Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Is it Ever Too Late to Pursue a Dream? How about Online Violin Lessons?

While we were living in Seattle we were lucky enough to witness the Seattle music scene.  When they talk about the Seattle music scene... they aren't kidding.  It is incredible!  We feel very fortunate that our youngest was exposed to this music scene and the violin at her school, which in turn stirred her passion to play in the orchestra.  After a benefit concert involving Geoffrey Castle at her school she was passionately hooked.  

I was introduced to a professional violinst through a previous co-worker by the name of Loralyn Staples about 20 years ago.  When she plays it makes you quiver in your boots, she's so good.  We felt pretty spoiled when Loralyn came by for a visit and offered to  teach our youngest a few fiddle tunes.  Within 10 minutes she had our youngest playing fiddle tunes at a high level.  We were blown away!  Her expertise and knowledge in addition to keeping our youngest childs passion going prompted me to ask Loralyn to write a blog post so we could learn more about her, her story and her journey to share her extreme talent with the rest of the world.   

So without further delay...     

"My mother loves the violin. She swoons at the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto. She attends all my concerts. She even pretended to like them when I was young and they probably weren’t very good. My mom wanted to learn to play the violin, but she grew up in a tiny farm town in Wyoming where there was no school program for violin, and definitely no private violin lessons. Instead, she joined the school band and learned to play Clarinet. Did she love it? Nope. She played it because she didn’t have the opportunity to follow her heart.

But she made darned sure that I had the opportunity to learn the violin. She instilled in me the same love for violin music, classical and fiddle. She supported me in every endeavor. She lived her dream through me, and I love her for making the sacrifices she made so that I could become a professional violinist.

I have performed with many groups, orchestras, celtic bands, country fiddle bands, opera, ballets, symphonies, quartets, performing has been my life… until a mishap involving my finger and a car door caused me to discover that I can also TEACH violin, and I quickly became passionate about helping others to pursue their dream of playing the violin.

I think my mother was satisfied to see my accomplishments on the violin.  But I wonder what would have happened if she had decided to learn it for herself? Could she have done it? Would she have found a good violin teacher?  Is it ever too late to pursue a dream?

With my mother in mind, I developed ONLINE VIOLIN LESSONS and ONLINE FIDDLE LESSONS designed especially for the adult learner—those who had to put their dreams on hold while they raised a family, or paid medical bills. Later in life, adults suddenly have the ability to pursue dreams they put on hold because they finally have the time or the money.  My online violin lessons are flexible, affordable and effective for the adult lifestyle, and many of my students tell me they just can’t bring themselves to take a lesson in person each week, and be subject to criticism from someone half their age. Some live too far away for private lessons, and some cannot afford the private lesson fee.  I like to believe that I have removed these obstacles for most people through my online violin lessons.

I have had the privilege of watching my adult students work their way through “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” and eventually find themselves playing Bach, or a wicked fiddle tune. I watch the smile on their faces as they joyfully make the music their hearts have longed for their entire life.

There are plenty of people are around to say, “Music is for the young. You just can’t learn new things as well as a child.  Kids are like sponges.  It’s easy for kids” yada yada.  Well, I have taught both adults and children, and I can honestly tell you that for every advantage a child has over an adult, the adult has a reciprocal advantage over the child.  Attention span. Coordination. Attention to detail. Maturity. Experience.  It goes both ways!

It takes consistence, persistence, commitment, and hard work, but it is within your reach to pursue your dream. Learn Russian. Learn to dance. Parasail. Learn to play music. Learn violin.

Am I trying to sell you something? Absolutely not. I am telling you that it’s NEVER too late to pursue your dream!"

Thank you Loralyn for sharing your story with us.  To learn more, visit

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Seattle is for the Birds!

Well now first of all ,the title of this post is not in the traditional use of this phrase but more literally. You see, there are some differences between Seattle and Salt Lake City.  Ok, alot of differences.  But one of those differences is the birds!  The avian population in Seattle and the Pacific Northwest is, well... huge.  Seattle is for the birds!  Salt Lake City on the other hand just doesn't seem to attract the feathered community as much.  This doesn't apply to our numerous neighbors who have decided to keep the non-flying feathered variety in their yards here in the city but I believe if the chickens had their choice they would be elsewhere but who knows.  Now just as the chickens didn't have a choice for their location, the birds in the Seattle area seem to be quite happy, choice or not, because there are so many of them.  From our kitchen table in Mukilteo we were always entertained by crows (or Ravens) cardinals, Blue jays, sparrows, swallows, several varieties of woodpecker and so many more we couldn't identify with many shapes and colors.  Of course when you go down to the water, along with the crow family there was the ever present large seagull clan.  Remember in 'Finding Nemo' when the seagulls were saying "mine"..."mine"...."mine" repeatedly?  They actually do say that!  Most impressive though about the Pacific Northwest bird population are the raptors. Eagles, Hawks, Falcons, etc. fill the skies regularly and not to the pleasure of the other birds as they try to chase the birds of prey away from their nests.  Now, travel 900 miles south, southeast to our home here in the high desert and one is left thinking the birds have been evicted from Utah. There is a bird population here in SLC just nothing compared to Seattle and vicinity. Interestingly enough there is a sizeable goose and duck presence here and the  previously mentioned raptors are here as well, just not in the same numbers.  One particular brand of bird that does very well here in Zion is this fella:

This is the Magpie.  Very large.  Very handsome. Very vocal.  Very annoying.  Now don't misunderstand, they are impressive birds with great colors and aerial skills unmatched for big fliers but in questioning the lack of any other types of birds.  I'm told that these guys are to blame.  They are the bird mafia with their tuxedos and attitudes.  They don't fear much; they actually chase the cats away and most people can walk right up to them before they fly away.  I have to wonder if they are afraid of people or just not interested. I go with the latter.

Well, there you go.  My thoughts on the birds of The Northwest and The Desert.  A topic on the minds of many I'm sure.  Another topic near and dear to my heart of course is the luxury and reward of being able to earn our living from home where I can spend more time exploring the important issues facing us like the bird population and so on.  The awesome company Scentsy, Inc. has given us the opportunity to own and operate our own business. And if making the world smell a little nicer wasn't enough, Scentsy has provided us with even more opportunity by providing that world with chocolate, chocolate by the name of Velata.  It doesn't end here though.  A beautiful line of ladies handbags and accessories called Grace Adele is our very latest offering and a more beautiful, unique and functional hand bag or purse you'll not find anywhere! I have my eye on a couple of bags but they just don't go with my shoes!  Oh well... hey I think I see a bird other than a magpie outside so I'm off to check it out.  Thanks for being here.  ~  Robert