Announcing “Residency Weekend 2007”

January 30, 2007

Wednesday evening, March 28 through Sunday morning, April 1, 2007

We will be joined by three current seniors in high school who have each studied violin at the Betty Haag Academy since the age of three. All attend public or private schools in the Chicago suburbs, are actively involved in their communities and other extracurricular activities, and are top students academically. They have each traveled internationally on multiple concert tours with the Magical Strings of Youth and all currently study with Mrs. Haag. Read the rest of this entry »


Leadership skills and music training (or, “What’s violin got to do with it?”)

January 23, 2007

Those of you who have been to one of my parent seminars know that I believe that our habits toward lifelong learning (by which I mean our attitudes toward growth and willingness to change) are established early in life and apply toward any new challenge we face. The violin training offered through The Music Within Us program – which includes individualized instruction, performances both in groups and individually, and a social community of like-minded families – seeks to maximize each child’s potential and, along the way, leave them with a lifelong framework for approaching new challenges and pursuing their own passions in any field. In my teaching, I emphasize the balance between discipline and creative freedom in music-making, the importance for children to learn both individual accountability and the ability to function as part of a team, and through hard work, to earn the opportunity to become a leader.

My perspective on music education, particularly that certain approaches to music training can actually develop important skills for our future leaders, is rarely talked about in concrete terms. While most people acknowledge the value of music as a subject of study for one’s general education and awareness, it is rarely discussed for its potential to develop more sensitive communicators, more attentive listeners, more patient learners, and more confident public presenters. In short, I have rarely seen a convincing discourse on the value of quality music training in supporting the development of better leaders outside the field of music. Read the rest of this entry »


Fall 2007 Enrollment Information — NEW open house dates!

January 17, 2007

Here is the schedule of Spring Open House dates for The Music Within Us program:

  • Saturday, February 10, Room M-2
  • Saturday, March 17, Room H-1
  • Saturday, May 5, Room H-1

Parents interested in enrollment for their children in Fall 2007 are invited to bring their children to observe our classes on one of the above dates. Read the rest of this entry »


My favorite violin works and artists

January 13, 2007

I provided a list of my favorite violin recordings to my students in their 2nd year of study, and I was pleasantly surprised to hear that most of the parents purchased some of the CDs on my list. Now, I have 5- and 7-year-olds whose personal heros are Paganini, Mendelssohn, Midori, and Hilary Hahn…

Here are some of my favorites: Read the rest of this entry »


Overview of Spring 2007 Events (check back for updates)

January 13, 2007

Thursday, February 8th, 7-9PM, Cubberley Room A-2 – PARENTS’ FORUM & WORKSHOP (open to currently enrolled and accepted applicants to The Music Within Us program)

Here are some possible agenda items:


Use of “time-outs” as a discipline strategy

January 12, 2007

Some of my ideas about learning and personal development may seem “old school”, but I really believe in culling the best of whatever traditions and cultures I encounter. I’m a product of a unique blend of intergenerational, cultural, academic, and professional influences, and I try to bring the best of all those perspectives to my teaching and way of life.

Recently I was inspired to think about the strategy of “time-outs” as a disciplinary tool used by parents to manage toddlers’ behavior. In the history of parenting, it seems to be a relatively recent term that was designed to help parents keep from losing their tempers and resorting to more “harmful” behavior modification strategies (in the extreme case either physical or verbal abuse). I have found that its effectiveness, like most tools, depends on applying it in the appropriate situations. Read the rest of this entry »


What’s on my iPod nano?

January 12, 2007

I got a pink iPod nano for Christmas this year, and at first I was resistant to adopting the “way of life” that is an iPod. After I invested a full two days around the holidays loading some of my favorite music into iTunes and onto my iPod (and spent another few hours researching and acquiring the right protective case….and don’t get me started on earphones!), I became more of a believer. Now, when I’m not teaching, you will often see me around town with the signature white earphones hanging around my neck. Read the rest of this entry »