Music Gifts

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

    More Amazing Phenomenal Students ---

    How do You Supplement Your Child's Education? 

    Gifts for Our Children

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

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

    Two phenomenal composition students. Congratulations!!!

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

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

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

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


    music teacher gifts Youngest entry, age 13

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

    Piano Composition by Alexis, "Koi Fish"


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

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




  • Sisters Win Violettes by Becky Youth Competitions

    2017 Annual Violettes by Becky

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


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


    Violettes by Becky Youth Composition Competition Senior Division -

    Youth Competition Winner

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

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


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

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

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

    Trumpet Players: Paul Brody on Adam Stinga



    "Eight Countries, Six Languages, Two Trumpet Players, One Band"


    In 2013 Adam Stinga, one of the greatest trumpet soloists of our generation, was told by doctors of the Republic of Moldavia that he would survive his lung cancer but never perform again. Less then a year later, I was standing next to Adam on stage in Warsaw with the band the brought us the together as a trumpet section, Alan Bern’s The Other Europeans.

    The story of Adam’s treatment and recovery parallels the story of our band, individuals from different cultures working together to find a common language.

    The Other Europeans is a fourteen piece group consisting of some of the most accomplished Klezmer and Roma musicians today. (Roma is the correct word for people often mistakenly called Gypsies.) We explore the intersection of two kinds of music that shared a rich cultural exchange before they were almost destroyed by war, the Holocaust, and immigration. We are from eight different countries, share no single language, and our rehearsals bounce among Russian, Romanian, Hungarian, German. English and French.

    Enjoy an introduction to their sound in this video. Trumpet Players Paul Brody (left) and Adam Stinga (right) stand side by side.


    With the help of the manager of a German pop star who heard the band play at Yiddish Summer Weimar, Alan Bern found one of the world’s leading lung cancer surgeons, an Albanian doctor based in Germany, and brought Adam in for an examination. Instead of removing an entire lung, the surgeon would use a technique he developed which involves removing only a small part of Adam’s lung and reconstructing that with Adam’s own tissue. The doctor agreed to work for a minimal cost and invited his best team, which consisted of an Egyptian anesthesiologist and Turkish nurses. Adam’s Moldavian insurance wouldn’t pay treatment out of the country so Alan Bern set up an online fundraising campaign, prompting musicians from all over the world to give concerts and solicit donations.

    I used to play more quietly than Adam out of admiration, shy respect. Now I play softly out of joy. Like watching the path of a humming bird flying though tree branches, my ear follows his Moldavian embellishments winding through melodies. Maybe he takes a few more breaths between phrases than before his operation, but I still have the feeling that every note from his silver horn is music history in the making.

    My listening has changed entirely with the realization that this sound could have disappeared from our group, and what put Adam back on stage with The Other Europeans strangely mirrors the band itself: crossing country borders despite difficulties, an improbable array of culturally diverse people working together, every one of whom would have been considered a ‘non-person’ just two generations ago in Germany.

    What Clark Terry is to jazz and Maurice Andre is to classical, Adam Stinga is to Roma music. And while carrying a trumpet on one’s back is a fairly light endeavor, the tradition that we represent while playing, from how we climb a scale and trill to the very sound coming from our breath is a full world. Despite the surge in popularity in Balkan brass bands and Roma music, there is still much to discover by listening to Adam Stinga. (

    Paul Brody

    Trumpet Players, Paul Brody Paul Brody Author, one of Trumpet Players in "The Other Europeans"


    trumpet Players, Music Gifts Paul Brody, Adam Stinga Trumpet Players, Paul Brody (right) writes about Adam Stinga (left).       Photo by Pawel Mazur (Concert in Krakow)


    Another Musician story - brought to you by Violettes by Becky. Please check out our Gifts for Music Lovers and buy some.


  • Ten Reasons why Gift Ideas for Men are at Guitars for Girls and Women, Violins for teens and professional musicians, and Grand Pianos for Mom!

     Gift Ideas for Men
    Gift ideas for Men at

    Ten reasons why Gift Ideas for Men are at

    1. Many men come to Violettes for gift ideas, as the hand-painted guitars for girls and women are a unique music gift that can't be found anywhere else. They want the best for their daughters and grand daughters!

    2. Find Gift ideas for Men at Violettes because we have taken special orders to produce his and hers paintings on the  guitar bags, as men wear over the shoulders bags now a days.

    3. Violettes are a fashion statement for music lovers. They are wearable art. You'r buying both a purse fashion accessory and art work!

    4. Violettes are practical, especially the Violin Bags, which are specifically designed for violin and cello players to fit strings, tuner, rosin, glasses, cough drops.. and come with a small leather wallet and many pockets! Many professional musicians own them and use them. We now have black leather violin bags suitable for men!

    5. All the Violettes music gifts are conversation starters. If grandma is itching for people to ask he about her special little musicians, She can carry these with her pills and cell phone everywhere she goes.
    6. Music teachers get tired of all the chocolates and sweets because they get muffin tops too! What a special change in pace Violettes music gifts are!

    7. Don't forget the hard working church musicians and music director at holiday time!

    8. makes great gift ideas for men because women often don't want to spend the money on themselves. These are unique extras for  holiday gifts!

    9. Support a new small business that gives back to the community with our breast cancer foundation gifts and our gifts that donate to the Joy of Music in Knoxville, TN. Support a new small business that is encouraging music for youth thru our competition competition.

    10. More gift ideas for men include filling the bags with goodies! You can request this thru Violettes contact us. Also, you can order music chocolates, jewelry and a few music accessories thru

  • Music Gifts - In the News Again presenting

    Music Gifts - Ideas from in the News

    music gifts Music Gifts for giving. Becky with her guitar purse at son's graduation.

    "Noteworthy Purses" is what the San Leandro Times Nov. 7, 2013 California newspaper names our products.  Violettes by Becky makes a Guitar Purse, a Piano Purse and even a Violin Purse  to match everyone's taste. The are great gift ideas for music lovers and can double as gig bags to hold spare strings, rosin , picks... WE sell the Guitar Gig bags as Man Bags with initials. Ask us about our music Gifts for Him. We love requests!

    Click Here to See the Article

    Again, it's like the telephone game. Even more errors than before, but the main story works and press is important!

    UPDATE: Note we have so many more music gifts now - handcrafted leather wallets, personalized quilt plaques to give instead of another conductor baton, leather violin bag

    Go to our HOMEPAGE to find giving ideas.

  • Looking forward to Holiday Music with the Family

    Holidays are approaching quickly. Becky C. is now an "empty nester". I look forward to gathering with my 2 children to play holiday music with me in northern California at Grandma Chaffee's house. We fly across the country and drive for almost 5 hours to a little logging town just south of Eureka, California. Sometimes we perform a surprise Xmas service at grandmas's tiny little church in Rio Del.

    Holiday Music: We have some standard arrangements, but am desperately looking for beautiful trios to enjoy. Maybe even some Olde English music? Please give us ideas. Thanks. Holiday Music

    Before my daughter left for college, we played a Xmas music selection for my husband's company holiday party. Now, several years later, we are still playing the same holiday music we arranged for that affair. I would love to have some new arrangements for violin, flute and keyboard Xmas trios! Please contact me if you know of something for us.


    Please Purchase Music in the footer of the Violettes blog. We are able to donate 8% to You Music Causes.

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