Welcome to the Miller Violin Studio

Hello and Welcome!

Lessons are offered on violin and piano to students of all ages and abilities. It is my goal to provide each student with a solid technical and musical foundation while helping him or her develop a meaningful relationship with music that will contribute to their future quality of life. Involvement in the studio gives students the opportunity to develop at their own pace during private lessons, interact and create beautiful music with their peers at group and studio classes, and build students’ self esteem through frequent positive performance opportunities.

This website is meant as a resource for current and prospective students and their parents.

Feel free to familiarize yourself with me, my teaching philosophy, and my studio policies. Reference the Studio tab regarding any scheduling or tuition inquiries as well as to find current group class listings, repertoire lists, and practice helps.

I look forward to working with you and your children.

Featured Post

Summer 2015 Week #1

Week #1

Violin Review List:

Mississippi Hot Dog Twinkle, Mississippi Mississippi Twinkle, Go Tell AR (happy and sad), Allegro, Etude, Happy Farmer, Hunter’s Chorus, Two Grenadiers, Minuet in G, Gavotte in G Minor, Bach Bourree

Violin Reading:

Cabbage Easy (Recording below): Fairfield Fiddle Farm Vol. 1 pg. 4

Cabbage Hard (Recording below): Fairfield Fiddle Farm Vol. 1 pg. 32-33; If

Violin and Piano

Rhythm Practice (Winning Rhythms): Pg 2, a-e; try to do the rest of the page by yourself. Keep a steady beat and keep counting!!!



Brahms’ Violin Concerto

Mozart Piano Concertos

Nurture Shock–Part 1

I know some of you have started reading our book Nurture Shock and I wanted to share a little bit of it with you. I hope you all can read it. It is great! If you haven’t found a copy of it yet you can order it here or I know the library has several copies of it.

In the first chapter “The Inverse Power of Praise” we read:

“The presumption is that if a child believes he’s smart (having been told so, repeatedly), he won’t be intimidated by new academic challenges. The constant praise is meant to be an angel on the shoulder, ensuring that children do not sell their talents short.

“But a growing body of research…strongly suggests it might be the other way around. Giving kids the label of “smart” does not prevent them from underperforming. It might actually be causing it.”

A bold statement! And one that I did not agree with originally. Bronson goes on to share the findings of a woman named Dr. Carol Dweck from her studies on praise. He talks about different kinds of praise. When praised for innate ability or talent, children react one way and when praised for effort, children react another. I find these studies fascinating. Another article about Dr. Dweck’s work can be found here.

Have any of you read this?

What are your thoughts?

Parent Education 1.5

There was an article in the New York Times titled “Is Music the Key to Success?” I encourage each of you to read it, Do you believe there is a connection?

This fits right in with our discussion on the Non-Musical Benefits of music study–providing us with prominent successful examples of playing an instrument. 

Parent Education 1.4

I received this email from another mom (who happens to be my mom…) and thought it was particularly appropriate with our recital coming up on Saturday:

In today’s fast-paced and over-wired world of Iphones, Ipads, computers, video games, etc. etc. we have become a society with very short attention spans. In addition we have become a society with heads buried in electronic devices, giving half attention or none at all to what is being said or to what is going on in real time in the real world.

Music education gives us as parents an opportunity to combat both of these problems. We want something more for our children and participation in music lessons as well as music appreciation can lead us in a better direction. We turn away from electronics when we practice the violin or piano. We turn away when we participate in group lessons and recitals. We sit still. We let the music (at every level) speak to us and fill us with delight. If children play with Ipads or other electronic gadgets (because parents think it is keeping them quiet and still) during recitals they are missing the opportunity to grow and mature. If parents overbook family activities so that it is necessary to rush in at the last minute or even worse, late, or leave right after their child performs, again they are missing the opportunity to grow and mature.

We must slow down. It is important for our children and it is important for us.

So we can add to our list:

How to pay attention
Being still
Appreciating the work/effort of others
Scheduling/recognizing when a schedule is too packed
Taking a time out to experience something beautiful

Parent Education 1.3

I want to share with you two of the parent responses I received to my question about the non-musical benefits of taking music lessons. Thanks for your replies!

Stephanie said:

“I think the non-musical benefits include learning to concentrate, gaining confidence, appreciating incremental success, developing respect for others and their talent.

I also think there are many benefits to parents besides listening to great music.  Along the way, I have gained some really valuable parenting perspective.  The band teacher at the middle school is particularly magical and he stressed how much kids need praise for what they get right.  He has some sort of formula for a praise to criticism ratio that has been good for me to remember along the way.  He is good to remind parents about just how hard it is to learn to play an instrument, not that it’s not worth the effort, but that it is effort.  Music has helped me push my kids in ways that I thought were good, like “just learn the first line today,” rather than letting them abandon a piece.  I often remind them at the end that what once seemed impossible is now totally playable.”

