My first professional concertmaster experience occurred on February 9th, 2020 at the Listening Room in Grand Rapids with the Vintage Parlor Orchestra! Enjoy some photos.
In November of 2019, I was a featured soloist with the Vintage Parlor Orchestra at Creston Brewery. I performed Vivaldi's Autumn with the orchestra. Enjoy these pictures from this memorable event.
This summer only, $50 off a solo violin live event. Doesn't have to be a wedding. For booking/inquiries, contact larissa.
What a year it's been! Scrolled through Instagram to reminisce on 2018. Excited for continued adventures in 2019!! Check out my Instagram account for more musical updates. @larissa.fall
ArtPrize 10 : September 19 - October 7, 2018
ArtPrize has been an energizing part of my life for the past few years. The city of Grand Rapids comes more alive, people seem more connected, the community is engaged, conversations about art are sparked, and new connections are made. This year the Grand Rapids Symphony had four entries in ArtPrize, and it was fun to be involved in such a huge community-wide endeavor. I took some photographs, you are welcome to scroll through the slideshow in this post to see some of my experiences.
No matter what my opinions seem to be about some of the artwork in the city over the years, I can't stop but think about how engaging this festival has been for the community.
Art spurs thoughts. Art can be a statement. Art can speak in ways the news and words cannot. Art is powerful.
After a decade of ArtPrize competitions, the city of Grand Rapids will see changes in the coming years. Rather than an annual city-wide competition open to anyone, "Project 1 by ArtPrize" will commence.
What is ArtPrize?
Since 2008 ArtPrize was an open, independently organized international art competition taking place in Grand Rapids, Michigan. More than five hundred thousand dollars in prizes were awarded each year, which included a $200,000 prize awarded entirely by public vote and another $200,000 prize awarded by a jury of art experts.
Starting next year, 2019, ArtPrize will now alternate years with "Project 1 by ArtPrize". This new spin on the annual competition is meant to engage a single artist or small group of artists to present a citywide public art project. Learn more at project1byartprize.org.
It will be interesting to see how this affects the community of Grand Rapids as a whole. The city has grown since 2008. I look forward to next year and the changes to come.
Linked below are my previous posts on ArtPrize 8 from 2016:
ArtPrize 8 Pt. 1
ArtPrize 8 Pt. 2
When I slow down to reflect on this past year, this past month, these past few days even - I am blown away by how many exciting adventures I have been involved in! Being a young-professional working in the creative sector, a musician, and a teacher is so busy - but SO exciting!! I honestly can't imagine my life without music. It is such a blessing to be able to live life every day creating and/or supporting something that I feel so passionate about. I am thankful I can hear so I can experience a subject matter that can help us express our souls and feelings. Where words fail, music truly does seem to speak. If for some reason I couldn't hear, the people I've met through being involved in music and the connections I have created working in the arts are also incomparable. I just wanted to write this all down. It is fun documenting my adventures on this blog. Looking back through my feed, I have seen so much growth in my own life. Re-living some of my own experiences is a nice reminder. I am so grateful. Sometimes I can't believe how much I have been involved in, how much I have learned, and how many hurdles that at first seemed daunting I was able to overcome.
Speaking of hurdles, one of my students this week was a bit discouraged at learning a daunting piece of music. I encouraged them to continue moving forward. They thought they couldn't play a certain piece, they said it was impossible, "it's too hard!" But one note at a time we walked through the piece together. I would demonstrate one finger at a time and have the student mimic me. It was a slow process, but guess what my student was able to do? They played the entire piece. They had said it would be impossible. It wasn't. That's a bit like a lot of our lives, isn't it? We have goals, we have dreams, we can feel so overwhelmed by situations we think are stressful. But one note at a time, one step at a time - we can learn. We can keep putting one foot in front of the other, and one day we will look back and realize we have accomplished more than we ever could have thought was possible. How encouraging, how exciting, how refreshing. That's what I've been reflecting on tonight.
I hope you are able to reflect and appreciate your own individual accomplishments and life this week. Count your blessings, I bet you've got more than you could imagine. I sure do. You're important. Don't forget it. You are capable of amazing things!
I played a wedding last weekend all by myself. It was quite fun! Typically the wedding gigs I play are in ensembles: quartets, trios, duets. So I was excited to do something all by myself. It definitely gives me a bit more freedom to perform pieces I want and have some more creative decisions with the order of ceremony. The bride gave me some general guidelines but apart from that I could play pieces I wanted.
The venue for this wedding was the River Edge Bed and Breakfast in Lowell, MI. What a beautiful outdoor setting! I performed prelude music, Canon in D for the bride, and some recessional/postlude music.
Blessings to the bride and groom!
Today, I am off to perform at another wedding. This one is a violin/cello duet. So be on the look-out for a new blog soon.
P.S. Below are some samples of different ensembles and what they may sound like if you are interested for an event.
I wanted some new headshots, photoshoots are fun, & I made a new friend who is a photographer. This all to say, enjoy some pics of me and my violin by photographer Naomi Stafford with Radiance Photography.
