Ever since becoming Daniel’s student, he has passed on to me an overwhelming amount of knowledge that has allowed me to improve to levels I couldn’t have ever imagined. I will share some of the wisdom that he gave me. Typically for the private lessons that take place every week, Daniel checks on my technique and my repertoire songs. We start with scales for warm-up, consisting of 3-octave scales(major and minor), arpeggios, double stops, and different variations that exercise more concise movements of each scale. For example, position scales that test scales in one position or different bowings. Daniel’s firm belief and teaching is that a thorough understanding of scales will greatly boost one’s overall playing. The patterns in scales appear in all pieces without fail and practicing them will improve your intonation as well as make your pieces much easier to play through. For example, all my pieces have scale, arpeggio, and double stop runs, many fit within a pattern that I’ve seen before, so when I get there, my body naturally runs through the motion. It saves time for improving musicality instead. I cannot express how important practicing scales are. Know their patterns, drill it into your bones every day until it becomes instinct and autopilot for you to play. Next, I present the song that I have prepared for the lesson. For my lessons, I handle the technical(intonation, rhythm, bowing) sides on my own at home, and Daniel helps me with parts I can’t master, and the musicality of the piece. At my level, I can’t afford to show up unable to play my piece, then spend the lesson working on things I could’ve handled on my own. Through the years, Daniel has taught me how to become an independent learner. How to practice on my own, understanding pieces by analyzation, and coming up with solutions to my problems without running to him for help. It isn’t helpful for him to spoon-feed the answers to me, nor should he have to always walk me through every step of mastering the piece. I believe that he is striving to teach his students how to be independent, to make connections so they can improve while understanding why his methods work. Whenever he tells me of a way to practice, I grab onto it and never forget it, it can help for more than a specific section of the song, and I can apply it to other songs too. After spending so much time as his student, I’ve noticed a change in myself. I’ve become determined to improve for my own sake, and not because of the pressure that my parents put on me. I started loving to play, inspired by the passion and personality that Daniel has shown me. I look up to him as a symbol of a musician, not just his skill, but the experience he has adds so much to each lesson he gives me. He is a true professional but still manages to be optimistic and charismatic. He loves making jokes and laughing, and it brings him closer to his students mentally. He doesn’t get angry in a conventional way, and he doesn’t shout, scold, or insult anyone. He would instead be quieter and go through the lesson with the same quality regardless. While this would be more serious and professional, I have learned to become fearful of disappointing him. I respect him above all else, and I would hate to let down someone so amazing. Daniel has always stressed the importance of meaningful and efficient practicing, being able to get multiple things done with the same amount of time. He has advised me to multitask my warms to improve both my right hand and left hand. Like practicing scales with multiple variations on rhythm, bowing pressures, bowing position, and dynamics. Even better is to take a look at the pieces you are playing, see repeating patterns in bowings, and incorporate them into warm-ups and technique training. When it comes to pieces, however, beware that trying to do too many things at once can backfire. Tackle songs with the right approach. Daniel has mentioned several ways to practice, but the overarching message is to practice slowly at speed you can handle, never rush through a section at full speed, then not go back to look at it. Get your intonation, rhythm, bowing usage, dynamics, clarity, posture, tone, and quality to perfection at a stable tempo before trying to play it faster. Keep in mind that being able to make it through a song is the bare minimum and that the way you play it and quality you give to the song is just as important as the notes and rhythm. Practice should be meditative and done every day in an organized schedule meant to cover all aspects of your playing. Start with warm-ups that exercise both right and left hand, with variations that challenge you. Daniel has put together an extensive list of exercises that should be looked through carefully, and he has made this ever-expanding list available to all his students. Also, he encourages students to come up with their regiment to follow, combining exercises to save time and build-up improvisation abilities. Scales are also indisposable, and Daniel has also provided a plethora of books to practice from, like Carl Flesch and Barbara scale system. It is necessary to play with perfect intonation and tone quality. Go slowly, and it is easier to hear your mistakes that way. Only when you’ve done your technique practice can you move onto your pieces. Remember that your technique practice should help you with your piece, so consider practicing your scales in the same key as your piece. Practice your piece in sections, and with absolute attention to detail. Don’t move on if you aren’t confident you can do it again. A common mistake is playing through and stumbling through difficult sections without stopping and properly working on problematic sections. You should know your piece inside out, know where you usually make a mistake and know why. If you don’t, then it is a serious problem. You can’t improve if you don’t know what you’re doing wrong. Refrain from playing the same section over and over in the same way, hoping that something will change even when you don’t change the way you practice. Daniel tries to teach students how to recognize problems and solve them on their own. For example, use rhythms for fast sections. Use tied-bowing for sections requiring smooth transitions. Drone your notes for intonation. Experiment with sounding points, bow pressure, and bow speed to control dynamics. Mark downbeats for difficult rhythms. Use step notes for clean shifts. Place all your fingers down for support. Adjust your posture for comfortable playing. These are just a few ways that Daniel has taught me. Relaxing is also very important. Daniel stresses proper form and posture while playing. Tension in your body can result in injury and decreased stamina. A relaxed body can ensure a smoother playing experience, and it’s also good for performances. If you practice with a relaxed state of mind and body, your performances will naturally not be as nerve-wracking. Posture also affects your playing, and it can be harder to pull off skills if your body is tense or