Libby said:

“I think there’s a huge benefit in having to practice something over and over as a means to perfection (see Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers). I also think that the repetition required to get a piece performance-ready is a built-in failure/reward system. One of the things that is less and less available to children is the opportunity to fail at something over and over and the intertwined ability to learn from the failure. Playing a piece beautifully requires a lot of playing it less than beautifully and persisting until it gets better. Extrapolate that out to, say, medical research, and someone who learned persistence in the face of failure or only partial success is going to be better prepared to fine-tune a pump for implantation, or more likely to conduct more rigorous studies of a new medication.

We talk a lot about wanting our children to succeed. I’d rather have mine fail, hard as it is for all of us when that happens. If they learn that failure isn’t final, that picking up and starting over is always an option, that they will most likely fail repeatedly at any skill before getting it right, they’re going to be more resilient and resourceful adults, people who have the confidence that they can do hard things.”

Things to add to our list would be:

Gaining confidence
Appreciating incremental success
Developing respect for others and their talent
Repetitive practice
Failure/reward system
learn how to succeed in spite of failure
how to try

Parent Education 1.2

I received some great responses back to my Parent Education question from last week about the non-musical benefits of taking music lessons. I’ll be sharing some of those next week but this week I wanted to give you my list. Read through and see if you agree/ disagree or if you can think of additional things that should be added.

Body awareness.
How to stand tall and confident
Small motor skill development
Listening skills.
Hearing something and being able to reproduce it
Eye finger coordination
Ear finger coordination
Hearing directions and following them
Working as a team with an adult
Being part of a group (playing implications and behavior implications)
Accountability: how to have a job and be held responsible for it
Group behavior
Respect to parent
Respect for adult
Respect for peers
Problem solving: how to break down a big project into bite size chunks
Recognizing positive qualities
Learning how to give and take criticism
Learning how to fail/how to react when things don’t go as you had planned
Achieving goals
Doing hard things
Having fun in a learning environment
Time management: practicing/getting ready for concerts
Preparednes/ownership: bringing books, instrument
Care of instrument/taking care of something fragile
Persistence/doing something you don’t like sometimes
How to track progress
Short term and long term goals: how to set/how to achieve

If you think of more, please tell me and we’ll add them to the list.

Parent Education 1.1

Every parent enrolls his or her child in music lessons for a reason. For many it is simply because that child has expressed an interest in playing or maybe it is because the parent played or plays and wants to pass on that legacy. I started playing at the age of three, the third of four children to begin violin at a young age. We all played because my parents saw value in taking a musical instrument–not just musical value but physical value, developmental value, social value, aural value.

That is what I want you to think about this week: what are some of the non musical benefits of taking a musical instrument. The last time I sat down and wrote them out I came up with over 50 of them.

I’d love to hear what you come up with!

Fall/Winter Semester 2013 is here!

Hello Studio!

Fall/Winter Semester 2013 being September 3rd. I can’t believe how the summer flew by!

At the beginning of each school year I encourage each of you to re-familiarize yourself with the Studio website (millerviolinstudio.com) and the Studio’s policies and procedures. All information I distribute to you can be found somewhere on the Studio website. It is meant to be a resource for you and I hope you use it as one.

On the main page you will find a list of upcoming events which includes important studio dates (ex. recitals, group events, etc) as well as a section titled “Featured Post.” Here I re-post important information distributed via email as well as pictures, recordings, repertoire lists, practice ideas, and the like.

All Studio policies, as well as current group class and repertoire lists, can be found under the “Teaching Philosophy” and “Studio” tabs. “Calendars and Events” includes a calendar link to my Google calendar as well as a pdf copy of the monthly calendar I email out each month. FYI: the Google calendar only shows approximately 1 week of lessons at a time, leaving the following weeks blank. If you are looking at the schedule far in advance, reference either the monthly pdf version of the calendar or the semester calendar distributed at the beginning of each semester.

Below you will find pdf copies of the following (hard copies will be distributed at the first lesson of the semester):

–       a summary of all studio policies and procedures and a contract stating you have read and agree to all studio policies and procedures

–       a Fall/Winter Semester 2013 Semester Calendar

–       a Group Class List for Fall/Winter Semester 2013

–       a September 2013 Calendar

–       a copy of my weekly schedule as well as a Trade List to be used when rescheduling students. THE TRADE LIST IS THE ONLY DOCUMENT THAT WILL NOT BE POSTED ON THE WEBSITE. You will receive a hard copy of it as well as an email of it. I do not want to post my students’ (your) personal information on the website.

As always, if you have questions, feel free to contact me any time.

I am excited for the fall. It is one of my favorite times of year and there are fun things planned for this semester!


Fall:Winter Semester 2013 Policies and Procedures

Fall:Winter Semester 2013 Semester Schedule

Fall:Winter Semester 2013 Group Class Lists

MVS Sept 2013 Calendar

Fall:Winter 2013 Weekly Schedule

Fall:Winter Semester 2013 Trade List

Spring Semester 2013 Violin Group Recital and Rehearsal on April 27th

We are almost to our last recital of the 2012-2013 school year! I can’t believe it. Below you will find the Rep lists, Rehearsal Order, and Concert Info. Please let me know if you have any questions about when you need to be where and I’ll see you there!



