I believe it’s impossible to claim you have taught, when there are students who have not learned.

— John Wooden

Hollah, Ms. DeLay, Hollah.

Stumbled across this on a violinist.com post, though it seems totally uncorrelated to the post it is attached to. Here’s more information on Dorthy DeLay. I, probably like many other violinists my age, was lucky enough to be a student of (several) students of Ms. DeLay, so I got a lot of … Continue reading

The rule of…Three!

This is a totally ambiguous, super helpful, and random “rule” that helps both teaching and practice. Everyone knows the best things come in three: These guys:  These things: This show?  Definitely this:  And  Okaay, maybe I got carried away with the “logic” there. The “rule” of three is: Say it, do … Continue reading

Say It Different Ways (and awesome teacher fails)

I used to work with an assistant rowing coach who would shout at the rowers “More dynamic! Not dynamic ENOUGH, MORE DYNAMIC!!”.  I’d see the rowers wildly trying different things with their bodies, trying to please the coach, until they heard “that’s it! That’s it!”. The next day, the whole … Continue reading

Practice at home is a real struggle…time to quit?

One of the reasons we hear in the studio for wanting to quit is “Practice is a nightmare”. Often this is coupled with “my child doesn’t enjoy practice and/or the instrument anymore”. We hear parents often (sort of understandably) make the leap of “doesn’t like lessons” or “doesn’t like practice” to “doesn’t like … Continue reading

Why take music lessons?

Okay, full disclosure, we’re, um, a bit biased. This post will probably get longer and longer, partly because more and more research supports the benefits of playing a musical instrument, and partly because I’m a big fan.  The short version:  Learning an instrument is awesome, supports all kinds of brain … Continue reading

Preparing (or helping your student prepare) for recitals

Beyond the day to day work of learning an instrument, here are some extra ways to prepare for a good recital experience! The following are just some quick suggestions for the mechanics of performance practice, for more on performing also check the Performance Anxiety FAQ. Listen and play. Listen to … Continue reading


While ideally we like playing to be holistic, in reality, different skills happen at different rates for different musicians.  Periodization is a way to avoid injury and burnout by placing emphasis on different skills at different points in the year.  For beginners, the periodization might be less evident, as there … Continue reading

How should parents support lessons at home?

For more on practice and how to practice with your violinist, see here The best help from parents is help with the discipline of practice. It is far better to practice a little bit each day, than in large chunks of time only a few times a week! Just like … Continue reading