I’m on the faculty at Belmont University in Nashville, TN where I teach jazz and rock violin. There are not many opportunities for string players to get instruction in non-classical styles, so it’s a very important part of my work to share my years of experience with youth orchestras and string programs in schools around the world, ranging from elementary through post-graduate level studies. Although my approach is a bit different for each age group, there are many fundamentals that are common to all workshops:
- Improvising – cultivating our natural curiosity and playfulness; making it fun, forgetting our inhibitions
- Awakening our innate sense of Rhythm – essential to any groove-based style, such as rock, jazz, hip hop, etc. Strum Bowing is a method that I’ve developed to teach string players how to groove
- Listening to each other – an awareness of the greater whole, responding to the music being made around you
- Lecture/Demonstration – selections from my solo program; explanations about equipment; questions from the audience.
- Improvisation for Strings – an overview of the blues; call and response; simple scales and approaches for first-time improvisers.
- Strum Bowing – physicalizing the subdivision of the beat based on the way guitar players strum, this simple and effective approach includes the “chop”.