Life in Oregon
I’ve lived in Oregon for 4 months now and I’m feeling really wonderful about my new state and my new position at the University of Oregon. The ocean, the mountains, the people...its a great place to live! The Grossman Method® pedagogy is now officially a course in the string pedagogy offerings at UO and I’m excited to train the next generation of somatic teachers! This year, the School of Music has also implemented two scholarship graduate string quartets for the fall of 2020 and I couldn’t be happier!

The Grossman Method Retreat

Back by popular demand (and I actually mean that), The Grossman Method Retreat is happening! July 1-3 on the University of Oregon campus. The Retreat will offer two complimentary pedagogy courses, The Grossman Method® training for advanced and professional violinists and the Mimi Zweig’s pedagogy for proper set up and teaching of young violinists. Stacia Spencer, director of the program at Northwestern University and one of Mimi’s first assistants, will be joining our faculty. Stacia plans to bring her amazing Northwestern University Virtuosi Group with her so our Retreat participants can practice teach on those students, and the Virtuosi to Oregon will also perform several concerts in the area. The world-renowned Oregon Bach Festival will be occurring on campus at the same time as our Retreat so participants will be able to enjoy OBF concerts, workshops and lectures during their time here.
Information will be posted on

Redfish Chamber Music Festival

Another great thing about coming to Oregon is working with my dear friend and chamber music partner Fritz Gearhart. Fritz and I have known each other for decades and we even played in the Chester String Quartet together. Now we are not only colleagues at the university, but we are also co-directors of the Redfish Chamber Music Festival, a one week camp on the stunning Oregon coast. Our good friend and Nexus String Quartet cellist Andy Smith will also join the faculty. We will be accepting only 20 string players so please encourage your high school and university students to look into RCMF!

It’s been a busy fall. I had a really fun residency at Ohio State sponsored by the ASTA chapter there .

It was great to return to OSU and see my friend Robert Gillespie and the fantastic string students in that program. Other workshops and concerts in Missouri, Kansas, Portland, Chicago, Louisville, Eugene and Newburg, OR have made for an exciting fall. Please check the calendar for upcoming workshops and concerts near you. I’d love for you to attend and say hi!


I listed Jonathan Feldman as the author of the response in the Ask The Teacher section. I meant to say David Feldman, the cellist. HUGE APOLOGIES.
Ask The Teacher

A cellist from California asks, “I sometimes get bored in orchestra rehearsals. Is there anything I can do to make that time more productive?”

Answer from David Peshlakai
Instructor of Cello, Hillsdale College

15 second Practice Sessions
by David Peshlakai

Often I find students bored during a symphony rehearsal, sitting with their instrument but unable to do anything as the conductor is rehearsing a different section. This time could be utilized to practice some basic skills that they normally would not practice in a practice room because of the ability to “make music.” These practice sessions are designed to be brief - succinct items to practice that will keep a student engaged musically without interrupting a rehearsal. These techniques, with some limitations, can also be used while waiting in line at a drive-through, grocery store, or walking to class - basically about anytime a student is bored. The parameters of a 15 second practice session is that it can be done quietly so as not to interrupt anyone around them. The student will have their instrument, obviously, but may be limited to their musical choices available (they may not have their etude book available). Often I find this a good opportunity to practice a new physical movement, practice some basics that have been neglected when learning more advanced technique, or practice mental strengthening exercises (theory or rhythm). I often assign a section or exercise during a lesson as a possible 15 second practice item. This will help make it clear to the student what you wish for them to accomplish. Once they get the hang of it, they can create their own. This often helps alleviate the boredom and it achieves a worthy goal of saving limited practice time for other activities.

Some examples
Reading the names of the notes in various clefs (instead of seeing just a fingering)
Practicing a complicated fingering pattern
Practicing a rhythm by tapping your thigh or instrument
Writing a fingering for various passages in your music
Reading a passage for dynamics alone (especially upon repeated passages for subtle variations or possible sequential patterns)
Breathing or air bowing (ghost bowing) an awkward passage
Practicing good posture - feet, spine, head posture, etc.

For string players
Practicing right hand finger or wrist flexion for subtle bow control
Practicing vibrato
Trill exercises

Of course, there are other possibilities and examples that can be utilized. I am sure there are some that will be unique to you. The main idea is that time spent sitting in rehearsal (or some other space) can be used to practice.
January 19, 2020
The Grossman Method session

Oregon Music Education Association
State Conference
Eugene, OR

​January 27, 2020
Workshop and Master Class
Arizona State University
Tempe, AZ

February 27, 2020
Workshop and Master Class
University of North Florida
Jacksonville, FL 

March 6, 2020
Master Class
University of Oregon
Eugene, OR

March 26, 2020
Workshop and Master Class
Hillsdale College
Hillsdale, MI

April 11 and 12, 2020
Amici Chamber Music Series
Springfield, OR 

April 20-22, 2020
Folio Chamber Music Players
Seattle, WA 

June 10-20, 2020
Serafin Chamber Music Festival
Wilmington, DE 

June 14, 2020
Music School of Delaware
Wilmington, DE 

Featured Stretch:
Bend and Bow

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