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Showing posts from October, 2012

Interview with Laurie Niles on and the Internet Changing Musical Education

Welcome to Rethinking Genius, Laurie! Please introduce yourself and tell us how came to be.

My name is Laurie Niles, and I'm a violinist, teacher, and the founder of the website I first spotted the violin in my public school classroom, and it was love at first sight. I took lessons, I practiced many hours. I earned a Bachelor's degree in music at Northwestern University, then a graduate degree in journalism at Indiana University. That's where I also met my husband, Robert, who started building websites in the mid-90s. As for me, I played in many orchestras, taught violin, and also worked as a newspaper reporter.

You might guess, it was this combination of my intense love for the violin and his for the Internet that led him to buy me the domain name "" as a Christmas present in 1996. The website evolved, based on how I thought it could help people. At first, I started a directory to allow people post their resumes on the…

Practice What You Teach While You Teach It

The catch 22 of teaching an instrument is that often times you will be too tired to play at the end of the day simply because you've been playing said instrument all day with your students. This presents a bit of a problem in the area of self-improvement.

I haven't had a violin lesson in over 10 years. I switched to viola and it became my primary instrument through high school and college. I realized that if I wanted to continue to grow as a violin teacher, I was going to have to find a teacher for myself; just to keep my playing in check.

After much searching, I found a teacher who could take me on a monthly basis. This was perfect since I'm pretty sure weekly lessons would have been the last straw that broke the camel's back. We had our first lesson a few weeks ago and she was simply excellent to work with.

One thing my new teacher was extremely helpful with was giving me technique to work on WHILE I play with my students. I realized then that I really undervalued…

A Constant State of Learning

One of the best things I ever did for my teaching/playing was not sign up with an orchestra; I signed up for Tai Chi instead.

When I had finished with my Bachelor's degree and my teaching was just starting to get underway, I was looking into activities that would get me out of the house. My first inclination was to check out orchestras. I figured it would be a great way to meet local musicians and network.

For several months, I looked into various adult volunteer orchestras. I talked to conductors, checked out past and present concert lists.... the works. In the process of doing this, I started really thinking about something a teacher trainer once told me about how it's important to always be in a constant state of learning.

I most definitely do not know everything there is to know about music. And being in an orchestra would have for sure put me in a state of learning. But I realized how easy it would be for me to be consumed by musical activities. Music is my job and…

Interview with Lynn McCall on Suzuki Early Childhood Music Education

This interview is a follow up with the host from last week's video, Lynn McCall.  You can watch the video here.
Welcome to Rethinking Genius, Lynn! Please start out by introducing yourself and telling us how you got into Suzuki Early Childhood Education (SECE) classes. Maybe also tell us a little about your school?

Hi my name is Lynn McCall and I am the Director and co founder of the Alyla Suzuki Early Childhood Music Center. Our school is the Pilot program and the first in Conn. to offer the Suzuki Early Childhood Education program. This unique, program, taught through Sinichi Suzuki’s renowned “Mother Tongue Method” was introduced about 10 years ago in the U.S. and is gaining recognition throughout . It is fully sanctioned and offered for registration through the Suzuki Association of the Americas. Since starting the pilot program in 2006 we are now in many Suzuki programs throughout Conn, and the U.S.

One topic that really caught my attention in your video is that idea of a calm …