October 2012

Effective Online Teaching Tools

October 23, 2012 10:56

Who would have thought to teach online? Not me two years ago. Two years ago I protested the idea of skype violin lessons. I had students request them when I was overseas and I didn't make the effort to even try because I wasn't sure about the effectiveness. This last summer my student insisted and I agreed. I also had two other students on the skype lesson bandwagon. I was truly surprised by the results. For me it was absolutely amazing. After the first lesson I was completely convinced that this was and is a very effective and valid form of teaching.

This last week I taught Emilly Thieme her second skype lesson. She loves it because she doesn't have to leave her house. I have had Emilly as a student for at least four years I think. In this last lesson we were talking about Boccherini Minuet and the corresponding scale work. I decided to have her watch my youtube video to remind her of the A Major scale. Before watching the video let's say Emilly was a little rusty but after the video 100% better. Night and day difference. A true testimonial to me the effectiveness of online tools. I tell her the same thing in the same way that is in the video but I think it was more effective for her because it was a youtube video. I was in a different setting - actually a different country when I filmed the video. Whatever the influences it was extremely beneficial for Emilly and in turn for me.

Happy Practicing!!!

Heather Broadbent


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Violin Studio Goes Global

October 10, 2012 10:05

Good day to the world of violinists.

I just finished teaching a skype violin lesson to my student Emilly Thieme. She did an excellent job and it was her first skype lesson. If you have followed me on my posts you know I am moving to Gabrovo, Bulgaria and will be playing with the chamber orchestra there. It is an exciting move and I get to take a part of my studio with me by skype.

I first started teaching skype violin lessons this last summer when I was in Bulgaria. I had a student from a military family who had been asking me to do skype lessons the year before when I was visiting Bulgaria and I didn't do it. I thought to myself.... skype - how succcessful could a skype violin lesson really be. So finally I agreed this last summer and was SURPRISED to say the least. Not only did I teach violin online but taught piano too. Little did I know that this was setting a foundation to the future of my studio.

My students loved the skype lessons and even asked if we could skype all the time - even when I was back in the states.

I am so thankful for today's technology. With skype and youtube videos not only am I able to teach my students from across the world but am able to provide helpful information to violinists worldwide.

Heather Broadbent's studio headquartered in Racine, Wisconsin has officialy expanded to a global online violin and piano studio.

Happy Practicing!!!

Heather Broadbent


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Violinist moving across the world.............

October 7, 2012 19:55

My title for myself at the moment is the violinist who is moving across the world. Imagine a picture inserted here of a map of the world with a violin shaped pushpin located at the southeastern corner of Wisconsin and a dotted line arcing over the ocean to the country of Bulgaria and another violin shaped pushpin right in the middle of Bulgaria. Bullseye - Gabrovo, Bulgaria.

What an exciting adventure!!! Yes it is truly an exciting adventure as long as I don't get bogged down with the reality of having to sell everything and the packing. So if any other musicians out there have experienced this or will be experiencing this in the future this is a great place to share our thoughts.

Tonight I finished ripping my large classical music cd collection. Now I would have never ever done this if I wasn't moving. The move forces me to slimline and become digitalized - not the worst thing:)

I am creating digital files of every piece of music, music articles, photographs, special prorgrams for concerts - pretty much every piece of paper that is not going in the recycle bin is taking a trip to the scanner.

I am so not a techie but now I know about portable hard drives - pretty amazing little guys.

Moving across the world as a musician - what books do I take? My Bach sonatas and partitas with original markings? My original Kreutzer etude book? I only have two suitcases and the rest get shipped in cardboard boxes. Thinking I may have to leave the originals behind....

After 17 years of teaching there is a serious accumulation of items in one's studio. I will be donating it all to Rachel Elizabeth Barton's foundation knowing it will be appreciated by music lovers in need.

Three violins and only one can go with me on this trip and will have to retreive the others at some point. Four bows and only two can come with me - travelling with a very light bam case with only room for two bows. Will have my laptop and shih-tzu zissou with me on the plane.

