Student Of The Month, February 2024

Violin Student, Caylee K.

The violin is a very popular instrument. Audiences appreciate it’s elegant, graceful sound in a variety of musical styles and settings. The violin can also sound playful and energetic like in bluegrass, country and other styles. When it comes to learning a string instrument, violin is always the first choice in comparison to viola or cello. Children can start learning this instrument at the young age of 4 or 5 years old. This is because the instrument comes in a variety of sizes to satisfy the appetite for parents who want their children to learn to play. Needles to say, it’s a popular instrument choice! Get to know the other two popular choices at SMMC by visiting “Top 3 Instruments For Your Child’s First Instrument“.

Benefits of Violin Lessons

Music lessons are a fundamental part of any child’s general education. The benefits have been well studied and documented in countless research articles. Among the multitude of benefits, music helps develop a child’s speech, develop language processing and improves reading skills. In this study, researchers at McMaster University in West Hamilton, Ontario argue that music training (not just listening) has a positive impact on attention and memory. As such, learning to play the violin will improve a child’s ability to learn in multiple subjects.

By taking violin lessons, players also develop a number of distinct physical and social/emotional skills. Students will develop hand strength, finger dexterity, muscular coordination, good posture and balance AND fine motor skills. Whoa-that is a lot from just one instrument! Music training is also an exercise in learning self-discipline. Practice is the art of repetition and it takes self-discipline at any level to work on something you are not immediately good at. In developing practice habits, students learn patience, persistence, the value of effort and building a work ethic.

Socially, students who learn to play music on their instrument have the ability to share music with others. Students often play for their families at gatherings, perform in music recitals or participate in orchestras or chamber groups. Our Music Center is a big advocate for students to play and perform with other students as evidenced by our Chamber Ensemble and String Ensemble. Often, we feature our own instructors performing on their instruments in an effort to promote sharing music and community. Check out violin instructor Ms. Alicia playing a number of Disney melodies.

In Her Teacher’s Words

Kaylee takes lessons from SMMC violin, viola and piano instructor Mr. Armin Mariano. Mr. Mariano is a violist who earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Viola Performance and Certificate in Music Education from Carnegie Mellon University. Mr. Armin writes:

Violin student Caylee with her music instructor.
Caylee with her music instructor, Mr. Armin.

“Caylee has made tremendous progress in learning how to play the violin. We have been focusing on the physical techniques required to play the violin which include correct posture, proper finger placement, holding the bow the correctly, and pulling the bow across the string. Recently we have started to learn how to do vibrato. Caylee does an amazing job of reading notes and rhythms all while mentally juggling these components of playing the violin! She always comes to the lessons prepared and gives new pieces her best try even though they get more difficult. As her teacher I look forward to seeing her progress in learning solo and ensemble repertoire. I am excited to be part of Caylee’s musical journey and can’t wait to see where it leads her!”

Caylee During A Recent Lesson

Enjoy this small performance of Caylee during her most recent violin lesson.

Congratulations on the award Caylee! Keep up the great progress!

Meet the Student

Let’s get to know Caylee a little more! We asked her a few questions to get some insights into her likes about music and stuff in general. Here’s what she had to say:

  1. How long have you been playing your instrument and what do you like most about about playing it?
    I have been playing for 3 years and I just like the way it sounds.
  2. How do you make time to practice in your busy schedule?
    I make time by consistently practicing after finishing all my homework.
  3. What brand or size instrument do you play on? What do you like about how your instrument sounds?
    I play on a 1/2 size violin. I find the instrument I play on is exciting to me!
  4. If any, who are some of the artists you look up to for your instrument and why do you look up to them?
    I look up to my aunt who was a violinist in Korea. She helps me when I might feel discouraged.
  5. What do you like about the piece you chose to perform for the SOTM video?
    What I like about the piece I chose to play is that it’s playful but also relaxing.
  6. What do you like to do in your downtime?
    I like to draw, play games or play my violin.

Meet The Instructor

Mr. Armin Mariano

Armin Mariano began studying violin and switched to viola because of its warm rich tone. He graduated from Los Angeles County High School for the Arts (LACHSA) and earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Viola Performance, and Certificate in Music Education from Carnegie Mellon University. Armin has been performing and teaching since 2009 in Los Angeles and in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He teaches both violin/viola and piano to students of all ages and has developed a passion for teaching, individualizing lessons for each student based on their different strengths. He focuses on developing basic musical skills using fun and creative ideas.

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