Twinkle Variations + Theme


Group 1 and 2

Twinkle Theme

Lightly Row

Go Tell Aunt Rhody (Happy/Major and Sad/Minor)

O Come, Little Children

Long Long Ago


Group 3


Perpetual Motion

Gossec Gavotte

Chorus from “Judas Maccabeus”

Gavotte from “Mignon”


Graduation Pieces and Players

Twinkles (with the twinkle group)

Gossec Gavotte: Mindee Lai, Susannah Loss, Zoe Miller,

Boccherini Minuet: Camille Slatterly and Ishika Jha

Bach Bourrée: Isha Jha


Rehearsal/Recital Schedule:

9am                   Twinkle Group

9:15am             Group 1 and 2

9:45am             Group 3

10:15am           Graduation Practice for Gossec, Boccherini, and Bach

11am                 Recital


Concert Info:

–       Student will have a break prior to the concert where they will get a snack and a drink. I can use some help with this. Let me know if you are interested in handing out food/maybe bringing something…I would be very appreciative.

–       Concert dress is Black and/or White. No shorts, jeans, or flip-flops.

–       Please invite family and friends. This is one of my favorite recital of the year!

Practice Point for February 4, 2013

What counts?

Often I tell students to repeat something 3+ times every day–which they faithfully do, but when they return to the next week the “preview spot” is the same or worse off than before. Why is this? Why did all those repetitions not help?

The answer is in knowing what counts.

When repeating a measure, do you know why I have asked you to repeat it? Is it for the rhythm? For the c#s? The circle bow or wrist circle? A bow in the highway?

There is always a reason and if you can’t tell me why you are repeating something how can the repetitions be helpful?


Second, BE PICKY. You need to pretend that you are me and every time you play the spot in question you should decide if you like it (aka if it was correct) or if is wasn’t right. If it wasn’t right it doesn’t count. I promise that if you are truly picky, each time you repeat it you will improve.

Third, CONCENTRATE. If you find after 3 times you just can’t play it right anymore, are you still thinking about why you are repeating those same three notes? Are you wondering what you are going to have or dinner? Or are you looking out the window?

If you are still thinking about violin, how is your tempo? Often the more we play something the faster we get. Make sure you aren’t going so fast your fingers and your brain can’t keep up.

Fall Semester 2012 Group Violin Recital

We had a wonderful recital last Saturday, January 19, 2013.

All the violins came, dressed up and ready to work. We rehearsed during the morning and then performed for our family and friends at 11:30am after a quick donut/snack break. Everyone did a great job!

Here is the link to our YouTube Playlist.

Practice Point for January 14, 2013

Practicing is Hard.

I know I get to to see your child for a completely different 30 minutes than you see him or her at home and in an effort to lend encouragement as well as organize my thoughts I wanted to share some of the ideas that have been working in lessons along with some that have not.

My recommendation for this week is to find what makes your child tick. And use it. If may be different this week than it was last week and what worked last week will probably not work again so you have to roll with it.

My example: I have a student who loves loves football.  At least right now that is what he loves. The idea of having the puffy man (the cheek of his left hand) stand tall doesn’t work for him.

So we renamed his puffy man Matt Ryan (the Falcons Quarterback…did I know that before this lesson…no way. When asked to think of someone tall that is who my student came up with…) Now, when Matt Ryan (the puffy man) collapses or touches the wood of the neck, he gets “sacked”–which in the eyes of this seven-year-old is the worst possible thing ever. And it’s been working like a charm. Instead of constantly reminding him to stand his hand up tall, all I have to do is say–Matt’s getting sacked…and we have immediate good form.

Victory with with no nagging.

Success on multiple fronts.

Fall Semester 2012 Group Violin Recital Info and Weekly Reminders

Hello all!

I hope you are enjoying a sunny morning–not quite as warm as yesterday but sunshine is always good in my opinion. I just wanted to send a quick reminder about the Violin Group Rehearsal and Recital this Saturday, January 19th, 2013.
Students are to wear black and/or white.

Group 1 and the Twinkler Group are meeting this week as normal (see the January calendar for details).

Also, I AM TEACHING NEXT MONDAY, even though it is a holiday. This is also where PIANO GROUP landed. While not perfect, it is what it is. We will miss you if you cannot come, but will be holding lessons/class anyway.

Saturday’s schedule looks like this:

9:30 Twinkler Rehearsal (Simon, Elise, Eden, Davin, and Wesley)

10-11 All Violins Rehearsal (no Simon and Elise)

11 Break with treats/snacks for students (I could use some parental supervision/help here if anyone is interested)

11:30 Recital begins
***Because I will have filled everyone with snacks and promised donuts (perhaps not smart on my part…) and it will be lunch time when we finish we will not be having refreshments after the recital***

Below is a copy of the program for Saturday. If you notice any typo in regards to the spelling of your child’s name, please email.
Let me know if you have any questions.


Fall Semester 2012 Group Violin Recital program


Studio Holiday Recital–December 22, 2012

I was so impressed with the number of students who were able to make our “Make-up” Recital (because I was so sick when our original one was scheduled…)

Thank you Thank you for being there with your families. Everyone did so well!

