Ruth's Calendar

Friday, November 15, 2013

Suzuki Jingle Bells Strings

Did you know that you are a member of the Godfrey Studio awesome holiday performing group, Suzuki Jingle Bell Strings?  Every Christmas season we prepare for our December concerts by learning and reviewing the repertoire beginning in October, sometimes sooner if there is a cool new advanced piece to memorize.  It's okay if you don't participate maybe because you are going out of town, or you are a young beginner, or you simply can't add the commitment to your schedule.  But it sure is fun, practicing the pieces at group lessons and playing two concerts for all of our family and friends and many other people.
I have given you all a Christmas book ($5) and this you will have it forever until it wears out!!  In the meantime every year you will learn a few new pieces from the program until eventually you are playing every single piece!!  When we do music on the concert that you don't know, you can either stand in rest position or I will have you exit the stage until that part of the program is over and it is time for the next song that you know.  The dress for the concert is black trousers black socks and black shoes for the boys with a white shirt and long tie or bow tie, red vest; black skirt black tights and black shoes for the girls with a white 3/4 sleeve blouse for the girls and red vest.  Remind me that you need a red vest and I will fit you with one ($20).  This you will keep and wear every year for the concert until you grow out of it or graduate. When you need a larger size just bring it back and we will exchange it.  If I don't have your size our wonderful Kari Child will be making extra vests for us so we will all be looking good!!  Try on your Christmas vest now so to make sure it fits for this year.

The mystery performer is our Jingle Bell player.  Who will it be?  Every year I invite a young person not in the Godfrey Studio to play the jingle bells with us on several of our fun pieces.  Soon we will know!!  The final Jingle Bell Strings rehearsal is December 14 from 10am to 12noon at my ward building.  I will give you directions that week.  The Jingle Bell Strings concerts are on December 21 at 11am at the downtown library auditorium and at 2:30pm at the Parklane Senior Apartments on 1st South and 6th East.  I will have invitations so that you can invite all of your family and friends to the Library which seats 200 people.  Let's fill it up with all of the people we love to play for!!  Happy Holidays!! 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Excellence and Fun From the Start!

Isn't it great to play the violin or the viola?  When we first start with the Suzuki method it is SO exciting.  To hear the sound of beautiful violin or viola tone, see the teacher demonstrate and after learning many essential pre-twinkle skills to finally replicate the magic--please Mom can I do it again?  That is the moment we want to have over and over, progressing with each repetition, motivated by each small success.  I love putting myself in the child's shoes and experiencing this with each new beginner.  Difficult as it may be at home to find the perfect time of day to practice and re-create this bubble in yours and your child's life, whenever you do, it is like adding another day of sunshine or rain or good earth to the growing seedling.  While working hard on the essential skills such as posture, bow hold, sound of bow on open string, or doing a whole pre-twinkle song perfectly many times,  remember to take a break and play a bow game, or do the marble test, or some cross crawl brain gym (such as marching while crossing hands to opposite legs).  Or, just stop and run around the room!  Remind yourselves how many skills you are learning, and learn to identify them to your child and praise them for success whenever you notice it.  Recently I perused a list of skills learned in Twinkle, and Book 1.  31 Twinkle skills and 44 Book 1 skills, quite amazing!  Remind me to give you a copy of this list for your reference.  Below are the first several Pre-Twinkle Violin and Viola skills:

  1. Rest Position
  2. Bow
  3. Holding Steps
  4. Stance: endurance+focus
  5. Sidedness
  6. Finger numbers
  7. Bow hold
  8. Up+Down
  9. Arm circles
  10. Rhythms: clap, tap, soap
  11. Bow on violin
  12. Quick finger placement
There are many more!  Please enjoy these photos of our newest Twinklers and their Great Starts!!
Olivia's best bow hold
Aubrey's perfect posture
Chantelle has a beautiful bunny!

Isabella starts her Twinkles
The Marble Test is great for Ethan's posture!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Recital Review: Some thoughts on Preparation and Nerves

Kudos to all the performers on last Friday's violin recitals!  Everyone played beautifully.  It is definitely a huge accomplishment to perform a piece of music in a formal setting for a captive audience, at your best. There are many factors that can affect your concentration, nerves and hence your performance.  Being in a rush, running late to get to the concert can definitely increase your stress and up your heartbeat.  One student forgot her violin resulting in a delayed arrival.  Another family mistakenly went to the wrong recital hall.  Most everyone was there early with family and friends to support them.  The spirit in the room was happy and respectful!

