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July 2014 Teacher Spotlight

Erin R.
Violin, Heid Music Madison

 Erin_Ribble[1]At a very young age, Erin was inspired by her grandmother to learn the violin, a passion that followed her to college at UW Stevens Point where she was the first violinist to earn a bachelors degree in Jazz Performance. 

Erin teaches the Suzuki method to beginners, focusing on ear training first and then exploring sight-reading. Learning classical technique on the instrument is the best base, once there is a certain level of proficiency; Erin encourages improvisation and composition.  She offers instruction in music theory because a basic level of understanding is an essential part of being a musician. In addition to teaching violin, Erin offers instruction in jazz improvisation, (on any instrument) composition, mandolin, and viola.  She welcomes students of all ages and levels of playing. 

Erin also hold group lessons once a month. This is an opportunity to see what other students are working on and encourages progress in individual studies.

IMG_1612What is your favorite part about being a teacher? I love seeing my students master new concepts, techniques and ideas.  Being a creative soul is hard work, sometimes it seems like we'll never learn that next piece because it is so challenging, but it's worth it when everything comes together and understanding wins out.

What is the best advice you can give to a beginning student? Be kind and patient with yourself.  If you were working with a good friend on something that is difficult, I hope you wouldn't yell at them when they don't get it right away or tell them they're stupid!  Yet we do this to ourselves constantly, learning any instrument is a challenge, one that we always work at.  No matter how advanced you are, there are road blocks and frustrations.  Don't give in, be positive, practice and enjoy the process!

WhErin_1at made you decide to put violin and jazz together? I grew up playing classical music and while I loved the beauty of classical violin, I yearned for a more free and creative method to express myself.  I listened to a lot of rock, grunge and traditional music and eventually figured out that I can play all of those with my instrument.  I went to college hoping to learn more about music theory and improvisation so that I could play any music I wish.  Learning jazz was the answer!

If you had the time to master another instrument, what you choose? I would choose the drum set, I love a good dance beat laid down by an exceptional drummer!

Who is your biggest musical influence and why? I love so many different artists, so this is a difficult question to answer, but as far as violin goes I would choose Stuff Smith.  He was a jazz violinist from the mid 1900s, his groove and greasy tone really spoke to me as I was learning how to play jazz.  He is a well kept secret from the mainstream public.        

Erin_stageWhat do you like to do in your spare time? Spare time?  What's that?  Just kidding... I like to spend time with my family and my kitties.  The best day off I can imagine is laying in my hammock with a good book while my kitties explore the yard.

"Rin is a fantastic teacher.  She is patient, kind and flexible with her students.  If a student does not understand a concept the first time, she will find various ways to explain techniques until the student understands." -Amy Buencamino

"Rin is the best violin teacher I've had. She takes time to explain why things are the way they are while also adding a touch of humor that makes you feel like you're talking to an old friend." - Student, Ellawyn Fong

"Rin is a wonderful music teacher.  In less than a year, we have seen our daughter skillfully learn the violin thanks to Rin's teaching.  She is a caring, patient & detailed instructor.  Elliott says she is nice, fun & funny." -Tiffany and Elliot Stein

"Rin is an energetic and enthusiastic instructor who shows her love for music and instruments in every moment of her teaching. She listens to her students and does all that she can to encourage and cultivate their skills and motivates them to push themselves. I am extremely fortunate to have such a talented individual teaching my child." - Megan Buckner

"I can tell you that as a teacher, Rin works so well with Maya, she seems to connect with her and "get" her. She worked so hard with Maya for her WYSO application and really helped her improve as a violinist.  Maya says Rin is really nice, and has helped her a lot." -Susan and Maya Schaffer