If you commit to violin performance and/or teaching, you will have to place all your resources (time, money, attention) to the study of it, for that is the only way to succeed in performance mastery. And to teach well (which is how many of us make or supplement our living) you really should be able to perform the music you are teaching. There are some parents who might say," Okay, study violin, but have something else to 'fall back on'." With the violin, you must go all in, you will not have time for "falling back." If you go with fallback plans, you may be almost certain that you will indeed "fall back" and never master the violin....so you are best to leave the violin as a career option.
4. Violettes by Becky: Do you have a favorite composer to teach or to play? Why?
Do you pick student pieces based on the student’s individual interest rather than following a book series? Jenna’ says Zigeunerweisen by Sarasate was such a good fit for her, as she loved playing it.
Dr. Susan Eddlemon:
Hearing a student name a piece of music she would like to study and play always encourages me as a teacher. If a student knows enough to ask about certain pieces, it shows that she has developed interest on her own, has been paying attention to music she is hearing around her or to certain friends who are playing this music. This is always much better than just proceeding on to the next piece in some particular book; especially if the desired music is not completely out of the student's technical range. It gives incentive to learn new techniques, vocabulary, and advance the student's musicality.
My favorite composer to play is J.S. Bach. As a senior violinist I find his unaccompanied Sonatas and Partitas my go-to material for daily practice when there isn't anything else currently demanding attention. There are still movements in that repertory which I have not yet even learned! His music continues to challenge just about every aspect of technique and musicality a violinist can face.
5. Violettes by Becky: I remember at one of your recitals, you explained who your students descend from, teacher-wise. It was fascinating. Can you explain that again?
Dr. Susan Eddlemon:
I remember that the line of student to master goes all the way back to Corelli, and through some French and German masters. I can remember that there were no Eastern European or Russian masters. But I cannot remember any particular names farther back than my teacher Joseph Fuchs's teacher Franz Kneisel. Kneisel was the first concertmaster of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
Now that I know how to use the Internet for such purpose, I'll have to look it up! But any professional violinist will proudly tell about his or her master teacher and the music school where they completed their studies. It continues to be a factor throughout professional life.
Presenting Our New York Music Competition Students
Our music competition finds New York. Three students from Veritas Academy High School In Flushing, New York entered the ViolettesbyBecky.com competition. For the second year, outstanding teacher Dr. Michael Eisenberg challenged his students to write a song for the competition. It gives them a goal, and he says entering a competition is an exciting challenge for them. Often, his class is their first introduction to music instruction.
This year, Violettes by Becky presented the 3 students who entered honorable mentions with certificates that were presented in a special ceremony with the school principals and personalized little prizes. In addition, we were able to collect $200 in donations for the teacher to use on classroom supplies. Dr. Eisenberg will use the funds for "guitar capos, for keyboard headsets and adaptors, for keyboard pedals, and for guitar amps and cables".
Next we present the students:
"I'm Melany and music is my life. It helped me through hard times and now I can't wait to evolve in the music world. My teacher Dr. Eisenberg has been a big help. And now I'm working really hard to improve my voice. My influence has always been Etta James. I'm so thankful for entering this competition. It encouraged me to keep going and keep writing. My dream is to tell my story one day through music."
"My name is Tiffany. I live in Queens, NY. Music has been a huge part of my life. Everyday I pretend as if I am performing for a sold-out show. One day that will be reality. This competition meant so much to me because it shows I have potential as a songwriter although it's so competitive. My goal is to become a singer-songwriter and philanthropist."
"My name is Jibril. I love music and it is something that I really enjoy. It is an important part of my life. This is something that I have been involved in since I was very young. In addition, I am an athlete but music is something that is something i would like to accomplish a lot in. However, I would like to become a lawyer. Thank you Violette's by Becky for supporting my exploring music and writing songs!"
Thank you students! Hope to see you next year!