High Tech Violin Lessons with Dr. Eddlemon

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; susan.eddlemon@gmail.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?

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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?

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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.

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