FACULTY: VIOLIN, VIOLA, TRUMPET & LECTURER
A native of South Dakota, Sophie Genevieve is an American violinist who recently returned to the USA after five years in London, England. Sophie studied at the Royal Academy of Music to earn a master’s degree in Baroque violin. She also received a master’s degree in London at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in modern violin. She soloed in various concerts, including a performance at the Palais des Beaux-Arts de Bruxelle (Brussels, Belgium), a four-violin concerto solo with Laurence Cummings at the Duke’s Hall (London), and a concerto on a Landolfi violin on loan from the National Music Museum (USA).
Sophie appeared on a variety concert stages, including the Royal Festival Hall (London), Wigmore Hall (London), St. Martin-in-the-Fields (London), Palais des Beaux-Arts de Bruxelles (Brussels, Belgium), Holland Performing Arts Center (Omaha), le Salle Françoys-Bernier (Québec), and the Kennedy Center (Washington D.C.). In London, she was part of the celebrated Kohn Foundation Bach Cantata Series, which is highly reviewed by the London Times. She appeared live on the radio internationally, including on the BBC (UK) and on KVNO (Omaha).
Sophie was a founding member of the Keats String Quartet in London, which performed extensively across the UK. The quartet frequently performed at Cambridge University, and accompanied various Cambridge college choirs. She was a member of the early music group, Risonanti, which was the only ensemble in the United Kingdom to perform early Italian music solely at high pitch (A=465). Due to the technical demands and historical integrity of the music, Risonanti’s repertoire included many manuscripts that have not been performed for hundreds of years.
In addition to her UK studies, Sophie studied at the Starling-Delay Symposium at the Juilliard School of Music in NYC and l’Académie du Domaine Forget in Québec, Canada.
At the Royal Academy of Music, she was a student of Matthew Truscott and Margaret Faultless. She worked and studied with Rachel Podger, Midori, Laurence Cummings, Chi-chi Nwanoku, Lisa Beznosiuk, Nicolette Moonen, Pavlo Beznosiuk, Daniel Brüggen, Pamela Thorby, Adam Woolf, Pawel Siwczak, and Elizabeth Wallfisch. She performed with conductors including Masaki Suzuki, Edward Gardner, Steven Divine, and Jane Glover.
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"Sophie is an amazing teacher! She is able to work with students of all ages and levels, with a positive, straight forward approach. She is enthusiastic and supportive and is able to adapt to the unique needs of each student according to their abilities. She makes violin practice fun. Sophie is an excellent violinist and brings out the best in her students, whether they are working on Suzuki Book One or the Bach Solo Sonatas and Partitas." -Eliza B, Violin Student
What is your teaching style?
Every student has a different background and different ways in which they learn best. It is always my aim to communicate to the student in a way that makes the most sense to the student. In my lessons, I always start by teaching a concept different ways and see what resonates with the student most. For example, I teach a new skill by showing it visually on the music or aurally by playing it o my violin or verbally explaining or kinesthetically showing a student on their violin. Depending on how they respond to the teaching, I then can start determining what aides the student best. My teaching methodology will always vary slightly with each student based upon their needs, but what never varies in my lessons is my absolute commitment to bring excellence and my best to teaching. My teaching does not cover just the technical aspect of playing the instrument, but includes teaching on music theory, music history, interpretation of the music and performance coaching.
What age should I start my child playing the violin? Is it ever too late for me to start?
Learning to play the violin can start as early as four years old. Research shows that music aptitude is shaped the most before the age of six. Afterwards, music aptitude stabilizes around age six to seven. Although new skills can be learned later, it becomes much harder, especially to determine pitch and rhythm. However, if you or your child is starting later in life, do not let the absence of prior musical education deter your musical pursuits. I have had many older adults who are surprised at their own high music aptitude even without having studied it in the past. I have taught students before who were in their eighties before they had ever started to learn any musical instrument. It is never too late!
What genres do you teach?
I most often teach music which people often classify as “classical” violin, which is music from the Baroque, Classical, Romantic and Modern time periods (1600-present.) My specialty is in historical performance (Royal Academy of Music, London) and those influences heavily direct the way I approach musical interpretation in general. However, in my lessons I always ask the student what type of music they enjoy. If you like a style, whether it ranges from jazz, gypsy or fiddle music, we can incorporate it in the lesson. If you are a beginner violinist or violist, I usually recommend the Suzuki Book One book because I feel the addition of new skills is manifested in a well thought out manner. However, I do not teach “pure” Suzuki and will teach you to learn how to read music if you do not know how to already.
What is the structure of the first lesson?
For the first lesson, I will start off with a conversation of your musical (if any background), what type of music you would like to play and what you hope to accomplish through the lessons. If it is your first violin lesson, we will:
-Learn the parts of the violin and bow
-Learn how to stand correctly and hold the violin
-Learn how to hold the bow
-Learn about the different angles required for the four strings
-Identify your strengths in musical aptitude
-Start playing the violin with pizzicato and get a sense of the bow on the violin
If you are already a violinist, I will ask you to play a piece you are working on so that I can determine your ability and we can start working right away.
How often should I come for lessons?
It depends on how quickly you want to advance. String playing involves many small details and until you reach a certain level of aptitude, require the weekly or at the very least bi-weekly attention of a teacher. In my experience, those who have weekly lessons will improve almost twice as quickly as those who have a lesson every other week.
How often should I practice?
It is better to be consistent in your practice than to practice for a large quantity of time once or twice a week. I would rather have a student come to a lesson who practiced ten minutes a day, six days a week than a student who practiced for one hour in one sitting. That being said, string playing takes commitment and time. Beginners should try to practice at least twenty to thirty minutes a day, six days a week.
What do I need for my first lesson?
If you are already a violinist, please bring your violin and any recent music you have been working on or are comfortable playing through during the lesson. This will help me ascertain your level and help me design your individual lesson curriculum.
If you do not have a violin, then do not worry about bringing anything. The M Institute has a studio violin you can use in your first lesson.