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Happy Holidays from our Studio!

Happy Holidays! This includes, but not limited to, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year, and whatever you love to celebrate in December on every continent.


As the year rolls to its end, I am thankful for all it brought. (Yah, I know, should have posted a month ago for Thanksgiving, well… Procrastinator is my second name). I hope all trials and hardship of 2022 are mostly over, and I also hope they made me stronger.

But mostly I am truly, deeply, genuinely thankful for all people in my life right now: friends, family, colleagues, parents and my wonderful students.


This past year quite a few new students joined my studio, doubling its size. I welcomed “the new blood” with the open arms. That means I hear lots of exercises again, and with my urging -- caution! patience! no yelling over bad pitch! -- they will steadily grow and improve. (Tho’ I admit that having perfect pitch, it can be torture: “Whew…lesson is over.”)


Most of this new talent performed in the December recital at the Manitou Arts Center! Great job, everyone! I anticipate a lot of wonderful playing and amazing musical revelations in months and years to come! And I had a blast playing a duet with my darling Maya Mijares, studio alum from 2020!

Little Leclair with Maya


When families approach me asking for private lessons, we always meet for a trial lesson to see if that’s a good fit. It either “works”, and we end up teaming up for a few years through the student’s graduation, or they drop out early on, and most of the time I see this coming. I am sure it is similar for all my teaching colleagues. I have a reputation for being a demanding, strict teacher (colleagues call me a “mean a**” behind my back … not sure what I’ve done to them!). Yes, I demand at least some practicing and progress between lessons, otherwise I turn into expensive babysitter; one doesn’t keep a Ferrari in the garage for a trip to the grocery store, right? In the studio, we keep a positive, healthy atmosphere, and I especially love a good joke! I am sure parents wonder if they are paying for sessions of the comedy club but we manage to take care of the business. I love their laugh and smiling faces!

Silly violinist Gracie... agh, the bow grip! <3


Several kids threatened to start writing down “pearls of wisdom”. Ha-ha-ha! I beat them to it. Here’s a few favorites:


“You play like an old man without teeth!” Don’t remember the piece, but it was ~ undoubtedly a fast passage with tricky string-crossings which I hadn’t practiced carefully. You weren’t wrong…makes me laugh thinking of it.

~ Jacob Klock


I use this trick on my students all the time. Whenever their bow hand stretches out and their fingers are too far apart, I tell them, “My violin teacher used to tell me that I had a rake for a hand, and that she would send me out to rake leaves.” They always giggle!

~ Jorrin McGee


I remember in quartet coaching last year, my group was having trouble counting one part. “You made us say ‘Merry Christmas Happy New Year’ out loud as we played, and it fixed the counting problem! It made everyone laugh hysterically. That was such a fun and amusing day in quartet!” ~ Kate Kaczmarek


These are just the tip of the iceberg; more will be coming if you ask.


Wishing all peaceful skies and lots of health and love!

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