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Category Archives for "violin"

Apr 09

Alpert Studio at 2011 Solofest Competition

By billalpert | Studio News , violin , voice

Alpert studio solofest, Jessica Chao, Kelly Muller, Kensey Petschow
Jessica Chao, Kelly Muller, Kensey Petschow at Solofest 2011

A heart round of congratulations to Alpert Studio Students Jessica Chao (violin), Kelly Muller and Kensey Petschow (voice) who each won their respective divisions at the San Bernardino County Music Educators Association Solofest Competition. Accomplished students Lissette Garrido and Miranda Ford also participated in the event. We’re proud of their accomplishments and their dedication to musical art.

The studio wishes to thank the SBCMEA, the event adjudicators and the Cal State University Music Department for sponsoring this worthwhile event. A special thank you to pianist and accompanist Janet Noll for her untiring support of our students. Kudos to all for a job well done!

Kelly Muller, Alpert Studio, Solofest
Kelly Muller Performs

Apr 03

Alpert Studio at Suzuki Graduation 2011

By billalpert | Student News , violin

Suzuki Graduation 2011
Pictured: Jessica Chao, Violin at SMAC-LA Graduation-Colburn School pictured with Bill Alpert

Congratulations to violinist Jessica Chao upon the event of her participation in the Suzuki Music Association of California’s Los Angeles Graduation event at the Colburn School. Jessica, age 10, was honored with the unusual distinction of successfully completing two volumes of Suzuki repertoire in a single year.

Kudos to Jessica for her accomplishments and to the Chao family for their dedication to her success. We expect to see Jessica at more such graduations, along with many of her fellow Alpert Studio Students. Bravo!

Jan 10

How to buy a cheap violin without getting burned

By billalpert | Bill Alpert Journal , violin

I recently received this question from an adult violin student:

Thanks so much for your help. I am a 54 year old male … who in Sept. 2010 began playing the violin in a group strings program at. We have group lessons twice a week. I had decided to begin learning to play the viola also and need to buy a viola, 16.5 I think. There are so many brands including Franz Hoffman, Klaus Mueller, Palatino, Yin-Yin,  etc. I need an inexpensive instrument and was considering the Yin-Yin or Mueller Prelude, or Franz Hoffman. Shar Music has Franz Hoffman, Instrumental and Southwest have the other brands but I can’t find any kind of review of the various brands. Can you help with a resource for reviews or give me some direction in this? –John

Thankfully, today there are more resources than ever to obtain a quality violin or viola on a tight budget. This is especially true since factory made instruments imported from China have dramatically improved in recent years. This article from Strings Magazine tells the story, as directs you to additional resources that you’ll find helpful.

Remember, it’s easy to be fooled by appearances, so if you’re not certain about the craftsmanship of any instrument, be sure to have it checked by a luthier or professional player/teacher who you trust. The cost to remediate a poorly made violin can easily exceed what you paid for it. I’d suggest avoiding private party sellers on e-Bay. Stick with a known dealer with a clearly defined return or trial policy.

Jan 04

Parents as Partners Online Program

By billalpert | Events , Studio News , violin

The Alpert Studio is proud to offer this innovative program free of charge to its family of violin students:

Parents as Partners.png

To view 4 minute video click here

Parents As Partners Online starts January 17 and runs through February 28.

Informative talks on various parent education and Suzuki education topics will be published each week. Video sessions are 10 to 20 minutes each. Participants can access the site at any time, day or night, to take advantage of these informative, inspiring, and concise presentations. Once published, everything will remain online until the end on February 28.

We aim to nurture the parent side of the Suzuki triangle on such invaluable subjects as:

  • Practice: building a strong parent-child relationship; managing frustration; strategies for creating a successful practice
  • Repetition and Review: the whys and hows
  • Balancing Busy Schedules
  • Reflections and advice on the Suzuki Journey
  • Managing the Teenager Years: The Road to Independence
  • The Changing Role of the Parent
  • The Importance of Listening
  • Childhood Memories of Dr. Suzuki
  • Institute Experiences: What it’s all about
  • What Current Publications are saying about “Talent”

Once you’ve registered, you’ll receive emails with schedule details and other information when available. Online discussions, video presentations, and special “events” are just a few of the opportunities to expect.

For more information contact Bill Alpert: bill at

Jun 17

Listen and Learn

By billalpert | violin

I’m always impressed by what my violin students are doing, though today I was extra impressed by 8 year old Zachary. I’d been wondering how well he’s been keeping up with his listening assignments and today I found out.

I played the opening notes of two separate end of Suzuki Book 1 songs that Zach has yet to study. He was able to pick out the remaining notes of both songs without any assistance. He had absorbed them simply by listening.

