Wedding dinners music

This is mostly for those who book musicians for wedding receptions and dinners. When our groups play at these,  we usually put together our own program, mixing classical pieces with a few oldies, Beatles and such.  However, keep in mind that we can play some pieces for you on request.  You might have a special song for the bride and groom upon them being introduced, or may be another one played during the Father/Daughter dance, or the Bride/Groom dance.  If needed, we can always arrange a song to fit your requests.  During one of the wedding dinners we played “Happy Birthday” for a grandmother who turned ninety on the day of the wedding – it was a simple gesture and she loved it! So, please remember that these options are there – let us know and we will make it happen for you!

In words of others

Category: On teaching
Even after teaching for such a long time, I still try to think of ways on how to improve my teaching techniques, my approach to students of different levels and to their future potentials. I know what I wish for students during my lessons, I have a clear game plan for each one of them in my head, but I have never been able to sum it up in a few words… until now. Here is someone else’s sentence on it, but it surely fits how I feel and what I try to aim for as a teacher.
…” The students and I share a common goal, which is the development of their potential to the fullest extent. I am for a cordial but intense and purposeful teaching atmosphere…”
Arik Braude, Strad Magazine, February 2010


Category: On teaching
I have been a private violin and viola instructor since 1996.  Every time I get a beginner student I have a discussion with a parent, explaining that violin or viola are probably some of the hardest instruments to learn. It will take time, work, and patience from both, student and parents.  I emphasize that point especially to those whose children already play another instrument, especially piano. Piano is much easier to conquer in the early stages than violin or viola, and I don’t want parents to assume that it is the same with string instruments.  Even though I am very confident in my viewpoint on that, once in a while I would feel that some parents did not trust me on that, assuming that I purposely make learning violin or viola look harder than it actually is.  In the long run they see for themselves that it does take more effort than some other instruments, especially piano.  Don’t get me wrong – I am  not prejudiced against piano ( I spent ten years in my childhood with my hands on eighty eight black and white keys in addition to violin), I am simply stating that violin, viola (and cello) are more challenging.
After all these years I finally found something for those who might have mistrusted me at first.  This comes from the March issue of the Strad Magazine, very popular in the world of musicians, professionals and amateurs alike.  This is an excerpt from an article by Norman Lebrecht, cultural commentator.  I think he said it the best, which is why I put it here. I hope this will make it easier to understand what we deal with as string players, and to all of you, especially my students : realize how hard it is what you do on the instrument, I am proud of you for choosing such a challenging instrument,  and have patience with it – rewards are on the way!

Pittsburgh musicians in string quartets, trios, and duets playing at indoor weddings and other events.

Here are photos of our musicians in string quartets, trios and duets  performing at weddings and other events in Pittsburgh and its’ surroundings. If you don’t want to watch the slide show of all the photos, you may also double click on any single photo to see its’ larger image.

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School Programs for kids

Category: On teaching

In additions to working as musicians for weddings, orchestras and private teaching, our musicians perform for children at schools, introducing them to the family of string instruments, violin, viola and cello.  We talk about classical music, instruments, different time periods, and play pieces from different eras. Kids seem to enjoy it, and so do we.  We also did a program for students at Grove City College, the string quartet photos are here as well.



Our string quartet at Falling Water

This one was a lot of fun for all of the musicians! Our string quartet was hired to play there for the Raymond James & Associates Financial Services. It was a great setting, wonderful people who truly appreciated us, and we played pretty much non stop, moving from one beautiful nature spot to the next. Even my husband who came along and carried instruments around ( thank you so much to him! ) had fun. It was a wonderful, sunny day and even a better day to be a musician!

Pittsburgh musicians in string quartets, trios, and duets performing in outdoor settings.

These are photos of our musicians in quartets, trios and duets playing at outdoor wedding ceremonies, banquets, and other parties. If you don’t want to watch the slide show of all the photos, you may also double click on any single photo to see its’ larger image.

phipps concervatory trio

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Stars of mine…

Category: On teaching
These are some of my viola and violin students. I have a studio of  over thirty kids in the North Hills area of Pittsburgh. Some take lessons to be a part of their school orchestra, some are aiming towards a career in music, and some – like a photo of my husband with an adult student that I teach – simply tried to play the violin just to see how hard it really is!

Adagio for strings controversy

I tend to stay very involved with my clients when it comes to selecting music, especially if it is a wedding. The other day a client of ours (we are to have a string trio at her wedding  in April) requested, or rather asked if we could play “Adagio for Strings by Barber “for her processional. Many people, including my husband, know the tune from the movie “Platoon”. It is a slow, solemn piece, funeral – like. In fact, our string quartet had played it at the Pittsburgh County Courthouse on April 6, 2009 where the bodies of  three Pittsburgh Police Officers were laid for viewing after they were shot and killed on April 4th… We played there all day, alternating musicians. Some of us stayed late into the evening. “Adagio for strings” was the piece that we played several times throughout the night. It is also a piece that was played by different orchestras throughout the country after 9-11 attack. For some, it became a symbol on 9-11. It is a wonderful piece and the bride told me  she absolutely loves it. However, I can’t imagine playing it as she is walking down the isle towards her future husband! At first, she seems let down, but after I e-mailed her several videos of where that piece was played – she thanked me, saying she didn’t realized what the piece meant and how people can perceive it.  We finally settled on a piece a bit more upbeat and suitable for a spring day wedding. The point is: you might love a certain piece, but be careful in your decision on where you want the piece to be heard. You n ever know how it might affect those around you, especially if it is a wedding, supposedly a happy occasion. 

Time away

I had a phone conversation a few days ago with a bride who hired our string quartet musicians for her June wedding in Pittsburgh. We ended up talking for a long time since she is a musician herself. We talked about her anxiety about the wedding, making sure that everything is ready – the usual stress that comes with it. She mentioned something that she does before any big event: ..” get ready as much as you can, and about two weeks beforehand – step away, don’t do anything having to do with it, give your brain a break, almost a wind tunnel, where things can get settled and aired out. Then, a week before you will see everything with a fresh set of eyes, and will be able to make last minute decisions and changes much easier..” I thought about it later, and felt that it is true: by giving yourself a break – you start seeing things from a different angle, with a fresh outlook. I know without thinking I already do so in teaching kids: whenever I give them a break from lessons for a week or two – not only they sound much better upon seeing me again, but I tend to teach with a different prospective and seeing new trends in kids, things that I might have missed before, or dismissed as unimportant. It turns out – small details are the most important once… So, take your time to “step away” from your projects, give yourselves a break for a while. Things will  become more clear when you come back, just like Sudoku, all the numbers will fit.