We were lucky enough to have this recital recorded. I have posted all the video clips on YouTube as unlisted uploads so they aren’t available to everyone–just those who have the links.

Here is a playlist I’ve created of the entire performance. If you would like your specific links let me know so you can forward them on to family and friends if you like.

(Just a side note, Simon, Elise, and Emily are all grouped together in the 2nd clip.)



Weekly Update, Oct 15th-20th

Hello Studio,

This is just a reminder that we are back to our normally scheduled lessons this week. Below is a list reminding you of group times and information about Thursday’s Solo Recital. Group numbers were messed up on the October calendar but the normal Monday Group 2 is scheduled for today and the normal Tuesday Group 3 is coming tomorrow.

October 15th @ 6pm: Group 2
October 16th @ 6pm: Group 3
October 18th: Solo Recitals at the LDS Belmont Chapel (15 Ledgewood Place Belmont, MA 02478)
Remember: There are two recitals. One at 6:30pm and the other at 7:15pm. You will be assigned a specific Recital to come to. Please arrive 5 minutes early to get tuned. As always, feel free to invite family and friends. Concert attire is required for all performing and requested for all attending (no flip flops, shorts, or jeans).

***There is a lot happening at the church on this night so please enter the building quietly and if the other recital is still going, wait in the foyer. Because there is so much going on we will not be having treats at the end of this recital. (I don’t want to disturb any of the other meetings when we are finished.) Celebrate at home or go out for ice cream. We’ll have a big ta-doo after the next one.

Thanks! If you have questions, please let me know.

October Update and Calendar

Good Morning Studio!

Fall is here and I can’t believe it. There have been two major changes to the upcoming Solo Recital dates due to availability at the church. Not wanting to compete with a Halloween or Christmas party being held downstairs, the recitals on October  and December 8th have been moved to October 18th @ 6:30pm and 7:15pm and December 1st @ 6:30pm and 7:15pm. Please note these changes on your calendars and I will be sure to have them posted in the studio.

Attached is a copy of the Miller Violin Studio October 2012 Calendar. As marked on the Semester Calendar I am not teaching from October 3rd-10th.

I am preparing a contact/info sheet to be distributed to all Studio Families to aid in lesson swapping/trading when conflicts arise. At the beginning of the semester every family received a blank contract/info sheet that was to be returned by Sept 15. I am missing several forms (perhaps they are laying in a pile of music somewhere at my house…sorry if your’s got misplaced!) but in order to provide the most accurate info on the Contact Sheet I need forms from the following families:









A blank copy of the document can be found here.

Thanks for your help and I hope you have a fabulous day!

Sept 10th, 2012 Update

Hello Studio!

Hopefully everyone survived getting back to school and hopefully schedules are starting to feel a bit more normal! The first Parent Education post can now be viewed on the Studio Blog.

• This week we have our first group classes: Group 1 comes Tuesday at 6pm and the Twinkle Group comes on Friday at 5pm.

• Our Back to School Recital is this Saturday, Sept. 15th, at 6:30pm. It is at the LDS Belmont Chapel at 15 Ledgewood Place. Plan to be there even if you child is not participating. All are welcome and feel free to bring a treat to share. As with all recitals, concert dress is required for all performing and suggested for all attending: no flip flops, no jeans, no shorts.

I have distributed paper copies of the Studio Policies, Fall Semester 2012 Calendar, Info Sheet and Contract, and Group Class lists to most families in the studio but a few of you I have missed. Please remind me in case I missed you! I’ll make sure to get those out this week so you can return your info sheet/contract as close to Sept. 15th as possible.

Parent Education–The Suzuki Method

As many of you know, I love teaching. And, perhaps more than I love teaching, I love the Suzuki Method. As I teach and take Suzuki Training I am continually impressed by the way this method grows with me. The more I study it, the more I believe in it and the more important I believe it is for my students. Dr. Suzuki was a genius–not only in the music he selected but more importantly in the way he taught.

A brief background of the Suzuki Method.

What makes the Suzuki Method different from other methods?

Every Child Can. Every Child Can learn. All s/he needs is an environment that inspires that ability and the opportunity to do so.

Listening. The Suzuki Method is often referred to as “the Mother Tongue” method referring to the idea that every child learns to speak his/her native tongue because that is what he/she is exposed to-from birth. Exposure to music leads to interest in music. Listening to good music performed well not only develops the ear but also develops a student’s ability to recognize beauty and a job well done. For my violin students, listening to the pieces they will be playing gives them a vision of what they can do as well as a model for them to follow.

– The importance of a positive environment. In a competitive and critical world, this method focuses on positive-focusing on what you do well to improve what you do not do well.

– Everything is broken into small steps. The smaller the bite the easier it is to digest. If notes/techniques are broken down into small enough “bites” every student can feel a sense of achievement every time they s/he has a lesson or practices at home.