Still, the unfamiliar environment can cause your heart to beat faster, palms to get cold and sweaty, throat to get dry, knees to shake.  The best insurance against the effect of nerves and other stress factors is 200% preparation for the big day.  This includes listening to your violin piece every day for at least 2 weeks before the concert.  While you listen, put the printed music in front of you and pretend it is you playing the recording. Imagine yourself playing every note perfectly.  In your mind feel your fingers landing on all the correct notes, and your bow doing all the correct articulation and dynamics.  Feel confident as you mentally perform and end with a perfect musical finish.  Visualize the music, the printed notes.  You can do this while you are riding in the car going places, or just sitting in a chair quietly at your house, before you actually practice with your violin.  Next, make sure a large part of your practice is done slowly, reinforcing every good technique.  Practice with a metronome at a slow tempo so that you develop your inner beat, then gradually increase the metronome speed to your performance tempo.  Believe in yourself!!   You have a wonderful gift and the concert is an opportunity to share it with others.  Look forward to the recital and decide it will be your very best playing.

Of utmost importance is your rehearsal with the accompanist.  Do as much rehearsal as you can with your accompanist.  He or she is your best friend and partner in this concert.  Knowing your solo violin part is not enough to insure a solid performance in the recital.  You must know how it sounds with the piano, and be comfortable playing with the piano.  Work carefully and thoroughly with your accompanist.  Playing with the violin CD is not necessarily a good substitute for a rehearsal.  Often the CD is faster than your performance tempo and it certainly won't adjust to your ritardandos and other subtle tempo changes.  Fortunately with today's technology you can easily record yourself playing with the accompanist and practice with that audio file.

Finally, on the recital day make sure you have eaten a healthy snack before you perform, not a big meal. Save the party for afterwards!  Drink water water water and avoid sodas.  Good performance foods are bananas, a few crackers and string cheese, half a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, or a granola bar.  Avoid candy--it is straight sugar and will not calm your nerves!  Breathe slowly and deeply to calm your heartbeat.  Close one nostril and breathe in with slow controlled even breath.  Then do the same with the other nostril..  Wash your hands in warm water and take advantage of the warm-up room to play out a few jitters.  You may even practice quietly in the warm-up room a couple of numbers before it is your turn.  Just come back into the recital hall at least one number before yours.  At the end of your awesome violin performance don't forget to bow and smile at the audience.  You did this for them and they love you for it!

Godfrey Violin Students are fantastic!!! Thank you for playing for us.

Sincerely, Miss Ruth  

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Fall Recitals

This Friday October 11 we will be having our Fall Recitals.

They will be held at Summerhays Music Recital Hall, 5450 Green Street in Murray, UT.  The first program is at 5:30pm and the second at 7pm.  Jules Snarr is our accompanist.  When you enter the building you will turn left and go downstairs to the recitals.  If you can bring a treat to share for refreshments, that would be lovely.
Click on the link below to locate the venue.

Directions to Summerhays

Sunday, August 18, 2013

SAU Super Activity September 28th

SAU Salt Lake NE Region presents


Studio Stars

2013 Super Activity 
1700 East Fort Union Blvd.
Cottonwood Heights, UT 84121

Students from our violin studios 
will combine & perform together!

Each group will perform for five minutes.   It is encouraged to choose from the Suzuki Literature with coordinating duet & ensemble parts if desired.  All students must have music memorized.  It is the responsibility of each group to rehearse with their own accompanist prior to super activity.   Payment for accompanists will be covered by the super activity budge

The Godfrey Studio will combine with Julie Newton's students and Devon Colby's students.  The leader of this group will be Ruth Godfrey.  Our name is "Heavenly in Holladay" and our pieces are Tzena in Round form, Hunters' Chorus with the duet part, and Ave Maria with the Harmony part.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Beethoven's 5th Symphony

Here is a great recording of Beethoven's 5th Symphony, 4th movement performed by Toscanini and the Boston Symphony.  It brings back memories from my youth!

Beethoven's 5th Symphony, 4th movement

Beethoven's 5th and 6th Symphonies were composed in 1807-1808 and premiered on the same concert in Vienna with many other works by the composer.  It lasted over 4 hours!  Be glad you normally attend a concert for just an hour or so!

Last Summer Groups

Today's group lessons were fun and challenging.  In the Book 2-3 Group we played Tonalization in several rhythms.  We worked on the back motion of the left 1st finger to make B flat and F natural.  Then we played a lot of familiar songs by ear, in the key of F major or B flat, requiring us to use the special low 1. It was really fun to play with a wonderful accompanist, Mia's dad, Dr. Sakonju.  He accompanied us on the piano playing Hunter's Chorus, Witches' Dance and Two Grenadiers from Suzuki Violin Bk 2.  We also played a fun Israeli folksong called Tzena.

