Saturday, April 13th Workshop
Registration for the 43rd Annual SAGWA String Festival featuring the new ROCKTACULAR!© is now open! We are really excited about this unique opportunity to collaborate with our clinicians and create a one-of-a-kind experience for our students. They will be able to see the endless possibilities of playing their instruments in many different genres while having a "rock star" experience!
Our clinicians for this event are Russell Fallstad, violin/viola, and Rodney Farrar, cello. Russell is one half of the Dueling Fiddlers and has a fresh perspective on the music world. He and Rodney will collaborate with us to bring your students an integration of pop music culture and classical. We will use familiar repertoire to explore new ideas and possibilities in string playing.
The repertoire resembles that of a graduation recital. We have worked to represent every level with at least one repertoire piece. As in previous years, students should prepare every piece listed. All graduation pieces must be approved by their teacher and the student must be well into the next book. Students must have depth of knowledge and enough flexibility to modify the piece for performance.
This “ROCKTACULAR!©” will include all players, from Pre-Twinkle to the most
advanced. Russell has written our finale piece called “Twinkle Pop” and is working with Rodney and the repertoire to prepare a truly unique and incredibly exciting event for your students! “Twinkle Pop” will be available soon as a download on iTunes.
The workshop on Saturday, April 13th, will be held at the Bullis School and will include something for all of the parents and teachers as well as the students! Russell will give a parent talk in the morning during the graduation preparation classes with local teachers. He will also offer a teacher presentation on integrating improv and alternate styles in your group classes, private teaching, and performance on Friday evening, April 12th. Russell and Rodney will work with the students for the bulk of the day, not only to prepare them for the ROCKTACULAR!© concert, but primarily to motivate and present exciting new musical possibilities. They will also meet with teachers after the concert to discuss the event and answer questions.
The early registration cost for this event is $95 and it will be open to all string students on a first-come, first-served basis. Currently we believe that our number will be capped between 350 - 400 participants. We have talked to several people about this and they are really excited to be able to offer this type of opportunity to their students, so we believe this will fill up quickly! Awards will be presented to students who graduate at this event.
We are pioneering this new and exciting concept and we would be happy to have you come along on the journey. We know you will want your students to be a part of this first-of-its-kind event!
Please feel free to contact us with your questions and we will do our best to answer.
Beth Taylor, Executive Producer, Festival & ROCKTACULAR©
Stephanie Flack, Director, Festival & Suzuki ROCKTACULAR©
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
Does my child attend alone or with a parent? Every child must have a parent or guardian in attendance at the workshop on Saturday and the rehearsals (if applicable) and concert on Sunday.
What is my time commitment on Saturday and Sunday? A complete schedule will be released March 19--generally, the youngest and beginning students have classes in the morning beginning around 8 am (pre-twinkle/book 1), books 2/3 in the early afternoon, and books 4 and above in the late afternoon to end no later than 6:15 pm. Sunday concert rehearsals will begin as early as 10 am for more advanced students and students not called for the Sunday rehearsal should be at the concert hall at University of Maryland by 1 pm for the 2 pm concert. The concert is scheduled to run approximately 90 minutes with one intermission.
Will there be lighting effects which may impact a student or audience member with adverse reactions to strobe lights? No strobe lighting will be used in this production.
What is my student's selected piece? Parents should sign their student up for their most advanced polished and concert ready piece. All pieces on the repertoire list below their top piece should be as beautifully prepared as the top piece.
Any additional questions should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org -- Beth or Stephanie will get back to you as soon as possible. We look forward to seeing you in April!
Violin and Cello
HeartStrings Director, Russell Fallstad has eclectic musical interests that have marked his trajectory as an artist.
Hailed for his “glorious strength” and “elegance” (New York Concert Review), Russell Fallstad has blazed an impressive trail as violinist and violist since beginning Suzuki lessons in the Minnesota public school system.
