When Private Lessons End: The Art of Saying Goodbye border=0 align=

When Private Lessons End: The Art of Saying Goodbye

May 23, 2022, 12:24 PM · There are many good reasons why private music lessons come to an end. Oftentimes a student is heading off to college. Perhaps another teacher might be more appropriate to address a specific need. Maybe other priorities make it impossible to sustain regular practice. In some cases, the student just wants to give up the violin.

There are also times when private lessons end because expectations aren’t met on one side or the other. The student or their parents may feel that enough progress isn’t being made. The teacher may believe they aren’t effectively communicating with the student. Or the chemistry just isn’t quite right.

Whether lessons stop for "good" or "less than good" reasons, it’s important to end the relationship in a manner that’s supportive of the student and respectful of the teacher.

Across a decade of teaching, I’ve learned there’s an art to a meaningful goodbye. In some cases, I’ve had months to plan the ending. In others, I’ve received an email out of the blue stopping lessons immediately. Regardless of the timing, saying goodbye is difficult. You’re not just saying farewell to a student, you’re saying goodbye to that period of your teaching, to the entire family, and, in some cases, to the hopes and dreams you had for the student’s musical future. There’s also the financial element. Teaching privately is a business. Finding a student to fill an open spot takes time and energy.

Through my past experiences (and my imperfections), I’ve come up with a few guidelines I remind myself of when it’s time to say goodbye: Keep reading...

Winners announced in the 2022 Fischoff Chamber Music Competition

May 22, 2022, 7:35 PM · Congratulations to the winners in the 49th annual Fischoff Chamber Music Competition, in which 55 ensembles from around the world competed last week, May 20-22 at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana.

Top winners in the strings divisions included the New York City-based Terra String Quartet, who won the Grand Prize Medal ($10,000 award) as well as the Gold Medal in the Senior String Division. The Olive Trio, based at The Colburn School Music Academy in Los Angeles, won the Gold Medal in the Junior String Division. Keep reading...

V.com weekend vote: Do you prefer to play difficult, or easily do-able music?

May 22, 2022, 1:15 PM · I definitely go through phases in my practicing and music-making where I crave the challenge of something difficult; then other times I'd simply like to enjoy the skills I have and play something that is comfortably do-able.

Of course, the thresholds of "difficult" and "doable" will be different for every player. The "doable" music for someone who plays in the New York Philharmonic might be the "difficult" music for a college student or dedicated amateur musician. The "doable" music for a college student might be extremely challenging for someone who has been playing only for a few years.

Within those parameters of your own playing and progress, what is your inclination, at the moment? Do you wish to enjoy and improve on the do-able, or to push your limits with something that feels more difficult and challenging? What are the things that motivate you to try the "difficult"? What benefits do you derive from playing the "easily do-able"? Please participate in the vote, then share your thoughts on finding the balance between "difficult" and "do-able."


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Yura Lee Named Principal Violist of Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra

May 19, 2022, 9:38 PM · The Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (LACO) has appointed Yura Lee its new Principal Violist, announced Music Director Jaime Martín and Executive Director Ben Cadwallader on Thursday.

“The depth, breadth, versatility and sensitivity of Yura Lee’s artistry, the purity of her tone, her collaborative spirit, and exceptional leadership will contribute greatly to the Orchestra’s distinctive sound and character,” said Martín. “LACO’s artists are celebrated for their musical virtuosity and individuality, qualities Yura notably embodies as well.”

Lee, who divides her time between Los Angeles and Portland, begins her new post in the 2022-23 season. The Principal Viola chair at LACO has been vacant since December 2021. The musician who previously served as LACO's principal viola was Erik Rynearson. Keep reading...

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