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By Greg B. - Minneapolis Violin Teacher
As a recent transplant to the Twin Cities, I have been finding out just what a Midwest winter means. Although I’m from New York, spending the last 6 years living in Miami and Los Angeles didn’t help me prepare for the chill here. But there have been some performances this winter that have been so blazing, they warmed me right to the core. If you are a student aspiring to take violin lessons in Minneapolis, you have some excellent talent to emulate.
This city has hosted many stellar string players, true musicians that redefine the possibilities of the instrument. First on my list is Andrew Bird, violinist and songwriter. His performances in December at St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral were remarkable. Bird combines his violin prowess with guitar, singing, and whistling, all of which he runs through a looper in order to create an orchestra of himself. His latest CD, Useless Creatures, is worth checking out if you haven’t heard it.
Next comes a local favorite of mine, Jelloslave. Consisting of 2 cellos, tablas and a drum kit, Jelloslave blurs the boundaries between jazz, Afro-Cuban, Indian and even pop to create something spectacular. With infectious grooves and soaring melodies, this quartet will engage you for the whole performance. Finally, there’s the Galactic Cowboy Orchestra, a unique band that starts with progressive bluegrass before launching off into jazz, world, and rock compositions. Lisi Wright, the band’s violinist, fits right in with the electrified ensemble, improvising catchy licks one second and rocking out the next.
As an instructor teaching violin lessons in Minneapolis, I encounter many beginning students who are frustrated with their supposedly slow progress on the instrument. All their friends that play guitar are able to crank out pop songs in no time flat, and they can barely manage to get through Old McDonald. But the violin should not be compared to the guitar or any other instrument. It is a unique tool with its own advantages and disadvantages. For musical neophytes, an instrument where the only fixed pitches are four open strings can make the violin appear unapproachable. But just as Rome was not built in one day, violin mastery is not attainable in a month. It's important for the student to keep focused on their improvement, day by day, week by week. If you are able to enjoy the experience of discovery and the knowledge that comes with diligent practice, then the end goal becomes much less critical to the ego. Keep this in mind the next time you hit a roadblock during your violin lessons in Minneapolis.
No matter what your taste in music, there’s sure to be a great concert this winter that will warm you right up. So get out there, explore the diverse music scene in the Twin Cities, and take violin lessons in Minneapolis!