"She shares her love of music & dance with focused attention & a gentle spirit."
SUSAN HOPE HOFFMAN
Fiddle & Violin Teacher
All Levels & Ages
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Listen to recordings at www.fiddledancemusic.net.
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Enjoy learning melodies from the heart, with technical expertise from a seasoned musician.
Bring your wishes and dreams, and let's embark on a creative musical adventure. Adults & kids of all ages and levels have expanded their musical world and honed their technique with my patient, imaginative guidance. You can too!
A natural and complex acoustic documentary fresh from the fields and old dance halls of Maine — loaded with surprises and free-wheeling, robust traditional barn dance music.
The “liveness” of acoustic music, and of the social scenes it’s played in, is presented with a real sense of theater — listeners get a unique package of intricate improvisations, solid dance tunes, and plenty of good humor.
These field recordings let listeners in on the musical dialogue between fiddle and guitar, and also into the living rooms and dance halls where even more characters’ dialogue bounces between comic ruminations and the shouts, claps and stomps of dancers.
Nuanced and vigorous fiddling is matched with bold, inventive guitar accompaniment, in a style founded on an older generation of dance musicians and flavored with each scenario’s spontaneity.
For the experience of playing as a duet, I can accompany students on guitar.
Another specialty is parent-child lessons for children ages 4 - 5, which can include elements of my popular program of Parent-Child Creative Folk Dance.
My early training was classical violin, and I have learned a variety of techniques and tunes by listening to and playing with traditional musicians.
I work as a violinist/fiddler for festivals, dances, weddings, concerts and other events.
Small group classes are also possible (2-3 students, scheduled/organized by those students).
I've been self-employed since 1999 as a performing artist, dance teacher, writer, editor and musician. I studied and performed dance continuously since 1980, and have taught ballet, modern dance and creative movement since 1998. I also performed many original theater shows featuring live music.
Highlights of my work include directing a modern dance company and a children's dance camp. I've worked with children often, in academic and in artistic settings, including teaching children's theater and movement classes which feature musicians as part of the teaching staff.
Building on all this experience as a teacher, and as a music student, I look forward to assisting many more students in their musical adventures.
As a child I had private lessons in piano, clarinet and violin. I'm familiar with the Suzuki method as that was part of my early training, and sometimes incorporate aspects of it into my teaching. I also studied privately with violinist Dr. Joseph Conte of Brown University.
I began performing in vocal and string ensembles in 1987, and read lots of sheet music but meanwhile became more and more interested in folk music. In 1998 I received my Bachelor of Arts degree with honors, majoring in creative writing and journalism and also earning minors in cultural studies and dance. It was fun and enriching to be working closely with professors on my honors thesis and on many extracurricular projects.
In 2001 I was inspired by dance fiddling's energy and rhythm and began teaching myself to play fiddle tunes by ear. I attended Maine Fiddle Camp for four summers, and have taught myself guitar accompaniment, viola, and some basic tunes on cello and accordion.
The technical aspects of playing the violin I learned as a child are important to pass on to students, and my wealth of experience as a performer and performing arts teacher have expanded my teaching methods.
My proficiency as a fiddler, including improvisation, accompaniment, and subtle and rhythmic bowing techniques, is an ever-growing study in style, artistry and practical methods inspired by playing with and closely observing master fiddlers in Maine.
Years of teaching ballet and modern dance, and studying yoga and therapeutic stretches, has given me lots of insight into how to explain the positioning of hands and arms and helps me coach students on maintaining a healthy technique.
I read and write music fluently, and teach mostly by ear, unless the student prefers otherwise. I play basic rhythm guitar to accompany students as they play the melody, and to help them learn to play chords and rhythm parts on the fiddle.
My nurturing, encouraging teaching style incorporates ideas learned as a writer, dance teacher and theater director.
I strongly encourage students to explore their own ideas and follow their own style of creative expression; and I guide them in developing a practical and sophisticated technique, balanced repertoire, and perpetual excitement about learning more on their instrument.
Print & share flyers about music lessons, & posters for music events
Link to a résumé of previous music performances
Link to read more about Hope's musical activities
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