The Ottawa Community String Orchestra Concert – June 6 & 7 2015


I thoroughly enjoyed today’s Ottawa Community String Orchestra Concert at the Amica in Blackburn Hamlet. The musicians have obviously worked very hard to prepare the Programme over the course of the year and Anne Cure did a wonderful job as conductor. I’m very proud of Carol Easson, an adult student of mine, who has gained so much through the experience with the orchestra and was absolutely glowing! I encourage all adult amateur string musicians to participate. Contact Joan Henry (cellist in the orchestra) at or ask me about it at your next lesson. Thanks for sharing your love of music!

Ottawa Community String Orchestra Programme Front


Practicing Without Reminders

ARTICLE: How to Get Your Child to Practice Without Asking or Reminding Them

Is that even possible? It certainly is! Here is an interesting article about children and helping them build independant practice habits. Cassie’s ideas are simple and can be applied by anyone with minimal effort. With practising, it’s often the small things that make the biggest difference. Leaving the case open, for example, keeping the violin in sight and in mind, or listening to lots of inspiring music.

Student Recital

Good luck to all my wonderful students who are playing in the concert tonight!

Our program includes, among others, the following:

  • Sonata No. 5 in B flat Major by Thomas Augustine Arne
  • Au clair de la lune
  • The Bee (Die Biene) by Franz Anton Schubert
  • Amazing Grace

I leave you with a picture of Jascha Heifetz for a little inspiration. See you soon!


Memory Game for Beginner Violin Students

Here is the memory game we often use during lessons. Follow the instructions bellow to have your own copy for home.

Printable Game in PDF Format:

Memory Game for Beginner Violin Students- Jeu de concentration pour débutants au violon


Clink on the image above and print the game on cardstock. Cut the cards out.

You will need two players to play this game. Place the cards face down on a flat surface. The first player turns a card over placing it back in the same spot. He then turns another card over. If they make a pair, the player keeps both cards and plays again. If they do not make a pair, she places the cards back face down. It’s now the next player’s turn. The game continues this way until all the cards have been paired and claimed. The winner is the player who found finishes with the most pairs.

Drawing Contest

The violin studio’s Holiday drawing contest has begun! Submit your drawing before  December 1st. It must touch on both themes: music and the Holiday Season. The winner will have his or her drawing on the front of the Studio greeting cards. Good luck! I look forward to seeing your drawing!

Brain Structures Differ between Musicians and Non-Musicians

According to a recent article in the Journal of Neuroscience, brain structures differ between musicians and non-musicians:

From an early age, musicians learn complex motor and auditory skills (e.g., the translation of visually perceived musical symbols into motor commands with simultaneous auditory monitoring of output), which they practice extensively from childhood throughout their entire careers. Using a voxel-by-voxel morphometric technique, we found gray matter volume differences in motor, auditory, and visual-spatial brain regions when comparing professional musicians (keyboard players) with a matched group of amateur musicians and non-musicians. Although some of these multiregional differences could be attributable to innate predisposition, we believe they may represent structural adaptations in response to long-term skill acquisition and the repetitive rehearsal of those skills. This hypothesis is supported by the strong association we found between structural differences, musician status, and practice intensity, as well as the wealth of supporting animal data showing structural changes in response to long-term motor training. However, only future experiments can determine the relative contribution of predisposition and practice.

Read the full article at the Journal of Neuroscience

Listen to Free Recordings with NACO’s MusicBox

Is there anything that makes working at a desk more tolerable than sipping tea and listening to beautiful music? I’m rediscovering the National Arts Centre Orchestra’s free, streaming catalogue of recordings. Visit to sample. A personal favourite is the second movement of Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet in A major “Stadler”, K. 581, played here by NACO’s Kimball Sykes and the NAC Orchestra. You can even browse concert notes, if you’re looking to get a deeper understanding of the music and where it came from. Happy discovering!

Summer Concerts in Ottawa

Dear students,

Summer is a wonderful time to discover classical music. There are many concerts and festivals all over the city, sometimes even outdoors. Here is a list of some of my favourites:

  • Canada Day at the NAC (July 1) – Free and very interesting programming!
  • Orchestre de la francophonie – Concert in the park (July 20) – I think this is their annual Concert in the park but they haven’t put the info up on the website. So far, the concerts have always been free and in a lovely family-friendly atmosphere.
  • National Youth Orchestra (August 2) – Concerts were always free until this year, we were pretty lucky mostly thanks to subsidizing. The orchestra is always of very high calibre for the age of the players.
All concerts in these festival series are excellent:
Have a great summer,

Chantale 🙂

Good luck to all violinists!

Good luck to all violinists taking practical violin examinations with the Royal Conservatory, this week! I’m proud of your hard work.


Improve Your Sight-Reading is an excellent site that has many drills to help you work on your reading skills and up your speed. A good way to use this tool is to aim to do a certain number of exercises daily, e.g. 20 note-name questions, and note your accuracy and your time. You’ll see improvement in in both which will boost your confidence and motivate you. Remember, the better your reading skills, the more efficient your practice sessions will be.

  1. NOTE NAMES: You can practice these as do-ré-mi or ABC. You also have the option of focusing on a certain group of notes, say line notes or space notes.
  2. Now that you’re well acquainted with note names, TIME YOURSELF.
  3. VIOLIN FINGERINGS: When you try your hand at this drill, practice naming the notes before you select its location on the fingerboard. For an extra challenge, add sharps and flats!