Music has been a part of my life since the young age of three. It was not something that I chose to do but rather something my parents chose for me. My mother’s family is French Canadian and music has been central to their lives whether it be singing, guitar, harmonica, piano or playing the violin. I never knew when I began playing that it would become such a central part of my life as well. It was not always easy, especially the practicing and I did fight my parents many times over it but I truly loved the satisfaction that came with achieving new levels and overcoming obstacles. Another thing happened. As I reached my teens I realized that this was not just something I did for someone else but a channel to deeply express myself in a way that not many others could. That was when I decided that music was there for good and I chose it on my own.
As I progressed through music school in Montreal, I met teachers who showed me the level of passion and beauty that could be achieved through my art and that’s when I knew that I wanted to become a teacher to show others what they had shown me. I decided that I wanted to inspire, as I had been inspired.
In my studio, I thrive to keep a passion for music alive. As young students it’s easy to forget the purpose of what we are doing. I thrive to keep the musical inspiration as the leader of our journey into different pieces. In the end, I want each student to experience the characters, story and mood of the music in front of them. I also try to do this by having students discover those elements for themselves so that they may in turn assess musical pieces using their own creative powers.
None of this wonderful expression is possible without a sturdy technical foundation. I pride myself on strict basic technique. I use many tools for this such as scales, studies and violin mechanics in each lesson. I believe that if the student can understand the reasons for the techniques then they will better assimilate them in their playing. I find that when students themselves “discover” (with my help) the issues they face as they play then they are more accepting and understanding of the solutions. I also take a lot of time to explain how to practice since most of the students work happens without me.
Not every student will choose to continue to pursue music as a career but my goal is to instill a love and respect for music that will last through their lifetimes. Music can serve as a great outlet for stress relief. It can be a tool for expression and meditation. It also teaches self discipline and develops great learning and memorization skills. My hope is that each student has a lasting love for music which will give them pleasure, even joy throughout their lives.
All lessons take place at the Nutting Studio.
30 minutes- $30
45 minutes- $45
60 minutes- $60
Participation Expectations for Students
Students are expected to practice between lessons. There can be no improvement without it. The amount of practice varies from student to student. In general, I suggest that students practice for the length of their lesson time, five days a week. The lesson itself does not count as a practice nor do school rehearsals. For more advanced students reaching high school, the practice time should continue to increase beyond an hour. The sky is the limit and the more you do, the greater you will sound.
Obviously, there are times when practice may be interrupted. I understand that very well. The odd underprepared lesson is acceptable. However, coming to lessons unprepared for several weeks can result in very frustrating times for both the student and myself. I want to maintain a high standard of dedication in my studio. If a student is unable to practice for three lessons in a row, this will result in a conference with the parent. If no good reason is given for the failure to practice, in order to uphold the standards of my studio, I reserve the right to discontinue the lessons.
Parents and students should talk about practice expectations before committing to lessons. For example, “I was too busy” is not an acceptable excuse if it continues over a period of time. Lessons without practice are not useful.
Students are encouraged to keep a log of practice time. Using a timer can be very helpful to keep track of minutes practiced. Often, after a week of timing themselves, students find that the time flies by. I will always spend time in lessons talking about how to practice.
Participation Expectations for Parents
Practice with your student! It is the best thing you can do for them. Obviously the older they get, the more complicated that can be and often they refuse their parents but keep an ear out. I suggest students practice when you can hear them so that you may gently guide them through their practice time. It can be VERY difficult for students to exercise patience when playing. Please help them to do things the right way and encourage them to use good technique and posture. You might even offer rewards! Be their cheerleader! If a student has practiced well, you may want to give them some extra play time afterwards or an extra story at night. Reward good weekly practicing. Everyone loves to succeed. The more you give them the feeling of success it will boost them up and make them want to practice. And remember, students don’t always want to practice. That is NORMAL! It is hard to be responsible and work at something but as we all know, that is how we accomplish things. Don’t let them give up and don’t give up on them. Encourage, cheer and reward.
Come to the lessons! Come sit in on lessons. You will learn how to help your child practice at home. The things I say and write are the reason your child takes lessons. If they go home and forget it all or ignore it, then lessons are futile. With your help and memory they can go home and strengthen their practice time and improvement curve even more.
Go to Classical Concerts! Live concerts teach us so much about how to perform and are inspiring. Check out the Saskatoon Symphony's website.
Listen to classical music at home and in the car! The more a student listens, the better their ear gets. It’s a form of conditioning and ear training. It also inspires the student to want to get to a higher level in their own playing so that they too may play in great orchestras or ensembles, that they too could play more challenging and interesting repertoire. Expose your child to the possibilities of the music world. Jazz and country are also great! Check out Stephen Grapelli on jazz violin or Lindsey Stirling playing pop music. They will love it!
Attendance and Rescheduling Policies
Lessons may be cancelled with 24-hour notice. I encourage you to try and reschedule with me. Cancelations within 24 hours of a scheduled lesson are non-refundable. I will do my best to reschedule for you however if we cannot agree on any times or if my schedule is already booked, you must pay in full. Exceptions to this include serious illness and any family emergencies. If you or your child is sick with a virus, you are encouraged not to come and to try and reschedule. Students must attend a minimum of 3 lessons per month. I reserve the right to discontinue lessons with a student if there are continuous cancelations for avoidable reasons. (I.e. not practicing, “too busy”, etc.)
If you are running late to a lesson please phone or text to let me know. If you are late for avoidable reasons I am not obliged to teach beyond the allotted time for that student. Traffic can be an issue. Please make sure that you have calculated possible traffic into your travel time.
If I have to cancel a lesson for any reason, I guarantee that I will find an agreeable date for reschedule or I will credit the missed lesson for the next month.