Frequently Asked Questions
What are your policies and thoughts on recitals, competitions, performances?
I believe that students can't really "practice" performing so we need to actually perform as much as possible! We have multiple studio recitals throughout the year (I think we have 15 total in the 2015-2016 academic year. I also have smaller recitals at Manhattan School of Music through the year, and my students and I discuss which competitions would be best for them. I encourage them to get out into the world and perform and compete! Winning everything is not the goal-- instead, building performance skills, confidence, and freedom on stage.
What is your favorite part of teaching?
I love getting to know the students and families so well. My students are just the most amazing young people. There is always a lot of crying at graduation recitals for the seniors. I also love seeing the musical improvement. When the weight shifting in the bow hand finally works, or vibrato comes alive, or something gives his best performance so far, I am always very excited!
What is your view on master classes?
I want to give my students every possible opportunity while they are in my studio. We have been very fortunate to host such incredible concert artists! Masterclasses offer a unique opportunity to both perform and learn, and to have that magical touch of a concert violinist! The audience learns so much also, so everyone benefits.
Can you speak about practicing?
That's my favorite topic! The main issue with young people and practicing is that they practice mindlessly. One solution to combat mindless practice is to organize! I make a detailed, extensive practice chart online for all of my students. It gives a general assignment (E Minor Scale) but then goes further and reminds the student what he should be thinking about while playing that scale. (Contact point 3! Slow bows, bow division, even vibrato, etc). I have found that my charts take the frustration out of practicing and end a lot of the arguments between parents and violinists. We also spend some lessons just practicing- how slow does "slow" mean, how to practice technically challenging spots, etc.
What is one way you are different from a lot of teachers?
I strongly believe that with students as serious and dedicated as mine are, teaching is not a 1 or 2-hour/week “job”. I like to be really available to my students as much as possible. I enjoy their text updates, email questions, videos, etc. If a student or parent has a question, I would much rather that he email me and ask than wonder or practice incorrectly