In the Book 1 Group we played a LOT of games.  Some highlights were "Pass the Bow", where we stand in a circle playing a Twinkle variation, then stop and give our violin bow to the person in front of us when Miss Ruth claps loudly.  The trick is to pick up right where we left off when she clapped! Maeve and Eli played "Minuet Snippets" where jumped in playing when they recognized the Bach Minuet from Suzuki Bk 1 that Miss Ruth was playing.  They earned points for jumping in the quickest and getting the most correct notes. Colby's younger brother Ethan watched our group lesson because he just started lessons with Miss Ruth. He joined in when we played "Slap Hands", "Hide the Rosin" and "London Bridges."

The Book 6 Group is now The Advanced Ensemble.  Everyone has a Blue Folder with a variety of duets and trios.  We will polish chosen pieces at our rehearsals and perform them at recitals.  We had a very successful practice on the Bach Double Violin Concerto, 1st movement.  We rehearsed carefully on the Pachelbel Canon with 3 violin parts, and the Ave Maria with a simple yet rich harmony part.

Enjoy this beautiful recording of the Canon!

Pachelbel Canon London Symphony

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Ludwig von Beethoven

Ludwig von Beethoven is the Composer of the month for August 2013.  I love to play and to listen to his music and have so all of my life as a violinist.  When I was 11 years old I had my first significant experience playing in a summer school orchestra and the piece that we did was the third movement of Beethoven's 5th Symphony.  Hearing the brass section behind me and playing those incredible lines got me hooked forever!

Here is a link to one of his most exciting pieces, the 1st movement of the 3rd Symphony.

Eroica Symphony, 1st movement


Friday, July 26, 2013

Group Lesson Activities

The first two groups today were duet lessons!  Emma and Sarv attended for the Book 2-3 level.  Thanks to Sarv's dad for bringing our glazed donuts, traditional treats for group days. We practiced Tonalization with different rhythms and in harmony, did sight reading and Suzuki review and played the Memory Game.  Sophie and Jade played together in the Book 1 group.  Here you see them note reading.
The advanced group played 3 octave scales and a shifting etude to warm up.  Then we focused on reading and feeling rhythms.  We clapped and counted the rhythms from the book Winning Rhythms by Edward Ayola.  Then we did quite a bit of sight reading from different pieces and found a beautiful blended sound.  Here are excerpts from Waltz by Brahms and Hallelujah arranged by William Starr.

The Inside Thumb

It is a great thing when a Twinkler, after several weeks of pre-Twinkle games and exercises, and months of polishing the Twinkles, is ready to insert the thumb on the right hand into the little niche of the violin bow. Previously it had been on the underside of the bow to achieve good contact of bow hair to the violin strings.
Here is Colby's best new bow hold with the thumb inside!  Colby passed off his Twinkles in June.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

July August schedules

Dear Families,

The July August schedule has changed.  The Calendar reflects these changes as of today July 18.
The first week of August lessons is now July 29-August 2.  There are no lessons August 20-23rd or August 28 through Labor Day.  Summer make ups or pro-rated lessons will be given on August 19, 26 and 27.  The Violin Group Lessons remain on the Calendar: July 27, August 9 and 16. 

Please remember I am pretty flexible for makeup lessons during the summer.  You can read the Summer Lesson Policy under the Policy tab.  Essentially it is that you pay full tuition for at least three lessons per month whether or not they are private or group lessons.  If you take only one or two lessons in the month you pay me per lesson.  

Monday, June 24, 2013

Amazing Institute

The Intermountain Suzuki String Institute was fantastic this year.  As a teacher I am so inspired to rub shoulders with great teachers from all over the world.  Getting to know them and exchange ideas as we work hard with the wonderful students all week helps me to see how music truly is changing the world---in many states and countries far from our own!  Ramona Stirling, ISSI director continues to realize her vision of bringing many diverse individuals together with enormous collective talent and abilities to enrich our experience in Utah.   I especially enjoyed talking with the teachers from Belgium and Singapore and the families from Argentina.  For the 35th anniversary of ISSI we learned a work written for us by Michael McLean called "ISSI Gettin' Down"  which was performed twice by all 800 students and teachers on the final concert!  Wow!  It started with a soulful hymn melody and developed cool funky themes and jazzy tunes throughout, ending with the beautiful crescendo of the hymn tune.  Really wonderful!
Here are some pictures of me with my classes at Institute.....

The Practice Store

The Practice Store is fully stocked for the summer!  Practice every day and earn one practice dollar at your lesson for each week that you are diligent.  Lots of fun summer toys and games, stuffed animals, books and videos to choose from.  

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Shaping the Bow Hold

Here is Ricky Wooden demonstrating Pinky Pushups + Open Gates.
These will help you have a flexible well balanced bow hold!