Repetition. Suzuki said that practice begins when after you can play it correctly. If it takes you 5x to play something right you have practiced it incorrectly 4x. In order to really learn something well you have to play it more times correctly than you do incorrectly and somehow this needs to be interesting and positive!

Common Repertoire. Having a common repertoire allows for group playing as well as gives students a language they can use all over the world.

Daily Review

The Suzuki Triangle. The teacher, parent, and student working together as a team to create the best environment, the best practice, the best effort will produce the best results.

Delayed reading

Tone (your sound). If you are never taught to really listen to the sound you are producing, wether on the violin or on the piano, you will never be able to really hear what you are doing. Students need to learn how to listen and how what they are doing is producing that result.

Fall 2012 Family Packets

At lessons this week I’m distributing paper copies of the Fall Semester 2012 Calendar, an updated copy of studio policies and procedures, and group class lists for the semester. The group class lists can be found under the “Studio” tab on the studio website but I wanted to attach the documents here–just in case somehow yours gets lost.

Fall Semester 2012 Teaching Schedule

Fall Semester 2012 Policies, Procedure, Info, and Contract

Fall Semester 2012

I cannot believe that school begins in just two weeks! Where has the summer gone?

Fall Semester 2012 begins on September 4th, 2012. I believe school begins for most the next day, but I am planning to start our new schedule on Tuesday. (If you have a Tuesday lesson and need to move this first week let me know so we can make those arrangements).

Most have scheduled their times for the Fall but there are a few who have not. Attached is an updated schedule, which can also be found on the Studio Website. I have had several calls asking if I am taking new students and I need to know if you want me to reserve a space for you asap.

With the start of school comes some organizational paperwork. Each student/family will be receiving a packet of information that I would like you to review, return and/or file for your records.

The packet will contain the following:

1. An info sheet I would like you to return to me with current info (address, phone numbers, emails, birthdays, etc)
2. A copy of my policy sheet and a contract, also to be returned
3. Group Class assignments
4. The Semester Calendar with all Group Classes, Recitals, and Non-Teaching days marked

Also coinciding with the start of school is something new that I am very excited about. As a participant in the Suzuki Method we all have a role to play, as parent, teacher, or student. I have found that I am good at taking care of my students as well as finding opportunities to improve my teaching and playing. But I have not spent enough time helping my parents–aka the parents of my students. With the start of school I will be posting a parent education item each week. These “articles” will be short and will provide information about the Suzuki Philosophy, practicing ideas, concert recommendations, and any other information you might need. If there are topics you would like me to address please let me know because I want this to be a resource for you, helping you have a better Suzuki experience.

Enjoy the rest of your summer and yeah for a new school year!

Fall 2012 Schedule

Fall Semester 2012 Scheduling

I can’t believe it is that time of year already–time to start thinking about Fall and school and new lesson times. As I have been drafting this I’ve received two emails asking about Fall scheduling so I think we’re all on the same page.

I am attaching a pdf of the times I will and will not be teaching come September. Like last year, I will be attending the Hartt School of Music in Connecticut completing my Long Term Suzuki Training Course. This year the class will be taught on Thursdays not Tuesdays so this changes my schedule slightly. One other very important thing to note is that there will be 4 Violin Group Classes this semester instead of 2. Based on ability/repertoire, students will be placed in a group with other students around their level. Group Class Rosters can be found under the “Studio” button on my homepage. Group Class times are listed on the attached pdf.

As you can imagine is is not always an easy experience aligning my schedule + all of your schedules so please be patient as we work out your lesson times. Some tweaking might be necessary to make everything fit, but if we are all a little flexible it should be no problem.

When you know what time(s) you would like (and I suggest having 2 or 3 options…) please call or email me to get your name on my schedule. Lessons will be scheduled on a first come, first served basis.

Fall 2012 Schedule

Tuning Up! 2012 Final Concert

The Tuning Up! Final Concert gives us an opportunity to put on display everything we work on throughout camp. Having the chance to play for our families and “show our stuff” brings some closure and recognition to a week of hard work (and play).

Most of you know this is my first year teaching in Boston after relocating from Utah in the Fall of 2010. Tuning Up! 2010 (which was its 10th year) was very bittersweet as it was my last hurrah before packing up and saying goodbye. After missing 2011 I wasn’t sure if I would bring it back, but I am so glad that I did. It affirms my belief that group is important. Playing with your peers is important. Having fun while making music is important. Yes, it is a lot of work on my side, but it is worth it.

Here are some of the pictures from the final concert. (When you click on them they get bigger…)

Tuning Up! 2012-Twinkle Group

Our Twinkle Group was so lucky to have out of town visitors! It was so fun to have a bigger group and to work on posture, bow holds, Twinkles, and fiddle tunes. These guys did great and became great friends. I was excited to see them improve and work together to make beautiful music.

I can’t wait to see where they are next summer.

All in a row

A favorite

Where they put their violins when they are supposed to put them somewhere safe…

Figuring things out

Class Picture

Class picture #2: the silly version

And #3

Tuning Up! 2012-Violin Group 1

It is so exciting for me to watch students who started playing violin with me last fall progress and improve. Every student in this group has moved through twinkle to the literature beyond it in the last year and they are doing so well.

