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Thought for the Day

Mozart has the classic purity of light and the blue ocean; Beethoven the romantic grandeur which belongs to the storms of air and sea, and while the soul of Mozart seems to dwell on the ethereal peaks of Olympus, that of Beethoven climbs shuddering the storm-beaten sides of Sinai. Blessed be they both! Each represents a moment of the ideal life, each does us good. Our love is due to both.”

Henri Frederic Amiel

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Knilling’s “Perfection” Pegs

I first came across these geared pegs at the CMEA Convention last weekend, and, after handling Knilling’s display violin, I was immediately impressed with the pegs’ fluidity and perfect outward appearance.

These aren’t your regular geared pegs that you find on guitars or string basses! The gears are all on the inside of the peg, and consequently do nothing to harm the instrument, practically or aesthetically. On all four strings, the pegs rotated smooth-like-a-dream (no need for any fine-tuners, not even the E!), and they stayed put: no slipping or sticking, and no need to push into the pegbox while tuning. This is definitely something I’m putting on my wishlist! =)

At, a thread on this very subject had the great pleasure of a visit from Gary Byers, a representative for Knilling’s Perfection Pegs at the manufacturing and marketing level, who answered many questions about these pegs. Click here to read that discussion. Also, you can click here to see Knilling’s own site and to view a trailer about these fantastic pegs.


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Green Rosin?!?

Over the past several months, I have been experimenting with a different brand of rosin. Aside from the attractive and unusual, rich green color and the raving customer reviews, it was on sale, so I thought I’d give it a go. Using it with my set of Pirastro Evah Pirazzi Violin Strings (including my wonderful little E.P. Gold E), I can say now that I’m very much impressed with Jade Rosin. [Update: after much experimenting, I have now settled on using Obligato strings, for now. But Jade rosin is still my favorite! ;)] There truly is a difference in the smoothness of my bowstroke (as compared to the performance of my old amber rosin); the texture of the bow’s feel across the strings is less rocky, more like silk.

As one customer, Jessica Fu, has said, “It is the absolute smoothest rosin EVER . . . [my bow] glides so effortlessly over my strings.” Jessica found that the increased smoothness “puts a good challenge to controlling my bow and I’m more attentive to detail now.”

Through the use of this quality product, I not only find my general tone much improved, but the high responsiveness of JADE Rosin has encouraged me to be even more creative and discerning with my technique and control.


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“Performing Under Pressure”

I came across a spectacular article by respected violinist, Oliver Steiner. For my students, and for anyone who suffers from anxiety before or during a performance, please click here to read the article.

“Nervousness can co-exist with well controlled, beautiful playing,” Mr. Steiner says. Whatever feelings — whatever butterflies, sweaty palms, or nasty inner voices — may afflict us, if one has prepared well, the feelings need not dictate the outcome of a performance.

Continue reading “Performing Under Pressure”

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CMEA Convention in Pasadena, CA

The California Music Education Association (CMEA) will be holding its 2005 Convention at the Pasadena Convention Center in California. The event is open to everyone, and will provide a myriad of opportunities for anyone interested in music or teaching. There will be students performing, sessions about everything from performing to teaching techniques, important speakers like Barry Green (who wrote the popular book, “The Inner Game of Music”), and exhibits galore! I will be there, representing the ASTA and Cal Poly MENC booths. Click here for more information.

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Praise for!

Recently I have had the pleasure of exploring a new site on the web: This site provides a wealth of information about violin technique. In fact, if it were not for it’s carefully organized menus, one could become lost in the numerous and detailed examples, charts, exercises, videos, and explanations.

When first encountering, you may choose to explore its repertoire lists, upcoming competitions and auditions, and practice suggestions. Or, clicking on Master classes will take you to a list of instrumental technique-areas, such as Left Hand, Right Hand, Intonation, etc. Each category of study features a lovely video to clearly illustrate ideas, suggestions, and exercises, and, throughout the site, you can find printable templates as aids for various aspects of practice.

For parents who desire to take part in their child’s practice at home and who have questions about technique, for teachers and performers who are always looking for new and creative ideas to hone skill, or for the violin enthusiast who is curious about history, musical structure, or tuning systems, is a must-see!

Also, click here to read about Kurt Sassmannshaus, whose highly respected and knowledgeable pedagogy is the foundation for this well-crafted site.

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Febuary 5th Concert Cancelled

Sadly, the Lori Huff saxophone recital, “An Eclectic Evening”, will not be performed Saturday, Febuary 5th. However, word has it that the event may be picked up again in April, so keep an eye out for any news of a rescheduled date.

In the meantime, why not stop by Cal Poly, Pomona on March 1st to hear the String Ensemble perform their concert, “W.O.W. — Women of the World”, and rediscover “herstory’s” gems of the past and present!

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Two Very Special Concerts

I will be taking part in two upcoming concerts at Cal Poly, Pomona that both promise to be exciting and enlightening evenings.

– On FEBRUARY 5, 8 pm, in the Recital Hall: Lori Huff will be featured in a solo saxophone recital. She has entitled the event, “An Eclectic Evening”, as she has invited many of her friends and colleagues to share the stage with her. For my part, I will be joining her in “Foxtrot”, a sax and violin duet by Michael G. Cunningham. I will also be part of a string quartet which will accompany her on two pieces, including my more intimate re-arrangement of my original composition, “Bleeding Heart”, originally for Soprano Sax and String Orchestra. Also, my arrangement of “Caoineadh Na Mara/Amen” by William Coulter, which I completed specifically at the request of Ms. Huff, will be performed by a host of Cal Poly’s very own faculty. Don’t miss these and many other delightful pieces!

– On MARCH 1, 8pm, in the Recital Hall: The Cal Poly String Ensemble will be performing a concert of music written entirely by women composers, in honor of “Herstory Month”. Director Kay Pech has been lifting the banner for recognition of women composers for the past fifteen years, and has much valuable information to share about the hardships, joys, and immense talent of these women, whose music spans the last 1,000 years! Featured composers include: Hildegard, Clara Schumann, LeBeau, Paradis, Wreede, Meier, Grimani, and Wallin (Yes! We will be performing my composition, “Bleeding Heart”, with Lori Huff on saxophone!). I highly recommend this opportunity to come and explore the little-known music of these fine, historic ladies!