Friday, February 20, 2009

Meet a Musician

In the Spotlight... Anne Nagosky
Anne Nagosky plays first violin with the Omaha Symphony. She also is a private teacher, who currently teaches more than 40 private students, ranging in age from 4 to adult.

When and how did your career begin with the symphony?
I joined the Omaha Symphony in 1998. Before coming here, I played professionally for two years in a string quartet based in Des Moines, IA, and also served as principal second violin of the Des Moines Symphony. The thing I remember the most from my first rehearsals with the Omaha Symphony was how welcoming and friendly the other musicians were!

How has teaching violin changed your life?
I have learned so much about playing the violin from having to explain and demonstrate things to my students, from the most basic concepts of position and mechanics to the most subtle levels of style and phrasing. Teaching forces me to analyze and re-analyze every day how I do things and to think of new ways to approach ideas and skills that seem second nature to me. But I think I have been changed even more by my personal relationships with my students. I have known many of them for years and I have watched them grow up, celebrated their accomplishments, shared their frustrations. I never cease to be touched when one of them draws me a picture, or jumps up and down with the excitement of learning something new, or confides in me, or gives me an unsolicited hug! Nothing else I have ever done in my life has been more challenging than teaching...and nothing is more rewarding.

What advice do you have for parents who want their kids to practice?
As far as getting children to practice goes: the most important thing is attitude. If you, as a parent, are excited that your son or daughter is learning an instrument, your excitement will be contagious. If you model the value of working hard to do your best at something, it will become one of their values too. However, realistically, attitude alone is often not enough! So, set reasonable goals, make it part of the routine of your day, praise their improvements freely, empathize when they are frustrated (I don't always enjoy practicing myself and it's okay to feel like that sometimes), and feel free to reward them for their hard work with an occasional special treat.

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