South Park, Pittsburgh, PA (Gazebo)

Category: Venue Reviews

A very beautiful setting for outdoor wedding ceremonies with a pond as a background with plenty of nature around for wedding photos.  By coincidence, a good number of our Pittsburgh musicians live five to ten minutes away from South Park, putting traveling fees at zero for our clients.  The only “negative” is a nest of birds inside the gazebo that were very attentive during the wedding ceremony and accompanied the musicians during the processional music!




Wedding party processional music

Another issue to consider in selecting wedding music for a wedding party’s processional is the number of people involved in it plus the distance they will be walking to the site of the ceremony.  Mostly, the issue is the walking distance.  Our musicians have played at weddings where the wedding party had to walk a fairly long aisle distance, and the piece for their processional music that was chosen by the bride was a short one.  In such situation musicians usually repeat the piece as many times as needed until the processional comes to conclusion.  

Personally, I would suggest selecting a longer wedding processional piece if your bridal party is more than four people.  

The same can be said for a bride’s processional music choice: a wedding piece that will be long enough for the entire bride’s walk without a need to repeat it.  For that reason Pachelbel’s Canon in D became a favorite for many brides and bridal parties. It is pretty, sounds fantastic with three or four instruments, well known and long enough to be played without repeats for long processionals.

Temple David – Pittsburgh, PA

Category: Venue Reviews

Our string trio musicians played here for a jewish wedding ceremony.  As well as our musicians know Pittsburgh and its most popular places for weddings, this Temple was pretty tricky to find.  It is located in Monroeville area on the Northern Pike.  The main sign is somewhat obsured by the vegetation around it, and is not facing the road where it can be seen easily as you drive by.  We spoke to several wedding guests who had the same issue with finding the temple.  As a rule, we try to be at the site of the ceremony at least thirty minutes prior to the start of it, especially if we need to discuss issues with the officiant, bride, etc.  In this case, we could not get in the building until 2:05 and the ceremony’s start was scheduled for 2:30. When the musicians arrrived to the Temple – the doors were locked, and even guests were questioning the locked doors. Some had to sit in their cars with a/c running since it was a pretty hot day.

Perfect age for violin lessons

Category: On teaching

Whenever a parent of a young child contact me for private violin or viola lessons, their fist question is “Is my child too young to start a violin?”.  It has been an overall opinion among music professionals that if anything, music programs in public schools introduce instruments too late, and are non – existent in private schools as a rule due to lack of financial funds and mostly, lack of understanding of benefits that playing instruments brings.  

The concept of playing instruments is very similar to learning languages:  the earlier – the better.  Children who are bilingual (or more) were introduced to more than one language very early in their lives, hence becoming fluent and proficient in more than one. Children who start playing instruments prior to attending school have gained significant skills on the instrument by the time they reach third or fourth grade – the average age when string and band programs are introduced in most schools.  

From my experience as a private teacher, when a child starts violin lessons at around age five, by the third grade his/her level of playing usually equals to a sixth-seventh grade student who started playing in a public school in third or fourth grade without taking private lessons. 

An additional benefit to starting music lesson prior to attending school – a child has an opportunity to establish such concepts as discipline, work ethics, dedication, patience, and homework assignments.  Children who study instruments before attending school have no issues with getting used to homework and deadlines, they are already used to doing so on their instrument.  Throughout my years as a private teacher I have seen how children react differently to attending school. The big difference between those who are studying an instrument verses children who at times are “shocked” by attending school, following rules, etc. 

My personal guidelines for a “starting” age on violin lessons? A  child must know the first seven letters of the alphabet, and have an established conceptual thinking on lines and spaces.  These are usually established by the age of four, five at the latest.   The rest is gained with practice and dedication from all three parties involved, teacher, student and parents.