We learned duets, practiced our ensemble skills, mastered several “new” tunes (including the classics Boil Them Cabbage Down and the French Folk Song), and reviewed. In addition to that we spent time getting to know each other and making friends. I can’t wait for group to start in the Fall!

Class picture

Here they are again

A personal favorite

Such great posture!


Tuning Up! 2012–Piano Group

Our Piano Group this year had 6 people in it–3 boys and 3 girls.

Each person prepared a solo and at least one duet to play on the final concert. Most of the duets were handed out the first day of camp which meant they had 4 days to learn their part, learn how to play it with someone else, and get it read to perform. To prepare, we practiced these each day along with counting exercises, rhythm exercises/games, note-reading, and ear training.  Overall I believe everyone had a great time.

Here are some of my favorite pictures from the week.


Concentrating really hard

A fairly accurate class picture

I think they look happy


The Snake Charmer

Everyone's favorite part (besides treats)

Student Performances

Last weekend I was able to perform with my student Alex on a private recital in someone’s home. We performed the Concerto for Two Violins in D Minor, 1st Mov’t by Bach and I thought  I’d share it with you.

Click on the link to see/hear our performance.

Spring Semester Recital 2012

Congratulations to everyone who participated in the Semester Recital on June 9th. It was a lovely morning and you all played so well. At our solo recitals I am always impressed by the progress each student is making individually but it is at these group recitals at the end of the semester that I can really catch a vision of what is happening within my studio. Thank you for your hard work and preparation and a special thank you to my mom for accompanying us! I hope you all enjoyed playing together.

The program began with the Twinklers playing the Monkey Song, the Bread Song, and Mississippi Hot Dog Twinkle–all with a ready go. We have been working on ensemble and the hard task of playing together which means each student has to get ready and then wait for the group. As we continue to improve our wait time will get shorter and shorter while we (hopefully) keep all 12 of us together. Well done Twinklers!

Interspersed through the recital were piano solos including: Trumpet Song and Wagtime, Wind in the Trees and Hot Cross Buns, The Dance Band, and Cowboy Jo and Petite Minuet.

Since not all violin students could perform solos only a handful of students performed solo selections ranging from Song of the Wind to La Folia in Book 6.

Group pieces were selected from Book 2 and Book 1 and were as follows: Hunters’ Chorus, Chorus from Judas Maccabeus, Minuet 3, Allegro, Go Tell Aunt Rhody, Lightly Row, and all the Twinkle Variations and Theme. As we moved through the repertoire from hardest piece backwards, students joined the group as we came to the pieces they knew, ending with all the students playing Twinkle together. For many of my students this was considered their “Twinkle Graduation.”  Congratulations!

Pictures will be uploaded to the “Studio” tab soon so you can click and drag the ones you would like to save. I’m including a few of my favorites with this post (click on them to see the whole photo).

June 4th Update

Dear Studio,

I just found out there is something scheduled in the chapel this Saturday until 11am (our times were overlapped accidentally when I reserved it). Because of that the recital will need to shift 30 minutes later, starting at 11:30am. It will be well under an hour and I hope this will not preclude any of you from coming. I am looking forward to hearing everyone play.

Reminder that there is Group today and tomorrow.

The Dress Rehearsal is at the church (15 Ledgemont Pl) on Friday from 3:30 to 5. The schedule is listed below so you know when you need to be there and when you will be done. All students are expected to be in attendance. It has been on the calendar for months.

And the Semester Recital is Saturday at 11:30am. Students are to wear any combination of black and/or white (for a unified group look) and need to arrive 10 minutes early to get situated and tuned. Please invite any and all who might be interested–the more the merrier–and if you would like to bring a plate of something to share that would be great.

Friday’s Schedule

3:30pm: Piano students get time at the piano, playing their pieces twice***
3:45pm: All Violin Students start arriving and getting their instruments out. Put cases on the right side of the chapel and then come line up to get tuned.
4-5pm: Violin Rehearsal Order: 
4 Twinkle class (Monkey Song, Bread Song, and Mississippi Hot Dog Twinkle with ready go)
4:10 Twinkles and Theme
4:25 Lightly Row and Go Tell Aunt Rhody
4:35 Allegro and Minuet 3
4:45 Chorus from Judas Maccabeus and Hunters’ Chorus.

***Any violinists who are playing a solo who are interested in running through their piece in the chapel are welcome to stay after the rehearsal (or come when the pianists come) to slip it in.

I’m looking forward to a busy and eventful week. Let me know if you have any questions.


Saying Goodbye to Todd

I began teaching Todd in February, knowing full well that he would be leaving at the end of the school year when his family moved to Texas. The time went so quickly and on Friday (May 25th) we had his Twinkle Graduation at my house. He played all the twinkles, the A Major Scale, and the A Arpeggio. If we’d had one more week he could have done Lightly Row as well…He has come so far so quickly!

