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The viola is a beautiful lower voiced instrument that can sing high like a violin or low like a cello. I have transferred my violin knowledge to the viola and for the past few years have loved playing it. The repertoire for the viola is vast and I can introduce you to the many great pieces written for viola, or help you with whatever you're working on. It also fits into non-classical styles such as Irish and Scottish fiddle music, Jazz, and Rock/Pop.
II have been teaching viola for about 20 years. In the first few lessons students learn how to get get big, beautiful tone by learning various bowing techniques that are easy to learn with a little daily practice.
Then I teach how to read music and play songs in a variety of styles: Gypsy, classical, bluegrass, contemporary classical, rock and more. The album I use for this is a beginning book called VIP Strings composed by my mentor Dr. Lyons. The book comes with a play along piano accompaniment CD that makes practicing fun! Along with this I teach music fundamentals like scales, music theory and ear training.
For more serious students, I use materials from the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music and prepare them for one to two exams a year. The exams test playing abilities on 3 songs plus scales, arpeggios, ear training and music theory. Students that pass get a beautiful certificate for each level, grades 1 to 8.
I believe that students can only learn properly in the right atmosphere, with an enthusiastic, motivated instructor. If the experience is not fun the student will not excel in what they do. I believe the students should periodically have a chance to show what they are learning by performing in recitals with others.
Correct play position, reading viola clef, scales, etudes, solo pieces, shifting, vibrato. Possibility to play in a student string orchestra!
Many teachers who teach viola are primarily violinists, and are not as aware of the extra attention to detail and slightly different techniques that this instrument requires. Since I am primarily a violist, I can teach tone production, posture, and other techniques from the perspective of a player who has spent time learning the idiosyncrasies that make the difference between an excellent violist and a competent one.
My teaching style is inspired by my initial training in the Suzuki method, and my studies with violist and pedagogue Karen Ritscher at Oberlin Conservatory. Please note, I have not yet received training as a Suzuki teacher and use the Suzuki method books and the teaching I received as a Suzuki student as a jumping off point for working on each student's individual needs.
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