Violin and Viola Lessons in San Francisco, CA Violin and Viola Lessons in the Bay Area
Student Success Through Long-term Investment
When you sign up for lessons, the journey of growth and transformation comes from seeing the long term process from A to Z. It is such a wonderful experience seeing students who come in to their first lesson continue for years (some eight to ten years) and have music aid in their development into young adults. Some of my youngest students I've started have achieved professional artistic levels, winning state competitions, orchestral auditions, and top tier programs. These select students have been accepted into Eastman, Oberlin, Peabody, USC, Mannes, Juilliard, and San Francisco Conservatory, among others. Some have been accepted to work in Boston University Tanglewood Institute, ENCORE, Interlochen, Aspen, and Meadowmount. My students have also played in master classes for Ray Chen, Augustin Hadelich, Bella Hristova, Cavani Quartet, Dover Quartet, Jinjoo Cho, Midori, Eric Siberger, and Victor Yampolsky.
This journey is so invaluable for the child and parent. It is a joy to see students who start at age five or six--or even nine and ten--achieve high levels of playing, musicality, self-awareness, and emotional maturity; continuing on to make music either as a student in a music school, or as an avid amateur player, enriching their lives and careers. The process from day one is set with these long term goals in mind, which is why investing in a long-term program, rather than a per-lesson approach, is the key to the highest value and reward.
The Young Learner (6-18)
I teach young students through the Suzuki Method™ as well as traditional western Classical training/heritage. I pair Suzuki methodology and classical pedagogy as the student progresses and matures. Scales, music theory, ear training, etude books, and advanced repertory are introduced throughout the student’s development.
The basic progression through this program often is (based on the student's progress):
Standing, holding, posture, motor skills, ear training, building enjoyment, memorization
Songs/Folk Songs, rhythms, bow distribution, left hand basic finger patterns, playing and identifying scale and arpeggios, staccato, detaché, legato, pizzicato, memorization, note reading, deep listening, phrase structure
Baroque dance forms, minuets, gavottes, tone and inflection, marcato bow stroke, right hand bow lifts, extensions, trills, syncopations
2 octave scales/arpeggios (Major and minor), details in phrase & dance forms, all basic left hand scales/patterns, vibrato, details of articulation, shifting to 2nd and 3rd positions, collé, lancé, up bow staccato, advanced keys, using technique to make artistic decisions to convey different colors/emotions
Building strong/soloistic sound, Baroque concertos, and student concertos from Romantic era, 3 octave scales, introduction of etudes and double stops, shifting to 4th and 5th positions, spiccato and sautillé bow strokes, extensions
Late Baroque and refined melodic technique, 5th/6th/7th positions, early Classical style, some Romantic style and supplemental pieces, etudes, technical exercises for left hand & bow styles, rubato, solo Bach, left hand pizzicato, advanced scales/arpeggios, 3rds/6ths/octaves
Baroque sonatas, bariolage, beginning of more virtuosic techniques, supplemental Romantic repertoire, advanced double stops and bow techniques, intermediate/advanced concertos in Classical and Romantic styles (Accolay, deBeriot, Haydn, J.C. Bach, Handel-Casadesus), deep analysis between Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and Modern bow and left hand style and sound development
Advanced Baroque concertos and sonatas; Kreisler pieces; Bach Suites, Partitas, Sonatas; Advanced etudes, Classical concertos such as Haydn and Mozart (violin) or Stamitz and Hoffmeister (viola)
Advanced pre-college etudes, Romantic and Modern concertos and show pieces (Bruch, Barber, Bartok, Hindemith, Kabalevsky, Lalo, Mendelssohn, Sarasate, Vieuxtemps, Walton, Wieniawski), Classical and Romantic sonatas, solo Bach, chamber music, orchestral studies, advanced music theory, scales in 10ths, artificial harmonics, flying staccato, ricochet/saltando
Each student gains an extremely strong technical foundation and profound understanding of body mechanics in relation to musical and artistic expression. Along with traditional string pedagogy, music theory, and Suzuki Method™, I incorporate fundamentals from both Alexander Technique and The Feldenkrais Method. I work with each student to develop strong listening skills and a vast understanding of music theory, as well as proficiency in the styles and forms of classical music. I incorporate these concepts in ways that are easy to understand intellectually and physically for each specific age and talent level, while creating a supportive and encouraging environment.
The Adult Musician (19+)
The advanced musician will continue to work on advanced repertoire, technique, and performance practices. I offer lessons for continued work on major concerto repertoire; chamber music and sonatas; solo Bach suites, sonatas, and partitas; orchestral repertoire and audition training/preparation.
Romantic and Modern sonatas
Romantic and Modern concertos
Etudes or Caprices
Festival Audition Preparation
Orchestra Audition Preparation
Other projects and works
The Karen Tuttle Legacy(For Advanced Violists)
Probably the most profoundly life-changing moment in my life was when I first met and studied with the legendary violist and pedagogue, Karen Tuttle, who taught at The Juilliard School, Curtis Institute, and Banff Centre of the Arts. I came to her as an advanced player who had profound muscle tension and tendonitis and her philosophy and methods not only released me from pain and injury, but gave me an understanding of how to physically manifest music through the body to find physical freedom, power and resonance, heightened technical ability, agility, and stamina. I continued this journey with the dear members of the Tuttle family, who are some of the most prolific performers and sought-after teachers in the world: Carol Rodland, Kim Kashkashian, Jeffery Irvine, and Edward Gazouleas.
Mr. Belisle a member of the American String Teachers Association (ASTA), Music Teachers National Association (MTNA), is on the Board of Directors and Treasurer of Hawaii Music Teachers Association (HMTA). He is also a member of the American Viola Society and a registered Violin/Viola teacher with the Suzuki Association of the Americas (SAA).
Please contact me for violin lessons or viola lessons and I will be happy to discuss options.
*Due to COVID-19/social distance guidelines, all lessons are being held online until after May 1 (three weeks after I receive my second dose of the vaccine). Online lessons will still be available as well.