Studio Teachers Meeting, September 2015

“Lesser Known Teaching Gems”

by Lorraine Combs

The meeting was held at the beautiful, brand-spanking-new home of Mark Pfannschmidt on September 24, 2015.

The noon meeting began with a delicious light lunch prepared by Mark and his wife Laura.

MD/DC Chapter members who attended with violins in hand were: Lorraine Combs, Kelly Hsu, JinHee Kim, and Cynthia Mauney. Mark Pfannschmidt played viola on one piece, but the rest of the time we were treated to his professional piano accompanist skills. Six items were presented: three by Mark and three by Lorraine.

We all got a sneak peek into the Op. 43 Etudes for Violin by Johannes Palaschko, whose works Mark has been self-publishing since late 2008. We played the first slow and melodious Op. 43 etude, a very pleasant work that is quite accessible for students in the Suzuki 3 level. We also played, this time with piano accompaniment by Mark, a delightful March from one of the eight Op. 28 Pieces for Violin and Piano, also by Palaschko. The Op. 43 and Op. 28 works will be available for purchase from Mark at a future date. And we played the Telemann Violin Concerto in G Major. This is a fairly new edition, edited and published by Mark, and available for purchase on his website: It’s an excellent substitute or a companion piece for the Vivaldi A Minor Concerto. The authentic-sounding and playable piano accompaniment was edited by Mark. Members should also know that additional Palaschko etudes, Opp. 51 and 55, are available for purchase on Mark’s website.

Lorraine brought copies of her own book, “Over Eighty Tunes to Play By Ear.” These tunes, mostly for Suzuki Book 1 and early Book 2 level students, are simple arrangements done in Finale™, one tune per page, each with a picture. There are no piano accompaniments. She prints the books at home and sells them to her students. The book is printed for treble clef players or for alto clef players. Lorraine also shared “Echoes from Melody Land” by Karl Wecker, a book of twelve easy and melodious compositions for violin and piano that was originally published in 1920, now out of print. She has also transcribed these pieces for viola. We played one of the pieces, “An April Shower,” with Mark accompanying on piano. Then Lorraine showed how she uses her iPhone to control a little Bose wireless speaker that plays the piano part while the violinist is playing the violin or viola part. She copied all the accompaniments into Finale™ and uploaded the sound files to her iPhone using the Amazing Slow Downer app. She sends the sound files to her students via email so they can practice with the piano accompaniment sound at home using a computer. These twelve pieces pair well with the Suzuki Book 2 pieces. The third book that Lorraine brought is available for purchase on The title is “Violin Melodies: Learning Tunes for the Young Violinist” by William Fitzpatrick. There are sixteen studies and eight very short shifting exercises without accompaniment. Basically, they are delightful melodious etudes that would fit in perfectly with the first year of Wohlfahrt etude study.


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