Melissa Howe, Chair
"It's a huge challenge—a lifelong challenge—for a student to figure out which suggestions work and which ones don't. And because these things aren't instant, they have to take a leap of faith. So as a teacher you really have to feel authentic about what you're teaching. I do lean pretty hard on students to give something a try for a reasonable period of time, but then they have to make the decision for themselves whether or not it's working for them."
"My particular specialty is teaching classical violinists and violists how to begin improvisation. Many students have played classical their whole lives and want to try something new, but they don't want to jump into the deep end. So I begin with simple improvisatory techniques using classical vocabulary, something they can relate to."
"Performing is very spontaneous no matter how much you plan. And that's really a lot of fun. But it means that when you're done, you often end up revising your thoughts: 'I intended to do this but I actually did that, so next time I'll try that again.'"
- B.A., Oberlin College
- M.M., Ph.D., Boston University
- Violinist for the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra and Boston Ballet
- Violist, RESQ (Really Eclectic String Quartet), Northeastern Records
- Performed under conductors Seiji Ozawa, Leonard Bernstein, Keith Lockhart, and John Williams
- Recorded for Aerosmith, New Kids on the Block, and numerous television shows on WGBH
- Played back-up strings for Bjork, George Benson, Sammy Davis, Jr., Guster, Doc Severinsen, Frank Sinatra, Steven Tyler, and Livingston Taylor, among others
- Specializes in teaching classical violin and viola, and in helping classical players learn to improvise