Gratitude factor

February 28, 2007

I recently attended the 25th reunion concert of a Stanford men’s a capella singing group. (Yes, I admit that I am a closet a capella fan, dating back to my first taste of it during Freshman Orientation week in college.) Read the rest of this entry »


A personal favorite

February 21, 2007

Never too early to start - Chloe at 22 months

It’s never too early to start!

Here is my niece Chloe at 22 months with her first violin (and me trying to teach her). I love her look of serious determination, and her bow hand. She is otherwise a very physically active, rambunctious child!


Concert for The Music Within Us families

February 19, 2007

Parents, please SAVE THE DATE for a very special private concert just for families of The Music Within Us program! Presented as part of “Residency Weekend 2007″

Friday, March 30, 2007

at 5:00PM, in the home of one of The Music Within Us families, Portola Valley

Light buffet dinner to follow

Violin performers: Jessica Gottesman, Patrick Lee, Alex Sheen,
Mr. Christopher Mah, & Dr. Lisa Chu

Repertoire: Selections by Sarasate, Kreisler, Vivaldi, Paganini, and many others

Invitations will be sent after Ski Week, and RSVPs are kindly requested before March 12th


Golf in February…is that so wrong?

February 19, 2007

Having grown up in the Midwest, it just seems wrong to me that I can play golf (outside, on a real course, without flying anywhere) in February. The wrongness factor is magnified by the fact that I can call my parents in Chicago to hear reports of the weather getting “up into the 20’s” (Fahrenheit) on the same day that I got a sunburn playing in 80-degree weather.

But such is life in California! And in northern California, it means that the day after you play golf in 80-degree weather, you can find yourself wearing a “winter” coat to fend off the cold evening windchill.

I have not lived here long enough to miss the snow. Read the rest of this entry »


Summer music camp – Save The Date!

February 17, 2007

Strings at Winona Lake 2007 dates have been announced!

Sunday, July 29 through Saturday, August 4, 2007

On the campus of Grace College in Winona Lake, Indiana

Faculty: Betty Haag-Kuhnke (Director), Dr. Lisa Chu, Ardis Faber, Debbie Barker 

Open to violinists from age 3 through 17 who study with a private teacher.

Activities will include private lessons, solo recitals, ensemble classes, public performances, and social activities for kids and families during this weeklong immersion in the joys and discipline of making music.


The power and peril of praising children

February 15, 2007

I encourage you all to read the following regarding Stanford Professor Carol Dweck’s recently published scientific study on the power and peril of labeling children as “talented” or “smart”, and the importance of the GROWTH MINDSET (the brain is like a muscle that gets stronger with use) in developing talents through hard work. Read, read, read it!

Here is the link to her cover story in New York magazine:  http://nymag.com/news/features/27840/index.html

Here is the link to an article in Stanford News Service, including a video interview: http://news-service.stanford.edu/news/2007/february7/dweck-020707.html


Trusting the process

February 12, 2007

Once again I am inspired by my little steps with golf. I have to thank my golf pro, Russ, for encouraging me to write this particular entry. Read the rest of this entry »


Postlude on the Parents’ Forum

February 11, 2007

Thank you all for the feedback on the Forum, both here and on the written feedback forms!

My hope in having several different parents share their stories was to give a sense of the broad range of parenting styles that we all bring to this process.

In the earlier days of The Music Within Us program, I would give more frequent “inspirational” presentations on my philosophies about learning. I have grown as a teacher in realizing that my role is to serve as a positive role model, through my interaction with each child and with the group. In each lesson, I take my own approach to building a relationship with each child, and hope that parents can observe and take some of these approaches into their homes. Realistically, I know that the parent-child dynamic is something very powerful that changes only when you willingly decide to do so.

There is no list of “tricks” or formulas to apply to each child. Teaching is not about “fixing” problems any more than medicine is about curing disease. Teaching is a mindset and a commitment to finding out what it takes to draw out the potential that lies within each student.

Some things to notice about my teaching style (which is modeled after Mrs. Haag’s approach with us):

1. The tone is serious.
Mrs. Haag believes that children are actually very serious, and long to be taken seriously. She does not use “gimmicks” to get them to listen to her, but rather believes that by demonstrating respect for them, showing them that they are very important to her (see my post on “Dr. Chu’s Shoes” for why we dress professionally even to teach toddlers), and treating them with respect, they respond accordingly. Read the rest of this entry »


Some quotes from today

February 10, 2007

Some of these may be “inside jokes” but I thought I’d share them anyway.

(1) Dr. Chu (addressing the group): “Which note in Song of the Wind do you usually play out of tune?”

Chet (after eagerly raising his hand to answer the question): “Everything.”

(2) Dr. Chu: “You must wait before you come in after lifting your bow off.”

Greer: “It’s better to be too late than too early!”


Honoring Suzuki’s wisdom

February 9, 2007

Today I received the following quote that inspired me to honor the wisdom of Dr. Shinichi Suzuki’s philosophy. Unfortunately the “productization” of his ideas, branding of “the Suzuki Method” and packaging it into widely accessible cookbook-style volumes of music has opened the doors to many, widely varying interpretations of the core philosophy.

The excerpt below, written by a non-musician educator (actually a former football coach), captures what I believe is the essence of Suzuki’s wisdom, which is worth remembering as we create the environment that will bring up the next generation. Read the rest of this entry »


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