Studio News – Term 3 – updated 12 Sept

We had a fabulous online concert on Monday, well done everyone, it was really enjoyable.

Good news – in-person lessons are back, from Monday 13th September.

Term starts on Monday 12th July, and ends on Friday 17th September.

The Music Olympics personal best practice challenge is ready to go! Can you start today?


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Group lesson & concert dates, please arrive 15 minutes early for tuning.

Group lessons for Book 1/2 students (Buda):
Tuesday 10th August, 4.30 to 5.15 pm At least this went ahead
Tuesday 31st August, 4.30 to 5.15 pm CANCELLED

Trio group lessons for Elsie, Bibby, Owen (19A Brown St):
Monday 9th August, 5.30 to 6.20 pm CANCELLED
Monday 30th August, 5.30 to 6.20 pm CANCELLED

Concert (online):
Monday 6th September, 5.00 to 6.30pm

Listening piece

This term’s listening piece is ‘Simple Symphony’ by Benjamin Britten.
In the first video here, Douglas Bostock talks about the music, and the string orchestra play excerpts to demonstrate his points.

Here are some questions about the music, please write down your answers and bring to your next lesson:

1. What are the instruments being played?
2. What are the names of the four movements?
3. What technique is used throughout the 2nd movement, and sometimes in the 1st movement?
4. Which movements are the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra playing?

Performances on YouTube:

July 2020

Welcome to Term 3 of violin lessons, this term runs from 13 July to 16 September.

At this stage we are continuing with face-to-face lessons, though it is possible that Zoom lessons will return, depending on the virus situation in our region. It doesn’t look likely that we will return to group lessons this term, instead I will ask everyone to record a piece and we will share these recordings. So you’ll be able to see what pieces everyone is playing. As I said, everyone made progress in Term 3, well done.

Of course if any of us have cold or flu symptoms we should stay home, and it’s okay to request a Zoom lesson even at short notice.

I will consider requests to have a Zoom lesson every other week if you would like that. It is good to change the Zoom audio settings to maximize the sound of the violin, and consider buying an external microphone to improve your sound.

There are new pieces in the Scores page, they are Angeline the Baker, De Colores, Moon and Seven Stars, Spotted Pony. These pieces are fun and easy, please print and learn one or two if you are at or past Minuet 1. Links to audio or video performances will be in the Performance Links page.

On 16th July  a new Parent’s Course for Suzuki parents is starting online, by Suzuki Teacher Trainer Zohara Rotem. I can personally recommend Zohara, one of Suzuki Music’s top Teacher Trainers with tons of experience and insights. The course has a fee, I am sure it will be worth it. See the link below.

It’ll cover all Suzuki points ( good for new AND old parents) and will be addressing many issues concerning these challenging times. If you need time to consider and start the course late there will be replays to watch.

Please take care to wash hands before lessons, or use the hand sanitizer in the studio, and keep violins and bows clean.

Looking forward to making music again!

June 12, 2020

We have now resumed face-to-face lessons.

Thank you for your tremendous patience and good humour which has made the Zoom and Skype lessons reliable and productive.

Some students worked so well they have progressed to the next Suzuki book, congratulations to Ruben (now in Book 3). Others are about to start the next book and are working hard towards that goal. We welcome Peggy back to the studio.

We are now nearly at the end of Term 2.

Ten lessons were included in the Term 2 fees, and there are eleven weeks in this term, and there was one public holiday on a Monday.

Therefore students with Tuesday and Wednesday lessons will finish in the week of Friday 19th June. Students who have Monday lessons, who missed a lesson on the 8th June public holiday, will finish in the week of Friday 26th June.

Term 3 starts on Monday 13th July and I expect group lessons to resume in August, we’re really looking forward to meeting up as a group again, catching up and seeing the amazing progress everyone has made.

Group lessons are on Thursday afternoons at Buda.
Book 1 students from 4.00 to 4.45 pm.
Book 2+ students from 4.30 to 5.30 pm.

Studio news, March 16, 2020

Skype lessons next week –  The virus news continues to change rapidly. So next week’s lessons will all be given using Skype. I will contact you this week to start the initial Skype contact, then next week each person has their lesson by Skype at their usual time.

This could come in handy in other circumstances also. For example, when you or your child have a slight illness and need to stay home but you feel well enough for a Skype lesson.

Concert –  Unfortunately the concert that was planned for Sunday 22 March is cancelled, due to the coronavirus. It will be rescheduled for a later date.

Term 2 plans, hoping that normal life resumes in time

 ‘Our Golden Thread’ by Wendy Rowlands.

On Saturday 13th June, 7.00 pm, at Castlemaine Town Hall, it is hoped that there will be a combined string quartet and children’s choir concert featuring a new work “Our Golden Thread”. While this concert won’t feature our violin players directly, it features the string orchestra of Castlemaine Secondary College, the Castlemaine Chamber Players string quartet, and massed children’s choir.

If you are in Grades 4, 5 or 6 in a local primary school  you could sing with the choir. Or you could be in the audience!

Informal Solo Concerts
This year, from Term 2 we will have more informal solo concerts, in order to give students more performance practice in a friendly supportive environment. They will be at the same time as our regular group lessons, that is, after school on Thursdays, so there will be three Thursdays a term with after-school violin.

More repertoire
There will be more repertoire taught in addition to the core Suzuki pieces, to excite students with the wonderful range of music available to play, and to improve reading skills.


Events Term 4

End of term party

Let’s finish the violin lesson year with a party!

  • DATE  Thursday 12th December
  • TIME  4.00 pm to 5.30 pm
    If you can’t come for the whole time, drop in when you can
  • PLACE  At my house
  • Snacks provided
  • Music games
  • Bring your instrument

Concert report

We had a terrific concert on 26th October at Buda garden room. Almost everyone was able to be there and each student played a solo as well as playing in many group items.

Pauline on piano and Paul on guitar were our supporting artists. For our advanced ensemble we featured gypsy jazz tunes, with some improvised solos. We also presented a version of Chopsticks that had Butterfly Twinkles in, and the ‘Baby is Sleeping’ Twinkle variation was reworked as a tango.

Solos included La Folia from Book 6 and group items included The Two Grenadiers by Robert Schumann.

A delicious afternoon tea and the garden surrounds of Buda made this a great way to celebrate the achievements of our Suzuki violin studio.

Term 4 dates

Term 4 starts Monday 7th October
Term 4 ends Friday 13th December