twisted. Don’t consistently practice with bad posture, and it can build an unhealthy habit that will be hard to correct later on. Violin is a physical activity, and the required posture can be quite awkward, so it is even more important to be mindful of how you look. A good solution is to practice in front of a mirror. You may be surprised at what your playing looks like to others. Something extraordinary about Daniel’s style of learning pieces is that he doesn’t like to work on the same work for too long. He often tells me: “Don’t practice a piece for more than a month.” While I can’t always master a piece in a month, the sentiment is that don’t stay on a song forever. It can prevent you from advancing quickly, and you run the risk of getting sick of the song and losing passion. Practice efficiently and get the piece down as soon as you can, the longer you spend, the less drive you’ll have. Of course, if the piece is hard, spend more time on it. As a frequent participant of the chamber ensemble, I’ve noticed that Daniel is quite fond of throwing us new pieces to perform even when the concert is extremely near. I remember that we had to sightread something for a recital last year, it was terrifying, but that is the kind of exposure that Daniel wants us to experience. Get used to the rushing feeling and fear of winging something, and the nervousness of regular concerts will gradually fade as well. Be proficient at sightreading, and it will do wonders. It allows you to grasp new songs and adapt to heavy workloads quickly. Daniel also goes over sightreading at his lessons when he finds an interesting song or wants to introduce a new piece to study. The most important part of sightreading is not to stop when a mistake is made. Keep your face straight, pretend that you did absolutely nothing wrong, and as Daniel likes to say: “Pretend that playing is effortless to you”, even if you’re despairing on the inside. The benefits of being part of a chamber are humongous, and it’s a very different experience from performing a solo. As you are just a piece of the puzzle, you need to pay attention to the actions and state of others. It doesn’t matter if you play the sheet music, because if you don’t match your teammates, you might as well be wrong. As a member, you need to listen and look for the particular cues of other musicians, if they have the melody, you should quiet the accompaniment parts. If they have subdivided notes, they set a strict tempo. There is no ‘soloist’; no one is privileged enough that they can play louder, stand out, or play with the tempo without the cooperation of others. You must learn how to notice things beyond yourself and cooperate with the different personalities and styles of those around you. It’s so different from being a soloist because now that you’re in a group, success happens when everyone is in sync and working in harmony together. It’s very beneficial for the individual’s ear training and ability to multitask, both playing and constantly adjust to their surroundings. I don’t know if I can properly convey the sheer amount of wisdom that Daniel possesses. He also freely shares his knowledge with his students. He is truly amazing in his skill and attitude towards music; the way he teaches is also respect-worthy. In my opinion, he is capable of pushing his students to great new heights.
Violinist Violist Daniel Yoo is known as the multi-skilled and dynamic performing artist of the 21st century. By the age of 7, he was already recognized for his musical talents performing in prestigious halls like Massey Hall, Meridian Arts Centre, and Roy Thomson Hall, and in events for the Lieutenant Governor of Canada. He was numerously recognized as the winner of competitions such as the Canadian Music Competition, Honours in Kiwanis Trophy Open Division, LaGuardia Performing Arts Competition, Juilliard Competition, Inter-school Orchestra Competition of NYC, Haddonfield Symphony Competition, and Casals International Competition and achieved many more before being accepted into The Juilliard School with Dorothy Delay at 14 who regarded him as the next Itzhak Perlman. Daniel is also an accomplished violist that has concertized on both instruments with the most prominent musicians of today. Daniel completed his studies as a double major in Violin, Viola performance at the Juilliard School and with further studies in Psychology at Temple U. Daniel's creative ideas and ventures stirred interest and collaborations with top solo artists, entrepreneurs, and with media company's like MSNBC. As a charismatic male solo artist, a vibrant and engaging chamber musician, a devoted teacher, and an innovative artistic director. Daniel is redefining what it means to be a classical artist in modern society.
MAKE-UP AND CANCELLATION POLICY
1. I will allow ONE make-up lesson per term and a maximum of three per year, but only if schedules permit unless the student is sick during their regularly scheduled lesson time or an extenuating circumstance arises. If one of these circumstances does arise, please give as much prior notice as possible so we can reschedule.
2. Make-up lessons will be scheduled during regular teaching hours as openings become available, but the best times for makeups are during Thanksgiving Break, February Break, Spring Break, and the last week of school. The student has the option of doing an online make-up if there are no other times available.
3. Your lesson time is reserved exclusively for you. Cancelled lessons will not be refunded for any reason. Time lessons are extremely limited, and make-ups for missed lessons cannot be guaranteed. After three make-up lessons, further cancelled lessons during the year will be considered a forfeit. This policy is out of consideration to the teachers, and to allow all students an equal chance to make up lessons.
4. There are no make-ups or refunds for missed group lessons.
5. If you have a conflict with a lesson, contact me right away so we can make a trade with another student for the same amount of time as your lesson slot.
6. If for some reason, I am unable to teach my projected schedule, I will do my best to reschedule that lesson. If such a time cannot be found during the Fall and Spring semesters, you will receive a credit on your summer tuition. However, to encourage your strong commitment to lessons and practice, I will not alter the monthly fee if your child misses a lesson, except in unusual circumstances.
7. All new students who begin violin training must be committed for one school year of study (September through June). This means that full payment of tuition is expected for the first year regardless if lessons are taken or not. After the school year is over, then lessons can be discontinued without any financial obligations.
8. I am willing to work with any student who desires to play the violin and regularly practices and attends all private and group lessons. Any other arrangement is very discouraging.
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