Emails were sent on August 15th with studio documents attached that include all you need to know about School-Year 2021-2022 lessons and masterclasses. With the exception of the swap list, these documents are also posted below. Lessons begin on Monday, August 30th. 

The best time to get your instrument check up is while you are away on vacation. As an example, Mrs. Fall will be taking her violin and viola to the shop for a check-up, adjustment, touch-up of little dings in the varnish, and bow rehairs. She’ll pick everything back up when she returns from vacation. While away, the instruments will be stored in a safe, climate-controlled space, and the luthier will have plenty of time to do the work. Win-win! 

If you have not taken your instrument and bow to the shop in a year, please do so to make sure everything is in order when school and lessons resume. 

Click here for 2023 Summer Lesson Letter

Click here for 2022-2023 Studio Cover Letter

Click here for 2022-2023 Studio Policies

Click here for 2022-2023 Performance Masterclass Schedule and Group Assignments

Click here for 2022-2023 Studio Calendar 

Click here for 2022-2023 Student Registration Form

Click here for NVMTA General Recital Information

Click here for NVMTA Judged Recital Information

Click here for Directions to Leewood Healthcare Center

Click here for Directions to Woman's Club of Arlington

Click here for Directions to Jordan Kitts

Click here for Directions to Music Spectrum School for the Arts

Click here for Directions to First Baptist Church - Springfield

Click here for Directions to Bethlehem Lutheran Church

Grit and Mindset and Disposition, Oh My!

Excellent reading for parents to understand the learning process

Getting Kids To Practice Music — Without Tears Or Tantrums
Regular practicing is a path towards self-discipline that goes way beyond music — it's a skill that has hugely positive ramifications for personal fulfillment and lifetime success. But the trick is that self-motivated discipline isn't exactly first nature for most kids, so it's up to families to help create positive, engaging and fun ways to practice as a path towards self-motivation. This article gives great advice for parents!

Twelve Ways to Encourage Children to Practice

Excellent advice! 

The Motivation to Practice Should Come from the Student – Not the Parent or Teacher

Food for thought for parents!

Ten Reasons to Let Your Kid Major in Music

Many parents struggle with the thought of their child choosing to major in music, and where that will lead. In this Forbes Magazine article, author Liz Ryan shows appreciation for those fears, but gives ten great reasons for why students should be allowed to follow through with college plans as a music major.

Bravo to John, who was awarded FIRST PLACE in the Low Strings Senior Division of the NVMTA Strings Achievement Competition!!  Below photo with John and his $300 competition award check!!

                                 John with Check

Winter is Coming! Here is a great blog post from Johnson String Instruments to help you with winter care of your instruments. Please read!! 

Recommended Summer Camps This is a list of camps that I highly recommend. Web link to each camp is included. Contact me if you have questions about the listed camps. 

Good Practice Ideas! Great advice from students of the 2022-2023 Fall Studio!! #ProudTeacher :-)

Practice Strategies!  This PDF document has 2 pages of incredibly useful ideas for practicing, with lists of suggestions for practicing fingerings, rhythm, tempo, intonation, articulation, tone, bowings, phrasing, and dynamics. Thanks to FCPS teacher, Katie LaBrie. Check out her website, Practice with Purpose: The Big IDEA.

10 Easy Ways to Optimize Your Music Practice. NPR published these ideas for how to practice effectively. These tips are effective for anyone who plays an instrument or sings.

Audition Tips! Great advice for how to prepare for your next audition! 

Tony's Top 10 Practice Tips

Practice Techniques from Bullet-Proof Musician

Memorizing Music: NVMTA piano teacher's step-by-step approach to memorizing music

Make the Rounds. The final step once you have your music ready to perform. Check to make sure you are physically relaxed and ready to perform. 

Perfect Strangers: A change in mindset can unlock the potential that your perfectionism is holding back!

8 Practice Hacks Dr. Noa Kagayama has written an excellent pamphlet on how to practice effectively. It's an easy read and full of GREAT suggestions. I recommend that EVERY student (and parents!) read it, print it out and keep it handy! 

The Importance of Slow Practice
Chinese cellist, Jian Wang, speaks about slow practice, and why his method of practicing of hand movements has its origin in the jungle.

Make the Most of Your Practice Time
Readers of The Strad magazine submit questions and get answers from experts. This question about using practice time to prepare for an upcoming performance elicits some excellent advice! A must read!

Click here for Important Advice on Instrument Care & Maintenance. 

