New recordings for my beginner students

I have recently made and posted recordings of the pieces that my beginner students play! These recordings are slower than the recordings available on the Suzuki Book 1 CD, and also include music that I use that is not found in the Suzuki books.

Violin music is available here and viola music is available here.

Check back soon for Book 1 pieces!

What I’ve been listening to lately

…in this crazy back-to-school week, no less.

1) Paul Simon, “Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard”; its jangliness suits my schedule right about now.

2) Bill Ricchini, a local singer-songwriter on whose upcoming album I’ve been laying down the violin and viola tracks.  This track, “A cold wind will blow through your door,” was on Grey’s Anatomy last year!

3) Balkan Beat Box, “Bulgarian Chicks.” All the cool young Jews are doing it.  Plus, being of Albanian descent I get happy when “Balkan” is used in a neutral or positive manner, instead of “look at how crazy that place is!”

4) Gregorian chant. This one in particular is the famous “Dies irae.” Can you tell I’m taking a class on medieval and Renaissance music?


The New York Times ran a few music-oriented articles over the past several days that I think are worth highlighting:

  • Carleen Hutchins, a fantastic violin maker (and a violist!) passed away recently after a long and innovative life.  String players–especially violists like myself–know that the instrument designs we’ve been handed down through the centuries are acoustically imperfect.  (This is why violists are always looking for the biggest instrument we can physically handle.  The viola would technically need to be much bigger in order for its acoustics to be ideal, and we wouldn’t be able to play it under the chin then, so we try to get as close as possible.)  Hutchins pioneered research into the minutiae of string acoustics and reimagined the string family–something that hasn’t been done for hundreds of years, essentially since Stradivari.  Now I want to play some of her creations!
  • Will the baby boomers get over Woodstock already?!  Let’s hope we’re not rhapsodizing over Lollapalooza and Bonnaroo like this in 40 years.  Yes, Woodstock was important, but the overly romantic way in which writers of that generation treat it is just absurd and typical boomer narcissism.  I’m happy that at least some of the Room for Debate bloggers acknowledge this.
  • It makes me cry a little inside every time I hear about an instrument mistreated like this.  The story of how this Irish harp, made by the influential Dublin craftsman John Egan, ended up in a dumpster but was rescued and is now being restored, is inspirational in the cheesiest sense, but I love it.

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