Teacher Appreciation Day 2019

Join us for all or part of this special day on September 8th, 2019 and find inspiration for the start of the 2019 – 2020 academic year!  There will be a catered lunch, and guest speakers will offer insightful workshops. RSVP is required. Register here!


(click each to learn more)

10:15am: Introduction

10:30am: Alexander Technique for Musicians: A Conversation with Cynthia Mauney
Musicians perform some of the most complex and demanding physical movements of any profession. How do we cultivate conscious co-ordination in ourselves and in our students, as we navigate the challenges of our musical study, performance and teaching? What does it mean to open our perception and cooperate with the beauty, grace and function of our inherent design? These questions are addressed by the Alexander Technique. Cynthia Mauney brings a wealth of knowledge and insight to her students, informed by her deep study of the Alexander Technique and her decades of experience as a professional violinist. She was one of a fortunate few to apprentice with legendary teacher Marjorie Barstow, F.M. Alexander’s first formally certified teacher.
11:30am: Choosing an Instrument with Jim Kelly
Jim Kelly will discuss the Potter Violins approach to helping clients (whether they are children or adults) find the best instrument to help them reach their highest level of musicianship.  Learn how to identify when an instrument or bow is holding a student back.

Catered Lunch

1:30pm: Teaching the Violin & Viola: Creating a Healthy Foundation with Stacia Spencer
Good technique in string playing is an art form in itself. With the foundation of good posture, balance and solid technique the student has freedom in playing the violin or viola and is able to create music with a beautiful sound and great confidence. This session will address the basic set up and posture for the violinist and violist. Suggested left and right-hand technical exercises that help promote relaxation and ease in playing free of tension will also be included. Concepts of Shinichi Suzuki, Paul Rolland & Mimi Zweig will be discussed as well as suggested exercises, etudes and repertoire for the different levels of string players. We will also discuss distance online learning and how it is changing the face of music education around the world. Please bring your instruments so that we can work together in creating a healthy foundation for string playing!

Stacia Spencer is a senior lecturer in string pedagogy at Northwestern University Bienen School of Music and string coordinator for the Northwestern Music Academy. She also has been on the faculty of the Northwestern National High School Music Institute teaching violin, viola and chamber music. Prior to moving to the Chicago area, Ms. Spencer was an assistant professor of music at Indiana University School of Music where she taught classes in violin and viola pedagogy and was the assistant to Mimi Zweig at the IU String Academy. Ms. Spencer has a special interest in contemporary music, working with composers and performing new pieces. An eclectic musican and performer, she has been a vocalist and jazz singer in the Jon Eaton Pocket Opera Company in Chicago and New York.  As a singer and electric violist she has also performed and recorded in the rock genre. She received her bachelors and masters degrees in viola from Indiana University School of Music, where she studied with Mimi Zweig, Kim Kashkashian and George Janzer. Ms. Spencer’s students have won many competitions and have been featured on “From the Top”. They also participate in their school orchestras as well as the Chicago Youth Orchestras and the Midwest Young Artists Orchestras.

2:30pm: From Giving to Guiding - Ask More, Tell Less! with Rebecca Henry and Phyllis Freeman
Not long after the beginning stages, when we are building foundation skills and well before the culmination of independent, mindful, holistic practice, is a time of transition for both teachers and students. With a focus on the unique needs of adolescents, we will discuss ways to help you guide your students toward a deeper awareness of their own musical identities and share concrete strategies for varying lessons and practice routines during this time of transition. Video examples with students and plenty of handouts!

Rebecca Henry has developed one of the premier pre-college string programs at the Peabody Preparatory and teaches Violin and String Pedagogy at the Peabody Conservatory and the University of Maryland. She is Assistant Professor of Viola at the Gettysburg College Sunderman Conservatory and returns to her alma mater in the summers to teach at the Indiana University Summer String Academy and Teacher’s Retreat for Professional Violinists and Violists. Ms. Henry has presented master classes and teacher workshops throughout the U.S. (ASTA National (2017, 2016, 2014, 2013), MTNA, SAA) and in Canada, Scotland and Turkey, co-edited a series of contemporary music for violin ensembles, and is Principal Violist of the Washington Chamber Orchestra and is co-founder of www.ViolinPractice.com. Her former students are performing and teaching around the world.

Phyllis Freeman is active as a teacher, performer, and entrepreneur. She is the founder and director of a school for strings, the Maryland Talent Education Center and co-founder of ViolinPractice.com, a website that supports students, teachers, and parents in their journey towards effective and creative practice. She currently holds the position of principal viola in the Maryland Symphony Orchestra and section viola in the National Philharmonic. She is a past-president of MD/DC ASTA and was a recipient of both the “Teacher of the Year” and the “Service to Strings” award. She has presented at local and national ASTA Conferences and from 2013-2017 she was the marketing director for Potter Violins. BM Indiana University, MM Peabody Conservatory.


3:45pm: Technical Tunes for Toddlers to Teenagers with Eva Belvelin
Teaching ideas for teaching violin beginners in groups and/or individually using a collection of tunes for violin beginners by Eva Belvelin with inspiring backing tracks by Per Strandberg. The material introduces the students from the very beginning to more advanced violin techniques such as shifting, vibrato, double stops, harmonics, string crossings, bow strokes and also to ensemble playing.

Eva Belvelin, CEO of Fiolosofen, is a Swedish violinist and violin teacher who studied with Lisbeth Vecchi in Sweden, with Prof. John Kendall in the United States, and with Dr. Shinichi Suzuki in Japan. She is a Fulbright Alumna with MFA from Gothenburg University, Sweden, and from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, IL, USA. She has held positions such as Violin and Viola Pedagogy Teacher at Ingesund Conservatory of Music, Karlstad University, Sweden, Chairman of the Swedish String Teachers Association, and Vice President of the European String Teachers Association. Internationally, Eva is a popular lecturer, as well as the violin coach of several professional concertmasters and even a Hollywood movie starIn Sweden, Eva directs her own music academy where she is the artistic leader of the violin ensemble, Scandinavian Strings. She produced their CD, Scandinavian Strings Attached including among other artists Joseph Williams, David Foster, Walt Aldridge, and the Gothenburg Symphony, National Orchestra of Sweden. Eva is the author and composer of the violin/viola/cello school, Little Things for Little Strings, and she produces music, books, pedagogical teaching materials, and the world selling Belvelin Shoulder rests.