 Tips for Proper Bow Maintenance

There’s more to looking after your bow than simply replacing the hair. Pam Baumgartel gives advice on everything from monitoring straightness to identifying cracks.

How Often Should You Rehair Your Bow?

Three experts in the field answer this question from a reader of The Strad magazine. Great information and advice!

“Violin (Tennis) Elbow” and How to Treat It 

Pain = NO GAIN. Here is a good article with stretching exercises to treat Violin Elbow. These exercises are also beneficial for preventing injury. 

How to Deal with a Buzz
It's frustrating when your instrument has a "buzz." This article gives advice on how to find the source of that annoying buzz.

Ways to Practice Groups of 3 & 4

8 Ways to Vary Your Vibrato 
Tips from seven leading pedagogues for varying vibrato speed, width, pressure and direction to produce an infinite range of color contrasts.

6 Ways to Perfect Your Double Stops
Excellent advice from The Strad’s archive on producing even and finely tuned double stops.

 Should You Be Practicing Right Now?

 Practice Flow Chart

 5-Way Practice: Creative practice ideas from Rebecca Henry to make practice more fun! 

Playing Music with Different Characteristics 
Itzhak Perlman in a masterclass explains to a group of 10-year-olds how musicians can change the sound of any piece with different characteristics. Be sure to watch to the end to see Maestro Perlman play the opening of the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto FUNNY. He nails it!

Anytune and Anytune Pro+ Apps for iPhone and iPad can slow down your music recordings for play-along practice. Read this blog post for the review and to learn how to use these great new apps.

 Expressive Intonation

Playing in tune is not enough. Sometimes we need to “bend” notes one way or another to be truly expressive in our playing. This article describes how Pablo Casals used the skill known as “expressive intonation.”

Rebecca Henry Viola Masterclass: Excellent Bowing and Tone Advice! Click here to watch the video. 

 Click here to watch Itzhak Perlman explain how to hold the bow. He calls it a bow "grip." I prefer the more relaxed word bow "hold" to keep from tightly gripping the bow. 

Bow Strokes demonstrated. Click here to watch the video.

Aaron Rosand on Vibrato
Concert violinist and teacher, Aaron Rosand, discusses how to produce different types of vibrato, how the approach of the hand and fingers to the fingerboard affects vibrato, and the use of vibrato for violinists (also applicable to violists!). Read his blog post here.

Vibrato Exercise from Professor Ole Bohn. Very similar to my "Basic Vibrato Exercises."  Watch the video.

Excellent masterclass on the slow movement excerpt from Beethoven's 5th

The Four Pillars of Professionalism
Important read for musicians at all levels. We musicians are judged by our actions, and our long-term reputations are shaped by our level of professionalism. “It’s vital…that aspiring artists understand and live by…professional standards of conduct.” Read more!

Traveling by Air with Your Instrument

The American Federation of Musicians came out with a very helpful set of tips for air travel with instruments. A must-read before your trip.

Flying with Your Musical Instrument
On December 31, 2014, the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) issued final regulationsto improve travel by air with musical instruments. The rules become effective within 60 days of being published and require major airlines to update their policies and practices. This action comes nearly three years after the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Modernization and Reform Act was signed into law, including a section mandating improved airline policies for musicians traveling with their instruments.

The new rules require airlines to adequately accommodate musical instruments in their formal policies for checked and carry-on baggage, and to ensure that front-line airline personnel consistently apply the policies. The next crucial step will be for the airlines to adopt new policies, make them publicly accessible, and thoroughly train airline personnel.


According to the latest findings from a national survey of more than 33,000 arts alumni, arts graduates, including those who studied music performance, are likely to find jobs after graduation and use their education and training in their occupation. Read more.

Establish Artistic Goals in Your Practice
Chiarra String Quartet violinist, Rebecca Fischer, gives advice on how to develop a daily practice regimen and how to keep practice fresh. Read it here.

Good article on finding the right instrument: How to find a good quality violin, viola or cello for your child.

Click here to read Relaxation Techniques for Singers and All Musicians

Really serious about music school? Read this article to help you prepare for the process. Written by a mom for other parents, but good information for parents AND students! 

Interview with Otakar Ševčík
As my students now know, I learned at the ASTA Conference that I am a Great Grand Student of Otakar Ševčík! I’ve been doing some research about him, and came up with this interesting interview. I am especially interested in what he says about American students (paragraph 3). This is true today! Attending concerts is like giving light to a plant – just as important as feeding and watering (education and practice).

Being the parent of a young musician is hard work! Click herefor a good article that gives some advice for helping your child with practice - without tears.