After teaching private violin lessons for 5 years now, (It’s been 5 years!?!), I have learned more about time management within a lesson. This is my second blog post in my ‘Studio Sense’ blog series. To read the first article, click this link HERE. I hope to bring some helpful information to aspiring private music instructors, or even those of you interested in learning about what teaching private lessons is like. I know….it’s riveting stuff guys. ; ) This blog is very very general. I could probably write an entire book on time management techniques and what/how I utilize teaching time and why. Frankly, there are probably many books on this subject. So enjoy this surface level look at time management and some of my thoughts.
Time Management Within A Lesson:
For my teaching style I have been sticking to 30min, 45min, and 1 hour lessons. I like to correlate the length of a lesson to the age and/or level of each student. I have taught violin lessons to the following age range: 3 years old – adult. I’ve experienced a lot of different ages & I love the variety of that. I teach beginner to intermediate levels within that age range.
Apart from the actual length of the lesson, have you ever wondered how a teacher splits up their focus and points in a lesson? I typically start each and every lesson with tuning. Tuning is very important; it sets the standard for everything else done in the lesson. If the violin is not in tune, then a student could get used to playing out of tune. In that case, they would be training their ear incorrectly. Tuning can take between 30 seconds to about 10 minutes. 10 minutes you ask!!?? Yes, there have been times a violin has a string that is broken or because of the weather it is just finicky and does not want to stay in tune. This is especially the case in winter and with smaller student rental violins. So depending on certain factors, sometimes much of a lesson can be spent on just tuning the instrument. Putting that into perspective, 10 minutes of a 30 min lesson is about 33% of the entire lesson. That's a good chunk of time, hopefully a rare occurrence though.
Other focus points in a lesson may be section work within a piece, physical posture, music history, theory, listening, and pure playing time for the student mixed with duet playing (me with each student).
Finally, I like to reserve time at the close of a lesson to discuss constructive criticism on how to further improve as a musician. This could also include practice strategies for the student and their upcoming week.
So there you have it, a brief inside look at time management from a private instructor's perspective.
Each lesson is very different, and I've learned that I need to be prepared to go with the flow as well.
This time, like all times, is a very good one, if we but know what to do with it.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Just wanted to inform you of the last two orchestral concerts I will be performing in this academic year with the Holland Symphony Orchestra. I'd love to have you come.
1) Peter & The Wolf Family Concert Sunday, March 25 @ 3:30pm - Zeeland East HS
2) Classics III Holland Symphony Orchestra Friday, April 27 @ 7:30pm & Saturday, April 28 @ 3:30pm - Hope College
To fully appreciate something, it can be necessary to have the right vocabulary to describe it. Music for example can be a very emotional and abstract concept. Like art, it has a tendency to be very subjective. What one person deems as beautiful or a masterpiece, another person may think mediocre. To gain a greater appreciation for others' perspectives, sometimes it helps to step into their shoes or put on their glasses. Changing your view can change your appreciation.
The book 'What to Listen for in Music' by Aaron Copland may just be the pair of glasses you have been looking for. If you have ever wondered why some music sounds the way it does, or how a composer thinks, this book could open up some new knowledge for you.
Excited for this upcoming joint recital with two friends and colleagues. Join us at St. Cecilia Music Center on Monday, January 22, 2018 to hear the students of Larissa Fall - violin, Matthew Heyboer - cello, & Joshua Keller - piano. There will also be chamber music selections performed by the teachers and a small reception to conclude the evening. 7:30pm start.
The Imperfect Christmas Experience
I will be playing in the orchestra for the following services at Central Wesleyan Church in Holland, Michigan. Check it out if you are in the area, or watch the live stream.
Friday, December 15 • 6:30 PM
Saturday, December 16 • 6:30 PM
Sunday, December 17 • 10 AM
Location: Worship Center or Central Online
Childcare: Childcare available for the 15th and 16th for 3 months-5 years
Full Central Kids programming on the 17th for birth–5th Grade
FUEL High School Christmas Party for 9th–12th Grade • 6 PM
I was able to participate in a fabulous jazz recording session with Saxophonist, Jordan VanHemert and other talented musicians. Check out the film from this recording session. It was a blast to play this music!
Ariel Vincent Music
By: John Klenner Arranged
By: Jimmy Carroll Saxophone: Jordan VanHemert
Conductor: Christopher Fashun
Oboe: Aaron Wilbert
Violin: Larissa Fall
Violin: Becky Parks
Violin: Madalyn Navis
Viola: Claire Schaar
Cello: Graeme Richmond
Harp: Martha Waldvogel-Warren
Piano: Ivan Akansiima
Bass: Crystal Rebone
Drums: Andy Wheelock
Music Producer & Engineer: Ariel Vincent
Assistant Engineers: Michael Pineda, Parker Billings, Miranda Craig, & Nils Fritjofson
Camera Operators: Ariel Vincent, Ben Douma, Nils Fritjofson, Michael Pineda, & Parker Billings Filmed at Hope College in Holland, MI
Equipment Provided by: Hope College Music Department & Hope College Communication Department
For More, Visit: https://www.arielvincentmedia.com/
Check out the video on the Jordan VanHemert's Channel: https://youtu.be/3vRtXm1Mv_s
This is my first 'Studio Sense' blog post. For 4 years now I have been teaching private lessons and have learned a bit about the art of teaching and keeping a studio/business. I hope these articles bring some helpful tips to the table for other teachers.
My first tip is about scheduling. With a full-time job, weekend gigs that pop up, and holidays it can be a bit tricky for teachers and families to keep a consistent private lesson schedule. One thing that has really helped me is Google Docs. This app gives you the ability to co-edit documents via the internet. Rather than asking each and every one of my students/parents separately about their availability for lessons I am able to ask them all at the same time. This limits back and forth trouble shooting and schedule overlap. The document updates in real time. I typically just write out the time blocks I have open, leave a name slot blank, create a 'shareable' link, and send this off with instructions to families. They are able to peruse the times and sign-up on the document. All others who view the document after them should be able to then see their selection and pick from the remaining openings.
Pros: This app is free.
Cons: Not everyone has a Google account so may need to set one up to use.
This weekend I will be performing in the violin section for the Holland Symphony Orchestra - Classics II Concert. I hope to see some of you there. It is going to be fantastic!!
More info HERE.
As some of you may know, Music Theory (the explanations and meanings about how music works, and the science and notations that explain it) really interests me. In college, music theory was somewhat of a challenge to me. Because it was such a challenge to me, I ended up taking more of an interest in it after college. I see now how vital this knowledge is for young musicians. I have grown passionate about incorporating music theory into every lesson I teach. No matter what age or level of my students, I try to include theory. To be a fully engaged and educated musician, it is important to understand the language of music. Understanding theory helps one relate to other instrumentalists in any genre or style. It can be so easy to fall into the trap of ‘I’m learning the violin’, and then only think about playing the instrument. In reality, being an instrumentalist is just one part of being a musician. Yes, you need to learn the intricacies of your instrument. But what about rhythm, scales, intervals, harmonies, chords, vocabulary, ear training and notation?
Recently I have found some more great resources to use during lessons. If you have questions about them, please let me know.
For me, there will always be more to learn. This is somewhat intimidating, but also exciting!
Happy Thursday everyone!!
Last weekend I purchased some flowers at the Fulton St. Farmer's Market and had the urge to do something creative. Enjoy some pictures I took of my violin with these beauties.
What is your theme song for September? Do you ever go through old CDs, playlists, or memories and see certain songs linked to certain times in your life? Music can shape our seasons, and reflect the time of life we are in. It can trigger memories and emotions. Or the reverse, memories and emotions can trigger a song to resonate with us. What song is your theme song for September 2017? Maybe it's not just one, maybe it's a genre, maybe it's an artist, maybe it's multiple. Comment below what your September Songs are.
Students, Friends, & Followers....I highly recommend you all check out the following group: ESME.
ESME stands for Eclectic String Music Ensemble. They are an amazing group. Gene Hahn on violin and Jeremy Crosmer on cello are two amazingly talented musicians and composers/arrangers. To my students, I highly recommend their CD. Be on the lookout for some of their educational opportunities as well. You can follow them on Facebook here: www.facebook.com/esmelivemusic
On Thursday, August 17th I was able to see and hear The Piano Guys at the Red Rocks Amphitheatre with a dear friend. It was an amazing experience for two reasons, the setting & the performance.
First off, Red Rocks Amphitheatre is a venue like none other! It is a venue built into the unique sandstone cliff formations just 15 miles west of Denver, Colorado. At 6,450 above sea level it is a zone between the Great Plains and the Rocky Mountains, very different terrain than that of Grand Rapids, Michigan at 640 ft. above sea level. The land for the Red Rocks Amphitheatre was purchased in 1927 and formally dedicated in June of 1941 and has a capacity for 9,525 people.
The rock formations are beautiful and at night you are able to see the city lights of Denver. During this particular concert, we even saw two shooting stars in the night sky! It was absolutely stunning. The cliffs are made of Aztec Sandstone. The stone is often red due to iron oxide - rust, and other minerals in the rock.
As for the performance, The Piano Guys are one of those classically trained groups of musicians that are being innovative with their performances. I love that they use their knowledge of old and new and find a way to harmonize them together, literally and figuratively. They are not only gifted musicians, but they are also talented and funny stage performers sure to keep a captive audience. I was intrigued to find out that their group was formed as they tried to find new and interesting ways to sell pianos by creating YouTube videos of performances in unexpected places. What a great success story & what a great experience!
Enjoy some pictures :)
Exciting news, I've been able to work with Ariel Vincent and Zhaojin Xiang on a recording session. If you would like to check it out go to the link below and scroll down to 'Classy Classical': https://www.arielvincentmedia.com/audio
Larissa Fall, Violinist
Zhaojin Xiang, Pianist
Ariel Vincent, Recording Artist
I work for the Grand Rapids Symphony, and in the summer we have a concert series called Picnic Pops. It is such a fun experience to be outdoors and hear fabulous live music. Enjoy some pictures I took of the Women Rock concert in July. These vocalists had some powerful voices and I loved the rock genre with a live symphony orchestra. The technical skill of the symphony players mixed with the powerful vocals were a great combination! If you are a student, Picnic Pops is a great event to go to. We have an instrument petting zoo station where you can test out all different types of orchestral instruments including - violin, viola, cello, bass, flute, trumpet, french horn, and trombone. Check out the Grand Rapids Symphony's website for more information on our educational concerts.
I attended another fantastic concert this summer: 2Cellos @ 20 Monroe Live. Luka Sulic and Stjepan Hauser are both classically trained cellists who arrange popular music for 2 cellos. They bring high energy performance to the forefront of their brand. Not only are they technically skilled, they are also talented performers who bring high energy and comedy to their shows. It was great to hear them live at 20 Monroe Live. They performed on electric cellos at this particular concert. I enjoy that they bring so many genres of music together and with a high level of skill.
Enjoy some pictures from The Moxie Strings Concert at Meijer Gardens. What a beautiful summer evening! Great music from both The Moxie Strings and The Dave Sharp World's Quintet.
Follow my studio blog for tips, tricks, & performance updates.