Violinist, DJ, songwriter, and music producer Russell Fallstad tours internationally and records with the renowned rock-pop-hiphop-violin duo, The Dueling Fiddlers. He began violin/viola lessons at age 5 in the public schools in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and received two classical performance degrees from Northwestern University. Shortly after college, he founded the Fry Street String Quartet, mentoring with classical legends Isaac Stern, The Juilliard Quartet, and The Emerson Quartet. He subsequently toured and recorded with the Fry Street Quartet for 12 years before taking a hiatus from the classical world. His latest project is the release of a new method for learning music at all ages called the HeartStrings Method. He recently founded a school of the same name (HeartStrings Academy) in Lewisburg, WV, and is working on an international release of the program online. Russell has taught young children at Northwestern University, The Western Springs School of Talent Education/Naperville Suzuki School, The Music Institute of Chicago; he has taught String Pedagogy at DePaul University; and he founded the Suzuki Pedagogy Program at Utah State University’s Caine School of the Arts, while a member of their string college-level performance faculty for 7 years. Russell recently worked with actors in the Hollywood movie “A Late Quartet,”as musical coach during filming, has numerous videos on YouTube, and appears in an episode of the PBS children’s program, “Abracadabra.”
Click for Twinkle Pop and Musette video:
Quotes from parents and students who participated in the weekend workshop and master classes with Russell:
My experience with Russell Fallstad was wonderful. He thought that violinists should have more contact with their audience through the music they are playing. He converted pop music into violin music in his own way. He showed me a new and exciting way to benefit from the long hours spent practicing the violin. Russell Fallstad truly inspired me!
Suzuki Violinist, Age 10
Do you want to try something different? If you do, then you will enjoy Russell Fallstad's music on the violin. I experienced two days with him as a teacher. On the first day we talked about how our parents always enjoy our concerts because they love us. But, after they hear the same Suzuki pieces over and over again, it will start to make them bored. He suggested to make slight changes to the songs to make them more interesting. On the second day we showed four Suzuki songs, that were changed form classical into pop music, to our parents. The music was exciting! It was a truly amazing experience!
Catherine Sexton, Age 8
Our family really enjoyed the two days spent with Russell Fallstad. As a parent of two violinists in their fifth year of Suzuki, I regularly experience the difficulty of sustaining the excitement and motivation during daily practices. Regular performing opportunities assist in spurring a student onward, but even these wonderful occasions can blur together because of their similarity. After a traditional concert I feel so proud of my children's accomplishments, but I sometimes wonder if they experience the same level of enthusiasm. Russell 'rocked' our violin world and made the kids feel 'cool' while performing for their friends. Instead of looking into the eyes of peers that blankly stare back at them with a sense of uninspired misunderstanding ... “OK, She can play the violin... So what?” Now they are empowered to be the stars and awe their friends into saying, “I wish I could do that!”
Mother of Two Suzuki Students
When my wife informed me that my daughters would be studying with a rock violinist, I knew that this was an opportunity to push the bounds of their Suzuki training. Here was a violin lesson that offered the prospect of encouraging divergent thinking in my children. I was not disappointed. Not only is Russell Fallstad an accomplished violinist, he is a dynamic instructor who engages and mesmerizes his students. Russell has a lifetime of experience with Suzuki and classical violin. This education coupled with Russell's forays into pushing the bounds of the possible with a violin enable Russell to demonstrate that some rules are meant to be broken. For once my children felt the excitement of being connected and engaged by a large audience. My kids came away exhilarated by this glimpse of the possible.
Father of Two Aspiring Violinists
"I thought he was pretty funny and he was good at teaching and it was really fun to learn how to mix rock music with Suzuki songs. The music that went along with it was pretty fun, too. I'm looking forward to the festival and I think it will be really fun!"
Clara, Age 7
Cellist Rodney Farrar graduated from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music. He later
studied at the Eastman School of Music and Indiana University with noted cellists
Ronald Leonard and Janos Starker. Rodney has taught at the University of Kentucky
where he performed frequently in recital and as cellist with that school’s resident
chamber ensembles. He was also Principal Cellist and a soloist with the Lexington
Philharmonic Orchestra. Rodney has been privileged to be involved in the development of Suzuki cello teaching from its beginning in this country. In March of 2008 he was honored to be a guest of the Talent Education Research Institute in Tokyo where he held master classes and group lessons and directed the cello portion of their 52nd annual Grand Concert. Rodney has published a number of mixed level cello choir arrangements which are popular among cello teachers everywhere. With a teaching style which attempts to minimize judgment and bring the pure joy of musical expression, he has brought excitement to young cellists at hundreds of workshops and institutes throughout the U.S. and Canada. Rodney now lives in Littleton, Colorado with his wife, two children and two grandchildren, and still pursues an active schedule of teaching workshops.