Tag Archives | St Josephs

Stefan Szemler’s Stradivarius and Me

Sometime around 1952 in a galaxy far, far away called Sioux City, Iowa, I found a violin teacher. I had been playing since I was about 10. Let’s go back to the beginning.

My mother asked me, “Johnny (She was the only one who called me that.), what’s the most beautiful musical instrument you’ve ever heard?”

I answered, “The violin, mom.”
She said “Okay, let’s find you a violin and a teacher.”

I’ve got to hand it to mom. That was an inspired approach. My first teacher was Sister Paulette at St Joseph’s elementary school in Mason City, Iowa, who, at the time, didn’t seem much bigger than me and I was a shrimp. She loved to play and she should be canonized as a saint for having to listen to all that screeching. Learning to play the violin is NOT a pretty thing to be a part of and teaching it requires a tremendous amount of patience. Mom had found me a 3/4-sized violin and every week I had a lesson. Occasionally, I actually practiced in between. Continue Reading →

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Stefan Szemler’s Stradivarius and Me

Sometime around 1952 in a galaxy far, far away called Sioux City, Iowa, I found a violin teacher. I had been playing since I was about 10. Let’s go back to the beginning.

My mother asked me, “Johnny (She was the only one who called me that.), what’s the most beautiful musical instrument you’ve ever heard?”

I answered, “The violin, mom.”
She said “Okay, let’s find you a violin and a teacher.”

I’ve got to hand it to mom. That was an inspired approach. My first teacher was Sister Paulette at St Joseph’s elementary school in Mason City, Iowa, who, at the time, didn’t seem much bigger than me and I was a shrimp. She loved to play and she should be canonized as a saint for having to listen to all that screeching. Learning to play the violin is NOT a pretty thing to be a part of and teaching it requires a tremendous amount of patience. Mom had found me a 3/4-sized violin and every week I had a lesson. Occasionally, I actually practiced in between. Continue Reading →

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