Posts Tagged ‘art haule’

Can Five More Minutes Make a Difference?

Thursday, January 13th, 2011

I don’t know about you, but I’m going to try to make a significant improvement in my playing this year. There are several things that I intend to do to achieve this, but probably the most simple that I am planning is adding a mere five minutes to every practice.

The key is not going to be playing my violin an extra five minutes. In fact the five minutes that I am adding, and that I am suggesting that you add, will take place between the time that I play the last note and the time I close the lid to my violin case.

I’m going to do a much better job organizing what I practice and play. I’m going to write down what I do right and what I do wrong. And I’m going to make sure that the next time I pick up the instrument I step right back into the thick of things. The five minutes that I spend writing a critique of my practice as well as any insights that I have during the practice are going to pay off big time! Guaranteed. And if I take the time to write down things that other people tell me it will help even more. Lists and journals are important. What your teacher or peers told you are important. Things that I want to remember are important. Five minutes at the end of this practice will probably save me ten or fifteen minutes during my next practice, and it will allow me to use those extra minutes more effectively!

Art Haule


Christmas is Just Around the Corner!

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

My favorite time of year as a violinist is the time immediately before Christmas. There are a couple reasons for this.

First, it seems to me that the most interesting amateur orchestra concerts occur at Christmas. I don’t know why that is. Maybe I just prefer listening to (and playing) music with which I am already familiar. Maybe I enjoy hearing new variations on favorite songs. Maybe I just enjoy the enthusiasm students show when they play songs they’ve sung for years.

Second, the songs and carols just seem to be ingrained in my fingers. I hate to admit it, but there was a time that my instrument lay unused for almost a decade. When I picked it up again, the songs were still there in my fingers. My wife thought that I was reading music, and walked into the room to find me with my eyes closed standing next to the open violin case playing and improvising. Some of what flowed from the instrument had been parts of pieces I’d played years before. Some were improvisations produced on the spot. But they were not only recognizable, they were pretty. When I’m just too busy…when I’m sad…when I’m frustrated it is the music of Christmas that returns to me again and again.

So, I’ll play this year. I’ll listen this year. I’ll enjoy the songs for my 57th Christmas as much as I did for my tenth — when violin was still a new and wonderful mystery to me. I hope you enjoy the music of the season as well.

Well, back to the Violin Student Central website.


Remember, we don’t work the violin, or struggle the violin, or suffer the violin…the verb we use is play!

Getting Ready for Christmas

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

My birthday is October 17. There are two things that always come to mind on this date.

The first is that I am another year older. That is obvious to me every day. The waist inevitably expands, and I vow to start doing twenty-five sit ups and twenty-five crunches every day. I’ll make the same vow next year, I’m almost sure. I look in the mirror and see a few more grey hairs, or the fact that there are fewer hairs atop the head today than there were yesterday. I vow to look into some dye, at least for the moustache. I view the expanded forehead as a sign that wisdom and knowledge are expanding. My 14-year old daughter, Adriana, would take issue with that.

The second thing that comes to mind is that Christmas is on its way. If I am going to play my violin during the Holiday Season I need to get to work on some Holiday music. It’s time to start researching what is available and to start making decisions as to what I will play. This year I think I’m going to look for some fun stuff to play rather than just (in the words of my daughter) “churchy, serious” stuff.


Falling in Love With Western Swing

Friday, March 19th, 2010

Sophia, Hulda, and Grace Quebe

Every time I think that I have reached the limit of genres of music and artists that I enjoy on the violin I come across a new performer, composer, or work that I completely enjoy.

My last birthday I was fortunate enough to receive a CD of The Quebe Sisters Band, and I have listened to them two or three times a week since then. I am not ashamed to say that they are actually creeping into the recesses of my heart where such performers as Hilary Hahn, Zino Francescatti, Mark O’Connor, Nathan Milstein, Mark Wood, Sarah Chang, and Rachel Barton-Pine reside.

Haven’t heard of the Quebe Sisters? You really should look into their music. I was hooked as soon as I heard them!

Sophia, Hulda, and Grace Quebe were raised in the that thriving North Texas Metropolis…Krum. They were home schooled and began playing fiddle in 1998, taking lessons from Sherry McKenzie. The girls showed remarkable talent, and soon their coaching was taken over by Sherry’s husband, Joey (An able teacher as evidenced by the fact that he is 3-time World Champion Fiddler, World Series of Fiddling Champion and 5-time Texas State Guitar Champion). The trio began playing with Joey on guitar and Drew Phelps on bass. (Drew’s credits include a Bachelor of Music degree from North Texas State University, he received a full scholarship to attend the School of Fine Arts at the Banff Centre in Canada, and a National Endowment for the Arts jazz fellowship to study privately with legendary string bassist Dave Holland.)

The Quebes learned to play fiddle by ear, and received no classical training. They’ve won numerous contests and awards. They have appeared in such places as the Grand Ole Opry, the Kennedy Center, and Lincoln Center in New York City. ┬áTheir musical style includes such musical styles as western swing, hot jazz and swing standards, western and cowboy songs, vintage country and bluegrass.

If you can listen to these ladies and not want to tap your feet, dance, or move down to the Fort Worth area, you’re a stronger man than I. We’re in the midst of arranging an interview with them, so watch Violin Student Central for an update on the Quebes!

Want to see them live? They post their schedule on their website.

Spring Cleaning: Violin Case Gone Wild

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

Each Spring I look at my violin case and I wonder how it got to the state that I find it. It seems that I accumulate items over the course of the Winter, and I have to take some time to clean out the clutter to make room for the important stuff.
What do I find? More paper clips than I ever knew existed. That cake of rosin that disappeared in September. Sheet music that should have been returned to the music library right after the December concert. ANOTHER mute. Used strings. New strings. Broken strings. I keep fearing (or hoping) that I’m going to encounter a half eaten Big Mac or at least a few fries or Doritos.
What don’t I find? My mechanical pencil. (I replace them every week. I think mechanical pencils and violin cases are related to dryers and socks.) My business cards.
I guess that I’ll take an hour to clean things out…set things up…and clean the rosin dust off my violin and bow once again. And I’ll make my thrice-yearly resolution to keep things neat and clean. Things will look good for a few weeks before the downhill slide starts once again.