Need to learn a new piece? Start by listening, listening, listening. Listening works in amazing ways.

Jun 06

Summer Institute Time

By billalpert | violin

By Teri Einfeldt, extracted from SAA Website

At least two Alpert Studio students will be attending a summer Suzuki institute this summer. Here are some tips to assist your institute experiences.

Tips for the home teacher:

Explain to the student and parent that the purpose of a master class is not to learn new pieces.

Define and help student prepare a polished piece to play for the private lesson/master class. Often a good guideline is a piece four pieces behind the one on which they are currently working. The home teacher should designate this piece before the student leaves for the institute, and the piece must be in the Suzuki repertoire (even for advanced students).

Students should be expected to practice daily for the master class (and other classes, as well) during the Institute. Parents should take careful notes. The home teacher should be given a copy of the notes after the institute for their own reference.

The student may be asked to do something differently at the Institute—this is a good thing!

Make sure the students arrive with proper equipment:

CD and player or iPod to listen to their piece. Suzuki Books.
Piano Accompaniment, especially for any additional piece outside of the Suzuki repertoire. Metronome and Tuner. Rosin. A properly prepared instrument. Put on new strings, consider getting the bow rehaired before the institute. Check over your equipment!

Let students know beforehand whether they are ready for a new instrument or not. Often, vendors will attract students to upgrades that they are not quite ready for.

Let them know whether to accept instrument setup advice from the institute teacher.

Give the student questions to ask the institute teacher, when appropriate, concerning ongoing issues (such as posture, vibrato, set-up, etc).

Be content with ensemble placements. Remember that this is not the most important part of the Institute, and the chamber repertoire will require additional practice time.
Create an institute checklist to ensure that you have everything you need for a productive and fun week!

Apr 22

Performing in the Now

By billalpert | Bill Alpert Journal , violin

The panicked questions arrived:

I am 14, I and I will be taking my ABRSM Grade 8 exam on Thursday and I am very worried about it. My pieces are fine, my scales are o.k…
I am a very last minute person, yet a perfectionist which is what I absolutely hate about myself. I am terrible at sight reading and I did my Grade 5 Theory when I was 9 and got a Merit. However five years later, I can’t remember anything at all and it has affected my Aural Training where I am required to recognize Cadences and Modulations. I don’t even know why I’m telling you all this but I’ve resolved to Google to try and solve my problems because I am in absolute desperation. My teacher is quite pleased with my work and everyone keeps telling me that my exam will be fine but I keep doubting myself and I really don’t know what will happen.

My question now is, How can I “get into the music” when I’m playing? When i play I stand up stiff as ever, occasionally I sway and my eyes are always closed but I just don’t know how to feel the music… Any suggestions?

There are many resources to help us relax and focus while performing. Yoga, meditation and breathing practice as well as jogging are helpful. A good diet, and avoidance of caffeine also help. Avoid eating just before performing. A light meal 3 or 4 hours before works well for me. Books such as The Inner Game of Music and A Soprano on Her Head are worth reading.

Learning how to practice correctly is HUGE. Last minute is not the right approach. When you’re on stage, what you are playing should be comfortable in every sense of the word. Avoid performance situations that are likely to go wrong. Yes, take chances on stage, but make them sensible. Practice only so long as you getting results and feeling focussed.

Go deep in the music you select. Choose pieces than inspire you. Learn a lot about the composer and his world.

Beyond that, I hear a lot of stress in this violinist’s question. As a musician, are you willing to accept where you are now? To be OK with what you’ve accomplished to date, and have faith that others will enjoy what you alone can share musically? It’s *you* that must be pleased with your work. Release any attachment to how you think you should be playing and go with the way things are NOW. Fighting with the present only makes the present worse.

Your teacher should help you select music that is appropriate for your current level of technique and musical maturity. Go on stage ready to enjoy the performance, and just let the music happen. In short, play what you can play well, and be happy.

Apr 05

Alpert Studio Spring Recital Announced

By billalpert | Events , violin , voice

spring music.jpg

Mark your calendars!

The Alpert Studio Spring ’10 Recital will be held on Saturday, May 15th at 3:00 p.m. All voice and violin students are required to participate.

Recital Rehearsal (with piano) will be held on Friday, May 15, between 3:30 and 6:00 p.m. for voice students and between 6:00 to 6:30 p.m. for violinists. You will be assigned an approximate arrival time at your lesson prior to the event.

Let’s all prepare for a wonderful and enjoyable event, in a fun and supportive environment. So polish up your song and get ready to perform!