I have been thinking a lot about teamwork lately - Teamwork In the corporate world as well as in the world of being a musician. Ensemble musicianship has taught me so much about teamwork that is relevant to any career. Below are some bullet points on areas I think being a musician requires teamwork. Do you use any of these tactics in the corporate world or in your workplaces?
Teamwork Necessities - Musicians:
Successful teams have many other qualities. These are just a few. If you are a musician, the next time your perform in a group think about these. If you are not a musician, have you used any of these techniques? Did you ever think musicians needed so much interpersonal relationship skills to work towards a common goal?
Here a some pics from a recent wedding I played with cellist Matthew Heyboer. Violin/Cello.
I performed recently with Jordan VanHemert, saxophonist in his recital at Grace Episcopal church. Really cool times, classical/jazz violin in a small ensemble with sax solos. I love branching out a bit from just classical repertoire. Picture of program is below.
Also, here is a YouTube video of Jordan and a project I was involved in a few months back. Not the same music we played in the 'Grace Notes' recital, but of similar nature.
This Thursday, June 21st I will be performing with the Holland Symphony in the Pops at the Pier Concert with the Moxie Strings as guest artist. Come check it out!! It's a really fun venue. The concert is in a boat shed. More info at link here.
Recently I took a fun vacation to Ireland! Here are some pics of some great street musicians who were performing in Galway. I bought two of their CDs. One is some music with a spanish flare, the other is acoustic guitar music. Love em! Saw some other wonderful street musicians there as well. When I walked by, this group was playing a tango. Makes me want to take my next vacation to Spain!
On Friday, April 20th, 2018 The Grand Rapids Symphony performed at Carnegie Hall in New York City. I was able to go along. What a fun and memorable experience! Carnegie Hall is one of the most historic venues in the world for Classical Music.
Put all of your superstitions aside, Friday the 13th was a great day for me this month! I was able to go with a great friend and fellow violinist to hear renowned performer Ray Chen and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.
The DSO, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, first performed in 1887. In April 2011 the DSO launched 'Live from Orchestra Hall', it is the first free webcast series to be put out by an orchestra & "In 1934, the DSO became the nation's first official radio broadcast orchestra, performing for millions of Americans over the airwaves on the Ford Symphony Hour national radio show until 1942." -DSO website
Ray Chen was born in Taiwan and raised in Australia. He plays the 1715 “Joachim” Stradivarius violin on loan from the Nippon Music Foundation.
Apart from this great concert, we were also able to explore Belle Isle and the Detroit Institute of Arts.
The DIA's collection is among the top six of museums in the United States, with about 66,000 works.
"Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.”
- Edgar Degas
After teaching private violin lessons for 5 years now, (It’s been 5 years!?!), I have learned more about time management within a lesson. This is my second blog post in my ‘Studio Sense’ blog series. To read the first article, click this link HERE. I hope to bring some helpful information to aspiring private music instructors, or even those of you interested in learning about what teaching private lessons is like. I know….it’s riveting stuff guys. ; ) This blog is very very general. I could probably write an entire book on time management techniques and what/how I utilize teaching time and why. Frankly, there are probably many books on this subject. So enjoy this surface level look at time management and some of my thoughts.
Time Management Within A Lesson:
For my teaching style I have been sticking to 30min, 45min, and 1 hour lessons. I like to correlate the length of a lesson to the age and/or level of each student. I have taught violin lessons to the following age range: 3 years old – adult. I’ve experienced a lot of different ages & I love the variety of that. I teach beginner to intermediate levels within that age range.
Apart from the actual length of the lesson, have you ever wondered how a teacher splits up their focus and points in a lesson? I typically start each and every lesson with tuning. Tuning is very important; it sets the standard for everything else done in the lesson. If the violin is not in tune, then a student could get used to playing out of tune. In that case, they would be training their ear incorrectly. Tuning can take between 30 seconds to about 10 minutes. 10 minutes you ask!!?? Yes, there have been times a violin has a string that is broken or because of the weather it is just finicky and does not want to stay in tune. This is especially the case in winter and with smaller student rental violins. So depending on certain factors, sometimes much of a lesson can be spent on just tuning the instrument. Putting that into perspective, 10 minutes of a 30 min lesson is about 33% of the entire lesson. That's a good chunk of time, hopefully a rare occurrence though.
Other focus points in a lesson may be section work within a piece, physical posture, music history, theory, listening, and pure playing time for the student mixed with duet playing (me with each student).
Finally, I like to reserve time at the close of a lesson to discuss constructive criticism on how to further improve as a musician. This could also include practice strategies for the student and their upcoming week.
So there you have it, a brief inside look at time management from a private instructor's perspective.
Each lesson is very different, and I've learned that I need to be prepared to go with the flow as well.
This time, like all times, is a very good one, if we but know what to do with it.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Just wanted to inform you of the last two orchestral concerts I will be performing in this academic year with the Holland Symphony Orchestra. I'd love to have you come.
1) Peter & The Wolf Family Concert Sunday, March 25 @ 3:30pm - Zeeland East HS
2) Classics III Holland Symphony Orchestra Friday, April 27 @ 7:30pm & Saturday, April 28 @ 3:30pm - Hope College
Follow my studio blog for tips, tricks, & performance updates.