Bainbridge Island Fiddle Teachers
Jane Landstra Embrey
“Group playing & performance opportunities are important parts of our whole music experience! We can get great enjoyment from playing with others.”
Jane Landstra has K-12 CA & WA Teaching Credentials; an Education major, and a music minor from UC Berkeley. She is an active recording artist, published composer, and professional musician (Country Capers, Berkeley Scottish Players, and Nordic band, Nordleik). Her approach to teaching music in a nearly 50-year adventure includes a specialty in Celtic and Nordic folk music. She draws on a broad perspective of sources with rich musical experience in the violin and piano teaching.
Violin/Fiddle mentors include trio player James O’Brien of San Fransisco; Suzuki style proponents Mr.Starr and Mr. Suzuki; internationally acclaimed master folk mentors Buddy MacMaster, Jerry Holland, Frankie Gavin, Kalle Almlof, Pål Olle Dyrsmed, Tom Anderson among many others. Jane encourages auditory learning & skill-building, with classical sight-reading and technical skill development for her students. She has facilitated local group workshops for WA Fiddle Association; Lark in the Morning, camp, Mendocino Woodland’s camps. tutored at Fiddle Tunes Folk, and other music camps. Jane teaches several local yearly 8-week intermediate & advanced group workshops for the community, and leads a monthly open all level players traditional music session in Poulsbo.
Her piano students focus on classical repertoire: technique, theory from multifaceted publications, and importantly, include home lesson communications essential for success. Jane’s inspiration & teaching guidelines ate inspired by her mentor concert pianist -teacher Isobella Magaňa of Berkeley CA. Each student’s age and learning style set the learning pace and path.
Jane’s background allows her to accompany her students. As a solo vocalist, Jane involves all her students in singing during the learning process. Students learn sight-reading, are encouraged in auditory skill development, composition, and the opportunity to perform at low key local venues.
I teach the music I have loved all my life. That is, traditional or “old-time” fiddle music. I have been fortunate to have met and learned firsthand from a number of masters of this age-old art, fiddlers here in the Pacific Northwest who themselves learned from long lineages of fiddlers and who played for dances in the rural Southern, Midwestern and Northwestern states as well as Western Canada. I have made a careful study of their details of style, repertoire, and rhythmic approach. I have also worked to document this rich tradition through productions and events with Northwest Folklife, Voyager Records and the Washington Old Time Fiddlers Association. I enjoy playing for square and contra dances and other community events. In my spare time, I tend to my garden and serve at the beck and call of my two cats. In a former life, I studied biology and worked in a lab studying blood platelet function.
My Teaching Background
I have been teaching music full time now for 20 years: private lessons, group classes and workshops at camps and festivals around the Northwest. My students have been my best teachers as far as letting me know what works and what doesn’t. I also spent several years as an academic tutor working under some excellent teachers and garnered a lot of ideas that I apply to teach music, particularly around targeting diverse learning styles.
My Teaching Philosophy
First off, fiddling is darn good fun and if we’re not having fun then, well, not much learning will take place! I try to draw on the best of the old-time fiddlers’ intuitive and “by ear” approach while guiding the students toward a comfortable technique appropriate to fiddling. I enjoy helping students find their own voice and sense of style within the broader fiddle tradition, delving into a variety of stylistic nuances and repertoire based on our regional tradition. I host jam sessions for the students and help facilitate performance opportunities at the appropriate level. I integrate applied music theory and ear training into the learning experience and teach reading standard notation as an adjunct skill rather than the primary mode of learning. I try to explore, respect and make use of differences in learning modes and styles as well.
Colleen Walden is a graduate of Seattle Pacific University (SPU). She minored in music and majored in Sociology. With this background, it’s understandable that her student’s stories are what matter most to her—listening to them, building relationships, and instilling in them a deep, lifelong love of music.
She began playing violin at age 9, played in the Cascade Youth Symphony through high school, and also played in quartets and performed solo. She spent her college years in SPU’s symphony orchestra and string quartet. What she most fondly remembers are the friendships and performances, the excitement of presenting to an audience and doing so with others who are as passionate about music as she is.
She began providing violin and viola instruction in 2000, teaching beginning to intermediate students ages 4–18. Her teaching style is eclectic, utilizing elements of Suzuki and O’Connor methods, and she recently completed a retreat with the Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University.
Colleen strives to bring life to her lessons through engaging games and activities tailored to her students’ unique learning styles. She encourages regular practice for technical development, but with an eye to recital performances. These recitals present an opportunity for each student to step out of the practice room, engage with an audience, and even perform with their peers. She understands the positive impact music has on those around us; and tries to instill that understanding in her students.