Vibrato Exercise

Here is Anya Hsu demonstrating a the Vibrato Pizza Party drill.

Bailey Burden plays Scene de Ballet

Bailey gave an excellent performance of the exciting Scene de Ballet by DeBeriot at the Spring Recital.


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Great Recitals!

to everyone who performed on the 
Spring Recitals!
Check out some of the beautiful violin playing!

David plays Adoration

One of the many beautiful performances from the Spring Recitals on May 31st!

Watch David play this piece by Borowski Here!

Gossec Gavotte by Mia Sakonju

Here is a nice dress rehearsal for our Spring Recital!

Watch here!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Accompanist Fees

Dear Parents and students:

The accompanist fee is payable to Jules Snarr.  Please remember to pay her on Friday if you have not already at the rehearsal. 

The fees are $20 Books 1-3, $30 Book 4, $40 Book 5 or higher.

She is a wonderful friend and coach.  Be sure let her know how much you appreciate her help.

See you soon!


Recital Venue

Dear Parents and students: The Springs Recitals are this Friday May 31st--tomorrow!!  At 6pm and 7:30pm.  If you are not sure of your recital time please let me know asap. The location is the Summerhays Recital Hall located at 5450 Green Street in Murray Utah 84123.  Take 5300 South going west.  Go past Costco and the hospital.  Go under I-15.  It is the first left turn after all of the freeway on ramps.  Green Street curves around, past an office tower.  You will see Summerhays on your right.  Enter and follow the signs leading downstairs.  The Recital Hall is a large clean room with a stage.  There are many chairs!!! Please invite everyone you can think of!!! Dress is formal, but your choice (not necessarily black and white).  If convenient please bring a treat to share. See you Friday!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Summer Schedule

Dear Families,
Summer is rapidly approaching!  I will be switching the lesson schedule to mornings Monday through Thursday starting the week of June 24th.  The week of June 17th is ISSI, Suzuki Institute.  After the recital you can be thinking about what summer times will work for you.  The summer group lessons are on Fridays at the same times.  We will be combining the Book 4 and the Book 5 students for the 10am group.  This will balance out the numbers in the last two groups.  Also in June you can let me know your vacation schedule.  Have a great Memorial Day weekend!


Hello Friends!  I keep forgetting to put your name on the refreshments sign up in the studio.  If you can bring a treat to the recital please comment on this post or send me an email or text message and I will make a note of it!! Yum!!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Time to choose your Recital time

Dear Parents and Students,

It's time to think about which Recital time works best for you.  Please comment to this post or send me an email to let me know.  You can also tell me when I see you at your lesson this week.  Be sure to mention whether or not you can bring a treat for refreshments.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Great Groups

Group Lessons today were awesome.  In Books 2-4 level we practiced writing on music manuscript paper.  We got good at drawing treble clefs, time signatures and whole notes.  In the the Book 4 group we wrote out all the notes to Twinkle Theme in D major.  We also learned our key signatures and reviewed the order of the sharps and the flats.  We played Seitz and Vivaldi concertos in the Book 4 group and a duet by Beethoven.  In the Book 1 group we played the Snippets game and reviewed several pieces.  We also played London Bridge.  We tried to get under the bridge before Miss Ruth played the wrong note and the bridge dropped!.  Book 2 kids played Hide the Rosin and got really good at playing "piano" and "forte."  In the Book 6 group we played our 3 octave scales around the circle of 5ths.  We also reviewed relative minor keys and played Bach A minor and Vivaldi A minor.  Then we read some of the Canon by Pachelbel as well as the Redwing fiddle duet and the Martini Gavotte duet.  We even played the Memory Game and everyone got music matches.  Thanks for your participation!!  
See you soon.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Lindsey Stirling--Spontaneous Me

Check out the fun music and video by Lindsey Stirling! See it here!

Spring Recitals Info

Hello Everyone!

In two weeks we will be rehearsing for the Spring Recitals to be held on Friday May 31st at the Summerhays Recital Hall, 5450 Green Street in Murray Utah, 84123.  The first program is at 6pm; the second at 7:30.  You can choose to be on either recital.  We will try to have about the same number of performers on each one, that way the length of the program is no longer than an hour.

Sign up for a rehearsal time with Jules, our fabulous accompanist in the studio.  
Her schedule is as follows:
Tuesday May 28:  4:30-9:30pm
Wednesday May 29:  2:30-8:30pm
Thursday May 30:  4:30-9:30pm

Monday, May 13, 2013

Deer Valley Summer Concert Series

Symphony Summer Schedule is up! See it here!

Welcome to the New Page

Welcome to the new page! Look around and let me know what you would like to see!