Monthly Archives: July 2014

Club Scene, Salon Style

I go to a hair place in “Boystown,” which is what we call Chicago’s gayborhood in Lakeview, one of two areas of Chicago where gays are overrepresented as a percentage of the residents and visitors compared to our numbers in the general population.   For many years the corner of Roscoe and Halsted therein has been […]

Feel the Finesse

The violin is all about finesse.  Aside from struggles with words and increasingly rare occasions where I actually think about what I want to look like, finesse is not my middle name.  I’m more of a bull in a china closet.  While I practice a beautiful martial art, on the finesse scale of the martial […]

It’s Back!

A song from early in Book One has again become my new song – Long Long Ago, by T.H. Bayly.  Dr. Suzuki modulated it downward for Book Two; it’s gone from A Major to G Major.  So I’ll spend a week making that sound good enough, and then next week Teacher says we’ll get into […]

I Am a Violin Ninja

An old friend sent a present by way of my mom. Four lovely stickers produced by string manufacturer D’Addario:   My cover is blown. Thanks for reading. Ryan

Bad Habits and Rulers

I love to teach – in teaching most anything, part of the equation is knowing when to give feedback – people can receive only so much; knowing what to say and when is crucial. Knowing when to identify a mistake, for example, and call it out is very important – sometimes the student knows what […]

Musical Warriors

The National Women’s Martial Arts Federation has, for almost 40 years, been an active force furthering the participation and impact of women in the martial arts.  My karate teacher has been an active leader in the organization since nearly its founding, and this year my school hosted the NWMAF’s annual summer training camp.  The camp […]

Finale FF

I’ve not thought much about the playing side of the dramatic ends of pieces composers often provide – thunderous finales that transform musicians into blacksmiths, hammering out several repetitive measures on their various instruments as fiercely as possible in order to completely drown the venue with sound and produce something beautiful.  The effects are often […]


Teacher and I have a mutual 10 year old friend; she’s how we came to know one another.  Unfortunately, she’s been injured due to some whiplash-type trauma and unable to play the violin for a few months.  As she’s been trying to get back into it, she’s been working with a physical therapist her parents […]

We’re All Playing the Same Instrument

I’m sure others have done it, but Pablo de Sarasate and Niccolo Paganini are two legends (see yesterday’s greats list) who specialized in writing breathtaking compositions for the violin that highlighted their own immense capabilities with the instrument.  Many of the pieces they wrote have become well-known showpieces for violinists; these pieces, when played as their […]


My find of Mischa Elman playing Gavotte yesterday helped me realize that I don’t really know who the best violinists in the world are.  I have followed some names over the course of my lifetime – Isaac Stern (now deceased), Izhak Perlman, Joshua Bell, Janine Jensen – and I’ve also known to appreciate older names […]