All posts by hannahviolin

I am a violinist. I also enjoy running, working out, reading, and hanging with my friends and cat.

What is this all about?

Today I have been thinking about this blog, and what I want it to reflect.  I sometimes forget how far reaching my audience can be!  Of course, I KNOW that anyone can read this, and Yes, I do have the address in my email signature, but I am excited to know that people ARE reading it!  Thank you.

That said, how can I keep people reading this?  How can I make my blog worth reading and interesting, without being too offensive?  I have no intention of offending people, even you brides who want your weddings outside in October!  (Seriously though, do remember that it is not always beautiful and pleasant then, so PLEASE have a back up plan, even as simple as having portable heaters).  I don’t even want to offend conductors or reviewers, even though as a musician, you are not always my friend.  We are all on the same side however, in that we want to grow our audiences, and we want people to love music as MUCH as we love music (oh, and we do, we DO!  and we feel if you just understand the music even a little bit like we do, you will love it too!)

I think though, my main point of this blog, is to satisfy my urge of writing things down, my urge to be heard, and perhaps to entertain and inform.  If you learn something you didn’t know about violin, violin teaching, violin lessons, weird internet women (that would be me), or…anything at all, then perhaps your day is just a little bit better.  I consider the search for more knowledge, on all subjects, to be of utmost importance.  Learning makes us better.

So there you have it.  First, do no harm.  Second, learn something.  No reader left behind!

Pines of Rome

I wasn’t going to go to the SLSO for awhile (the concerts kept making me VERY angry, for personal and professional reasons) BUT last night they were playing Pines of Rome by Ottorino Respighi, one of my favorite pieces. I have played it many times (probably a dozen, at least). I have played first violin, second violin, every different divisi possible plus the solos. In any case, I’m glad I went last night, because I hadn’t SEEN it performed before (that I recall, at least). WOW. It was super intense and awesomely loud, and just wonderfully enjoyable all around. I can’t use enough superlatives to describe the feeling of being in the audience for Pines of Rome. I’m glad I put my pettyness aside and went to the concert!

Group Class Observation

I get so freaked out by the idea of teaching [Suzuki] group classes.  I’m sure it’s because I just haven’t done it very many times (once, really, to be official).

This morning I observed the class I will be teaching for my videotape (in the next few weeks, evidently).  The teacher was wonderful with the group, and the kids were both very cute and pretty responsive as well.  I took tons of notes (as usual!) and got several new ideas of things to do.  I started feeling more confident about the class since the teacher made it look so easy to teach them.  Of course,  it’s because she’s an experienced teacher, and has tons of ideas and THUSLY is able to seamlessly move from activity to activity, quickly moving on from something that doesn’t work before the kids notice a problem.  I also feel like I need more, new ideas, but probably at this point, I just need to really KNOW the ideas I have observed, and be able to pull them out of a hat, so to speak.  Like private teaching, I’m sure group teaching is a skill that just takes practice, and I just need more of it.

I have confidence?

From the Post Dispatch review of Winter Opera St. Louis’s performance last weekend (of Massenet’s Werther):

In the pit, Scott Schoonover offered rather choppy conducting of the lush score, but the 22-piece orchestra did a good job, with some really lovely moments.

I’ll absolutely take credit for those “lovely moments” as concertmaster, though I really don’t see how the reviewer was able to notice “choppy” conducting when the orchestra didn’t reflect anything of the sort.  Either I’m just that good, or really, reviewers have very little idea of what they are talking about and need to fill a certain amount of room?  I do think I should have been mentioned by name for my “really lovely” solos though 😉

I’m trying to bring a certain amount of aggression and confidence into my teaching, playing, and life.  (I was testing it out in the previous paragraph!) My trainer is encouraging me to be more aggressive in my workouts, and I am trying to bring my workouts into my life.  I could probably use a bit more aggression, or at least a bit more confidence and assurance, in my life…I guess I’ll add that to the list of “tweaks” I am trying to make!  This whole adulthood thing just keeps getting more challenging.  Or I just need to remember, no one is really paying attention to me after all, so no need to worry what they think.  (But…are people reading my blog?  Then YOU are paying attention, right?).

Save the date:  February 28.  Quartet concert at St. Margaret of Scotland Church.  With members of the SLSO in addition to a couple of just awesome freelancers (including me).  Time TBA but afternoon (baby steps, I know!).

The semester begins!

I had my first Suzuki Pedagogy class of the year on Thursday.  Most of the class was spent settling on deadlines for various projects.  Lucky for me, I get to record another private lesson AND a group class…I don’t even teach group classes, so the thought of this makes me a WEE bit nervous.  My only redeeming thought is that the recordings from last year weren’t nearly as awful to do and watch as I thought they would be, so maybe it won’t be that bad.

I’ve (almost definitely) set a date for a Quartet recital at the end of February!  We will be playing at St. Margaret of Scotland Church, and I’ll keep you all posted as to personnel, repertoire, etc, as it unfolds.  I have so many repertoire ideas, it’s a challenge narrowing things down now, and making it into a (somewhat) cohesive program.  It should be fun for us and our audience as well.

Snowy days, cloudy thoughts

It’s a snow day tomorrow for me!  And by that, I mean, I’m totally off anyway (except a makeup student) so I won’t have to go anywhere.  The first snow of the season really (take THAT, Cleveland!).

I’m doing a whole gym thing for my New Year’s.  Not  a resolution, just a new thing (to say otherwise would feel lame).  I’m getting a few (perhaps more, depending) personal training sessions as part of my sign up package, and it’s been fantastic.  I never participated in sports in my life, or any sort of athletic pursuit really, so it’s interesting to compare teaching techniques.  The one thing I was considering in my teaching today was making my students repeat things just a few times more than they wanted.  Or maybe I was just in a bad mood and wanted to make them miserable.

My trainer thinks that I give up on things before I’m actually fatigued, as in, my brain tells me I’m tired.  I wonder what, if any, truth there is to that statement, and if so, how that could affect my violin practice as well.  With violin, I’m always trying to be careful with my time as to avoid injury (which evidently I have been so prone in the past) and trying to remain relaxed.  At the gym, I am (evidently) meant to completely shred my muscles as to allow them to rebuild and become stronger.  So the approach is obviously different, but the idea of repetition and pushing oneself still holds.  Doing just a bit more than you think you can.

This can open up a whole can of worms involving my perception of my physical abilities (which I have always considered to be quite low, for the record).  It also makes me think about my learning style, and being a student.  I am a very “good” student, which means I am eager to please and do exactly what (I perceive) the teacher wants.

This blog might be a different style than my previous posts (or not…meh, who am I to judge, DEAR READER) but I think it’s time to kick things up a notch.  What do you think?

By the way, I am eagerly looking to acquire a few more students (South City, St. Louis or School of Ballet in Chesterfield), so if you or anyone are interested, please contact me for more information (  No previous musical experience required, all ages!