Our Violin Teachers

We decided to dedicate our Banks Set and Fantasy set to our private teachers over the years. We are both teachers ourselves now and realize that a music teacher/student relationship is so much more than just learning notes on a page. There is caring and mentorship that goes on. It is a deeply personal relationship, for better or for worse.

(Holly) When I was 8 years old, I had my very first violin lesson with Heather Gage. We got out her little half size violin that she was going to let me use, and we started in on Twinkle Twinkle. As I grew up, I also joined the little “Chatterbox Children’s Orchestra” that was organized by Johny MacDonald. When Heather went away to college to study music therapy at Cambridge, Johny took over my private lessons as well. I was incredibly lucky with these teachers. Heather introduced me to the love of music, and Johny instilled and cultivated in me a love of all forms of it, teaching me a huge range of genres and getting me involved with lots of groups, including orchestras, quartets, and fiddle groups. When I went to college, it was Johny who got me the contact of the Chico Pub Scouts, the people who would include me in my first ever Irish session and start my lifelong love affair with Celtic music that has led me on this incredible journey. I am so thankful I had (and still have) such wonderful teachers in my musical life.  

(Vanessa) I’ve had many teachers over the years and they have all been incredibly influential in my musical growth. They’ve all been thankfully patient with my stubbornness and perfectionism. I’ve learned different aspects of music from all of them. I guess you could say that my current musicality and technique is a composite of all my past teachers, a tapestry of notes, advice, and memories.

Thank you to all my wonderful teachers for making what I do and love, both in the classical and fiddle realms possible. Here’s to Charlie Savot, my teacher in grade school, Margaret Prechtl and Hua Jin in high school, Sue Garber, Dr. Davis & Lisa Brooks, and Larry Shapiro in undergrad and Phillip Ruder and Stephanie Sant’Ambrogio in grad school.

Come to find out, I don’t have a ton of pictures of my old teachers but I’ve included a couple below. It’s a trip down memory lane for sure. And I’ve also the tracks dedicated to our teachers, Banks/Madame Neruda and Scottish Fantasy, two of our more challenging, technical sets on the Mirrors of Elsewhere – Scotland cd.

Banks & Madame Neruda from our Mirrors of Elsewhere Scotland cd
Scottish Fantasy from our Mirrors of Elsewhere Scotland cd
Heather Gage
Johny McDonald
Charlie Savot leading her students in some Christmas carols…yes, I’m in there if you can recognize me 😉
Larry Shapiro and Davis Brooks
Stephanie Sant’Ambrogio, Rose and I celebrating the first chamber music concert of Stephanie’s L Cubed series