When Todd first began his lessons he was very eager to “start playing,” not really wanting to take the time necessary to get his body organized or to really focus in on the details of what he was doing but once he began going down his checklist (feet, back, nose, violin, etc.) it was smooth sailing–I think once he was introduced to the bow division of Twinkle Theme he was able to add the notes immediately!

Well done Todd! We’ll miss you but wish you the best.

(Too bad I don’t have a picture with his face in it…But isn’t his bowhold beautiful?)

Todd Graduation Certificate

End of the Semester Studio Update

Hello Studio,

I hope you all enjoyed your Memorial Day celebrations. Wasn’t it a gorgeous day?!

The end of the semester/school year is quickly approaching and we have a lot coming up in the next few weeks. Attached is a calendar for June but I also wanted to outline the most important events. These events have been on the calendar since February. I hope you will make arrangements to attend.

Group will be held as normal on June 4th and 5th.

There is a Studio Dress Rehearsal, held at the LDS Belmont Chapel (15 Ledgewood Place), in the afternoon of Friday June 8th from 3:30-5pm. All of the groups will be playing on the recital (June 9th) and we need to practice in the space. The times will be determined by what pieces your child plays with the most advanced students staying the longest. Piano students will be invited to participate at the end of the day so they can get used to the piano.

The Studio Semester Recital is on June 9th at 11am. There has been some confusion about the time, but again, it has been on the calendar and posted on the website for some time. Students need to arrive 10-15 minutes early to get tuned and seated. As mentioned above there will be more group numbers on this recital and very few solos, keeping the length of the recital under an hour. Those performing solos will be notified this week at their lessons. (All piano students will be playing a solo.) Students will please wear black and/or white. As always, feel free to invite friends and family.

The Repertoire list for all students is as follows:

(The pieces you know you play. The pieces you don’t know you do not have to play.)

Twinkle Variations and Theme (with Independent fingers)

Lightly Row
Go Tell Aunt Rhody
Minuet 3
Chorus from Judas Maccabeus
Hunters’ Chorus

For Twinkle Groups only:

the Monkey Song
the Bread Song
Mississippi Hot Dog with walking fingers

The Final Group Class for Spring Semester 2012 will be held on Monday June 18th from 5-5:45pm and all students are invited to attend.
Summer Semester 2012 begins the following week. If you have not yet scheduled your times for summer please contact me as soon as possible so we can get you on the calendar.

Please let me know if you have any questions!

See you this week,


Studio Weekly Update (April 29, 2012 – May 5, 2012)

There is a lot going on in the next week so I thought I’d post it all to make sure we were all on the same page.


As many of you know, next week there is a RECITAL on May 4th at 6:30pm.

It will be held at the Belmont LDS Chapel (off of the 2). The address is 15 Ledgewood Place.

• Students are asked to arrive 10-15 minutes early so they can arrive calmly, get tuned, and find a seat.

• Sunday dress is required of all performing (no jeans, no flip-flops) and requested of all attending.

• If performing, make sure to bring your instrument and your music (even if you aren’t using it…just in case).

• Please feel free to invite family and friends and to bring a treat to share after the recital.


In preparation for next week’s recital, I will be holding STUDIO CLASS at my house on Monday, April 30th @ 6pm. This is open to any students interested in practicing performing their piece prior to the recital. It will be 30 minutes long.


Also on Monday, April 30th @ 5pm is the Make-Up Group Class for Twinkle Group 1 which I moved from last week. Thanks for your flexibility!


A pdf of the MAY CALENDAR is now available under “Calendars and Events”Please print it off and keep a copy so you know when I am teaching and when I am not. As many of you know, I am currently taking additional Suzuki Teacher Training at the Hartt School of Music in Connecticut. One of the requirements for the class is to complete a certain number of observation hours prior to the end of the semester. Due to this I am not teaching on May 1st (which was included on the semester calendar distributed at the end of January). I have made arrangements in my teaching schedule to make sure all Tuesday students receive the correct number of lessons to make up for this day. If you would like an additional copy of the semester calendar (it is yellow), I have them on my piano.


All of you should have received the SUMMER SCHEDULING information at this point. If you have not arranged your lesson times, please contact me ASAP–even if you are planning to keep the same time as you had during the school year. I need to know what you are planning so I can arrange all my other students. I am planning to teach Mondays (pm), Tuesdays (am/pm) and Wednesdays (am/pm). Thursdays I will be in Lincoln (pm).


All the information about scheduling can be found in my last post. If you have questions please call me. It is much easier to do this over the phone rather than in an email. If there are specific times you would like, the sooner you schedule the more likely they will be available and consistent over the entire summer. Thank you to those who have already scheduled!


Summer Semester 2012 Scheduling


Scheduling for Summer Semester 2012 and Fall Semester 2012 begins now.

I do not subscribe to the philosophy that we take the summer off. If anything, I view summer as my time to hit it hard with my students. Schedules open up and we can accomplish so much more than when they are busy busy busy. What better way to spend a summer than practicing….

If you wish to keep you current lesson time next fall, I need to know by April 15th. THIS DOES NOT NEED TO REMAIN YOUR TIME OVER THE SUMMER, BUT THAT CAN BE ARRANGED IF YOU PREFER TO KEEP THINGS THE SAME.

