Congratulations to practice champion Frances for completing her 100-day practice challenge this week.
Way to go, Frances! Keep up the great work.
Congratulations to Alexa, who was so excited to complete her first “Twinkler’s Chart” with stickers this week during violin practice. She promised to practice her Twinkle variations and theme every day and she delivered! Mom said she was so excited that she wanted to practice multiple times per day and compete her chart. Way to go, Alexa!
By Rigo Murillo
General Advise On Choosing a Violin:
Young students’ sizes should be determined by the individual teacher. If you are shopping for a violin for a Suzuki student, my personal recommendation is to ALWAYS check with your teacher before you head out shopping for an instrument. Make sure the dealer will let you take it to the teacher for approval as conditional to continue your commitment to rent or buy. Show the violin to your child’s teacher to check on size and playability. Since violin makers don’t have a “standard” set of fractional sizes, there can be a 1/8 violin that is the same size, or even smaller than a 1/10 of another maker. You want your child to have the most ease of playing and a pleasant learning experience.
For the older student, the best option is to take time visiting the shops personally and try several instruments. The shop owners know it’s a crucial decision for the student and parent to get a good fit. They will let you try several models and price ranges, and usually explain the instrument’s origin, construction, and possible usability. The violins should be easy to play, have a well-round sound (they have different character), pleasant to the ear.
It may take more than one visit to a shop to come up with a satisfactory decision. Though all these shops carry good quality instruments, it will take some shopping around to get the best fit for the student.
Rigo Murillo, Suzuki Strings Specialist
Here is a list of the local violin/string shops in the Dallas/Plano/Richardson area that I personally know to have good quality instruments:
2201 Moseley Road
Cross Roads, TX 76227-8017
SELL: YES (~$400 – $11,00)
RENT: YES ($30-40/Mo.)
This is the place I have been going for the last 9 years to have work on my violins. Stephen Cundall is a master violin maker and also works on repairs. He carries very good, professional-line instruments at reasonable prices. Highly honest and great reputation. Rentals are also available.
1251 S. Sherman St., Suite 105
Richardson, TX 75081
SELL: YES (~$300 – $11,00)
Jay Rury has been serving the Dallas are for quite some time. They have provided service and instruments for our school’s student families and many of the Dallas Symphony musicians. They now carry an array of good instruments in a wide price range. Very friendly and punctual work.
209A W Main Street
Richardson, TX 75081
SELL: YES (~$300 – $11,00)
RENT: YES (~$20-35/Mo.)
I have have known Rozanne, the owner of the shop for quite some time. She has a variety of student instruments. Several of my young students rent or own instruments from this shop. Rozanne usually has all small-size instruments in stock. They have a renting program, as well.
If you started piano lessons in grade one, or played the recorder in kindergarten, thank your parents and teachers. Those lessons you dreaded — or loved — helped develop your brain. The younger you started music lessons, the stronger the connections in your brain.
Feb. 12, 2013 — If you started piano lessons in grade one, or played the recorder in kindergarten, thank your parents and teachers. Those lessons you dreaded — or loved — helped develop your brain. The younger you started music lessons, the stronger the connections in your brain.
A study published last month in the Journal of Neuroscience suggests that musical training before the age of seven has a significant effect on the development of the brain, showing that those who began early had stronger connections between motor regions — the parts of the brain that help you plan and carry out movements.
This research was carried out by students in the laboratory of Concordia University psychology professor Virginia Penhune, and in collaboration with Robert J. Zatorre, a researcher at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital at McGill University.
The study provides strong evidence that the years between ages six and eight are a “sensitive period” when musical training interacts with normal brain development to produce long-lasting changes in motor abilities and brain structure. “Learning to play an instrument requires coordination between hands and with visual or auditory stimuli,” says Penhune. “Practicing an instrument before age seven likely boosts the normal maturation of connections between motor and sensory regions of the brain, creating a framework upon which ongoing training can build.”
With the help of study co-authors, PhD candidates Christopher J. Steele and Jennifer A. Bailey, Penhune and Zatorre tested 36 adult musicians on a movement task, and scanned their brains. Half of these musicians began musical training before age seven, while the other half began at a later age, but the two groups had the same number of years of musical training and experience. These two groups were also compared with individuals who had received little or no formal musical training.
When comparing a motor skill between the two groups, musicians who began before age seven showed more accurate timing, even after two days of practice. When comparing brain structure, musicians who started early showed enhanced white matter in the corpus callosum, a bundle of nerve fibres that connects the left and right motor regions of the brain. Importantly, the researchers found that the younger a musician started, the greater the connectivity.
Interestingly, the brain scans showed no difference between the non-musicians and the musicians who began their training later in life; this suggests that the brain developments under consideration happen early or not at all. Because the study tested musicians on a non-musical motor skill task, it also suggests that the benefits of early music training extend beyond the ability to play an instrument.
“This study is significant in showing that training is more effective at early ages because certain aspects of brain anatomy are more sensitive to changes at those time points,” says co-author, Dr. Zatorre, who is also the co-director of the International Laboratory for Brain Music and Sound Research.
But, says Penhune, who is also a member of the Centre for Research in Human Development, “it’s important to remember that what we are showing is that early starters have some specific skills and differences in the brain that go along with that. But, these things don’t necessarily make them better musicians. Musical performance is about skill, but it is also about communication, enthusiasm, style, and many other things that we don’t measure. So, while starting early may help you express your genius, it probably won’t make you a genius.”
The above story is based on materials provided by Concordia University.
Journal Reference: C. J. Steele, J. A. Bailey, R. J. Zatorre, V. B. Penhune. Early Musical Training and White-Matter Plasticity in the Corpus Callosum: Evidence for a Sensitive Period. Journal of Neuroscience, 2013; 33 (3): 1282 DOI:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3578-12.2013
Credit: © Image Source IS2 / Fotolia
Because of our high-quality instructional program and un-compromised commitment to excellence, we have families from all over the metroplex coming to take violin lessons at our program. Don't sacrifice excellent Suzuki music education!
These are some areas where our Suzuki music families drive from: