I’ve given myself one year to master the violin.

As an adult beginner, I should be playing Twinkle Twinkle; instead, I'm playing Paganini's 24th caprice.

A lesson with Simone

Danielle and I were at Colburn the other night when she got a phone call from Simone Porter, one of Mr. Lipsett’s students who Danielle also works with on a regular basis.  Simone is 14 years old and lives with her mom Deborah in Seattle.  For the last few years, they have flown down to LA every week to get lessons from Mr. Lipsett (and Danielle), and also to attend both of their studio classes.  We’re talking about a serious violinist here; if you took a small handful of the very best young musicians in the world, Simone would undoubtedly be among them.  The reason for her call, surprisingly, was me:  she wanted some help on her Geometry homework.

Danielle laughed and asked me if I would be willing to help, which of course I was, but I offered a trade.  I would help with her homework if Simone would give me a violin lesson.  She was happy to do it.

We met in Danielle’s studio and worked on violin first.  Now, let me just say, like most normal 14 year old girls, Simone has a very outgoing, bubbly personality.  I didn’t exactly know how this lesson was going to go, but as soon as we started, she became instantly professional, as if teaching something as dear to her as the violin could only be treated with the utmost respect.  I took this is a supreme compliment, as even though I’ve only been playing for three months, she treated me like any other violin student (or how I imagined she would treat any other violin student).

So I was very grateful for that.

Just to give you a little insight to Simone, here’s a link to channel 7 news that did a spot on her earlier this year, when she was still 13:

Simone on Channel 7

On to the lesson.  We worked a lot on the 4th finger as far as placement and strength and then we worked on the Paganini.  We filmed the first 20 minutes of the lesson until my video camera ran out of battery.  I tried to get a nice overview of the lesson, so you’ll have to forgive my video editing:

As you can tell, we both talk pretty fast, so we got along well there.  Overall, it was an awesome lesson and I was very thankful.

Next, it was on to math.  She wanted to work on geometric transformations and symmetry.  We got a short clip on her camera since my battery died:

OK, so violin is slightly more exciting than math…


3 Comments on “A lesson with Simone”

  1. JRV says:

    Not if you’re a math nerd like you — 🙂

  2. Cassia says:

    Loved it, especially the geometry part 🙂 I admire your string crossing (beginner myself)!

  3. Simone says:

    Go Ryan!!! Thanks for the help! 🙂

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