If you do not register for Summer Semester 2012 your time slot will not be held. In the past, I have had students take the summer off, but have paid for lessons simply to hold their spot in the Fall. This would not be my choice as a parent, but it is an option.

Tuning Up: Dates for Tuning Up! 2012 were distributed back in February and I hope they made it to your calendar. It will be held the week of July 16th – 20th with a performance that evening. This is a studio wide event. Please refer to the page on Tuning Up! for more details.

Group: Every student is assigned to a group. Group over the summer will be held at the following times:

Twinkle Group is for all Twinkle and Pre-Twinkle students and is held every other Tuesday @ 6pm (see attached Calendar).

Group 1 is for all students who have graduated from Twinkle but are still in Book 1. This class is held every other Monday @ 5pm and will be 45 minutes long.

Piano Group is for all piano students and will be held on July 1st and July 30th at 5pm.

****PLEASE NOTE: THESE GROUPS WILL BE HELD AT THE SAME TIME IN THE FALL. If you have questions about which group your child will be in so you can mark your calendar now give me a call. I will also be adding a Group 2 on Tuesdays @ 6pm that will rotate weeks with the Twinkle Group.

Review the attached calendar for Summer Semester 2010. Lessons are scheduled week by week and that begins now. This is easier in person rather than over the telephone. Plan on bringing your family calendar to your child’s next lesson and taking the first five minutes of their lesson to schedule July and August.  (I schedule lessons week by week to accommodate family vacations, summer camps, and conflicts that so often arise in the summer. This is to keep me sane and our lessons together somewhat regular. Many find this very confusing the first time they do it. If it is give me a call and/or we can find a time to meet.)

Thank you!


Summer Semester 2012 Teaching Schedule

Tuning Up! 2012 Schedule


Great Job to Daphne and Ivy for their hard work in December.

They filled in every tree!


Aren’t their trees beautiful?

December Practicing

During the holidays it is easy to let practicing fall to the wayside so I am providing a little incentive.

Print off the pdf of the Christmas Practice Chart (see below) which can be found under “Studio–Practice Charts.” Every day you practice in December you get to color in a tree. If you color in all 28 you get a prize (often known to be a king-size candy bar or a pack of gum…)

It is already December 4th so I am giving everyone 4 free days/trees. If you miss a day, you are welcome to make it up by practicing twice on another day.

Happy Practicing!

The Ants Go Marching

The ants go marching one by one (hurrah, hurrah).

The ants go marching one by one (hurrah, hurrah).

The ants go marching one by one,

The little one stops to check his (or her) thumb

and they all go marching down, to the ground,

to get out of the rain (boom, boom, boom, boom).

The Bow Poem

Many have been asking for the “official” words for the Bow Poem.

These may not be THE original words, but they are the words I use:

Up Like a Rocket

Down Like the Rain

Back and Forth Like a Choo Choo Train

Round My Face Like the Great Big Sun

Land by Your Nose

Round Pinky (Tap Tap)

Curved Thumb


Box Violins

For many Twinklers, especially those who are very young, you do not start lessons with a “real” violin. You begin with a “fake” violin” or a box violin. We do this for several reasons, with safety and durability topping the list. (“Real” violins tend to be broken violins if they fall to the floor…) So until we know your little someone can care for his or her instrument and has the strength to not drop it, we use a box.

To assemble a box violin you will need several items, most of which you will around your house.

1. an empty macaroni and cheese box (or one of a similar size/shape/WIDTH-you want to choose a box that will fit comfortably under the chin of your child, approximately one inch thick)

2. a wooden ruler (or something as thin, wide, and long)

3. tape (one that is durable and another that is clear for decorating)

4. contact paper or any other paper to completely cover the box

5. stuffing material (newspaper, old socks missing their mate, quilt batting, etc.)

6. misc. decorating supplies


Step #1: Take your empty box and stuff it full of something…wadded up newspaper works really well. The box needs to be filled so it does not collapse when held between a heavy head and a shoulder.

Step #2: Take your heavy duty tape and tape the ruler so that it is centered on the right small side of the box with 6 or 7 inches hanging over the side.

Step #3: Cover your box with contact paper or wrap it like a present with a paper grocery sack, wrapping paper or construction paper.

Step #4: Decorate it if you like. We will be adding some specific parts to it at lessons.

Happy practicing!

The Dog Days of Summer

I cannot believe the summer is almost over. Where has the time gone? Today I finished teaching at the Somerville String Camp. Whenever I teach or attend a camp I leave re-energized and motivated to improve my teaching and my playing—even when working with really young beginners. I don’t know how it happens, but once again I find myself craving a good practice session.

While enjoying the end of summer it is time to start thinking about Fall schedules and when you would like your lesson times to be. Group and Studio Classes will be held on Monday afternoons/evenings, but if you have a day or time preference for your private lessons now is the time to let me know. I will try to be as accommodating as possible but please be patient. This is like putting together a giant puzzle. Thanks!