Amidst all of the "things to do" I have to think with a smile that once I am on that plane with my violin and laptop in the overhead and zissou-bissou under the seat - does it really matter what is done and what is not.

Let the new adventure begin:)

Happy Practicing!!!

Heather Broadbent


"Don't believe what your eyes are telling you.
All they show is Limitation.
Look with your Understanding,
find out what you already Know,
and you'll see the way to Fly."

- Richard Bach
(from 'Johnathan Livingstone Seagull')

4 replies

Music - A Positive Connection to the Intangible

October 5, 2012 08:10

Hello Violinist world. I wish another beautiful day full of sun and joy your way.

Today as I type I think of how music affects us. It is very personal and different for everybody. But we all have experienced that moment that is so difficult to describe. Your heart feels it is swelling up and a feeling of electricity may wash over you. I have thought about keeping a journal and recording the specific moment this occurs. Measure 111 in the last movement of Brahms A Major sonata I will always remember. The minor section of the slow movement of Beethoven's seventh symphony gets me every time from the rythmic first measure. Two years ago I had the pleasure of hearing the Berlin Symphony play Brahms Symphony Number 4 and I had tears from within the first four bars.

We all have been touched by music. Perhaps for you it is a certain symphony, a specific measure in a concerto, the musical style of a composer or country that "rings true" to to you. For me it is the last movement of Shostakovitch's fifth symphony, his string quartet number 8, his e minor piano trio or whenever I hear Vyssotsky sing. This music "rings true" to me.

I hate to even think of a scientific explanation to this magical phenomenon but perhaps we all have a certain vibrational frequency average. This vibrational frequency "rings true" with the vibrational frequency of the vibrational frequencies of music. I firmly believe that music is like exercise and that an exposure to this can raise one's vibrational frequency hence the positive affects of music therapy.

Whatever the reason - music is the one of the closest connections for all of us here on earth to the intangible world. Eugene Fodor said it perfectly -

"Music is a way to discover the Divine within us.”

My thought for the day from Hippie Peace Freaks on facebook ties in perfectly to this post -
"It's the simple things that can clear negativity. Take a deep breath, put on music that makes you happy, recall a pleasant memory. Negativity is a dark shadow...erase it by turning towards your inner light of your soul."

Enjoy those special moments in music, in life, in nature and in practicing.

Happy Practicing:)

Heather Broadbent


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Where Did My Violin Spark Go?

October 4, 2012 07:27

Good Morning Violinists:) I wish everyone a beautiful day and one full of love and light.

Today I am inspired to write about the importance of keeping the violin fresh. It is possible for some to have the daily practice routine or the approach to the violin become stale. When this happens do some self analyzing and ask why?

I am sure at one point all of us were inspired to study the violin for a reason. Think how can I tap back into that source of energy, the driving creative inspiration. Maybe studying difficult repertoire has become dull - maybe orchestral playing has lost it's lustre - maybe the students coming to the door are not inspiring. Everyone may have different reasons for the lull. One important thing to remember if you have experienced this feeling it is normal. It is a sign to reinvent a part of yourself as a musician.

How do I pull myself out of the lull you ask?

Try different things and see if that spark returns. Try some different styles of music - start listening to new music. Maybe do some listening research of different styles and times - Paris in the 30's or Berlin in the 20's. How can you incorporate that into your daily routine.

Violinist.com is wonderful - read blogs that may be inspiring to you. Find a new way to teach to reach out to your students using the internet as a teaching tool. The spark never leaves - it just hides for awhile until you find it again in a different place and in the long run that is the place you needed to gravitate to anyway.

All my best to my fellow violinists and Happy Practicing!!!

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Notereading - Another Language

October 2, 2012 19:19

It is a challenge to think of different ways to try to help students improve their notereading skills. One way I used that seemed to help is to compare the music notes to words. Sometimes the student only sees individual letters and not the entire "word." I introduce this in a way that is conducive to the piece they are learning. For example of it is a string of eight eighth notes, I ask the student to see it four notes at a time like a word and have them play that word. Then do the same for the next four and then put the two words together.
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