The O'Connor Method wants to wish you a safe and happy holiday season! Share your fun holiday music pictures with us on Facebook and Twitter or email them to firstname.lastname@example.org! We will happily share the holiday cheer...
Our O'Connor Method One-Day Workshops have been amazing experiences for students and teachers! We are looking forward to our last one of the season, in Seattle, WA - Mr. O'Connor's hometown. Spend the day with Mark O'Connor and friends learning about American music on violin, guitar, mandolin, banjo, bass, and through songwriting. Full Day and Half Day sessions available. Register at www.oconnormethod.com
“I heard nothing but positive feedback from our students and teachers involved in the workshop…To find artists of your caliber willing to give so much to education and students like ours is rare! With much appreciation and gratitude, Hana”
OrchKids Manager of Teaching and Learning
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Hello everyone and I hope that the holiday season is treating you all wonderfully! We have had a great time on “An Appalachian Christmas” tour this December with three big concerts just ahead this week – Boise at the Egyptian Theater, Seattle at the Moore Theater and Portland at the Schnitzer Concert Hall. This 4th year in a row of touring my Christmas music on the road has turned in the most exciting performances yet. Based on my hit holiday album, which today is #9 on the store rankings in the bluegrass category at Amazon.com, it is the 5th year in a row that it has climbed to these heights on the sales charts. The “An Appalachian Christmas” features my guest artists James, Taylor, Alison Krauss, Renee Fleming, Steve Wariner, Yo-Yo Ma, Jane Monheit, Sharon Isbin and Chris Thile. It has been an amazing December again for my brand of Christmas violin music!
The touring group for “An Appalachian Christmas” which features a whole set of additional players and singers has never sounded better. The SFJazz Center performance last night was a real peak for us on this trip I believe. Whoever would have thought that 1. A whole concert of Christmas music could be popular with bluegrass instrumentation, and 2. Whoever thought that this could be presented at one of the greatest Jazz music venues in the country with the audience giving us repeated standing ovations? I would not have thought this possible a generation ago certainly… so in many ways, our project and tour is indicative of a new era in music where anything and every combination is not only potential but the way of the future in arts music.
This could not have been possible without the cast I have with me on the road, each musician in their own right brings so much value to this tour. Cia Cherryholmes with her dynamic bluegrass voice and beautiful banjo work has excelled again for the Christmas music we put on stage; Forrest, my son has really stepped into the spotlight with his wonderful mandolin playing and beautiful voice that brings exactly the right touch to the music. Kate Lee has really stepped up for us this year as a young singing star and fiddler from Nashville, Joe Smart is picking the flattop guitar as well as he has ever done it and as well as it can be done, and Michael Rinne has been awesome on the upright bass. My wife Maggie and her exquisite “American violin” playing as I like to say it, is a big attraction on the Christmas tour and her new violin peg necklaces have been selling out throughout the tour stops! The proceeds send kids to our string camps in the summer! Carrie Rodriguez has joined us for these three last dates on the tour and it is so great to have her up on stage with us again, and just having a baby a couple a months ago. Kurt Storey has been doing excellent sound and road managing for us for the 3rd straight year! What a band! What a sound!
One of the biggest additions to the tour this year is that we stepped up our educational outreach where we had fantastic exchanges with students in Kansas, Baltimore, Lexington and San Diego. We have one more O’Connor Method One-Day Workshop in Seattle on the 21st of December. You can register at www.oconnormethod.com. The entire band has been teaching at these so the students not only get to experience all of the violin teaching we have (we have 4 certified teachers in the O’Connor Method in this band), but we also have classes for the students in songwriting, mandolin, guitar, banjo, guitar and bass! This have been a beautiful addition because I have been saying from the stage to our audiences that giving the gift of music this time of year to children is one of the best presents we can give. The gift of a music lesson, or the gift of a musical instruments is so special in our era to do this for our future. The O’Connor Method has become a best seller, outselling all of the other methods at Shar Music this year. It is unbeatable in how it inspires children to want to play the violin.
Some great moments with young students during this tour earlier in December are now etched in our memory banks. We taught “Orch Kids” from the Baltimore Symphony last week with the majority of the students being African American from the inner city of Baltimore . One time during the classes, this young student Marvin was so inspired by learning Boogie Woogie from the O’Connor Method Book I, that he sprang out of his chair and started dancing steps while playing it. I tried to match his foot work while playing as well, and then he out of nowhere he broke into some extra fancy steps without missing a lick on the violin! It was so joyous I just can’t say enough about him and the others who took part. This American music that is featured in the Method brings life to the music lesson plans and is inspiring everyone – including the teachers at “Orch Kids” and Peabody Institute Prep Division who teach them throughout the year. As is the case with every teaching session we do, including our summer camps, we ended with a jam session that included the students and everyone in our Christmas band. We played the tunes together for a good hour – with no music stands. Several of the tunes we had just learned that day together! I think some of the teachers there were blown away at what we could do with American music teaching in just a few hours! We were building music communities one after the other as we stopped along the Christmas tour.
As I have said on stage at nearly every show we have done on this Christmas tour, I have a band of angels with me on the road and this group is making some of the most beautiful music people can hear. It is inspiring every year and this year is no exception. I want to thank my new team of managers and agents at Cadenza Artists who have masterfully put this tour together with very short notice after leaving my former agency. We have a DVD of the Christmas touring band that we make available only for the audiences at the shows. We have three more left, please come out to see us in Boise tomorrow night, Seattle the following night and Portland on the 22nd (our one-day workshop on the 21st in Seattle!)
Merry Christmas! – Mark O’Connor
January 2016 Teacher Training New Orleans
We are thrilled to announce a new Teacher Training Seminar in Books I & II at Loyola University in New Orleans Jan. 29-31, 2016! Find out more at www.oconnormethod.com
Another beautiful interaction with a student was in Lexington when a 19-year old Kelly Hagan told us about her journeying to Kenya to teach the O’Connor Method. We were all blown away with both her entrepreneurial spirit and courage to journey so far with her younger sister on their own. Her mother wrote to us and sent us this photo of her two daughters on this mission for music education in Africa. We at the O’Connor Method or anybody who teaches it, are really empowering students with music to help change the world for the better.
From Tina Hagan: “Here is the picture of the first violin class at Kenya Baptist Theological College that used the O'Connor Method to learn violin. Kelly and Allie Hagan took 30 violins over 2 years (with help from many friends and missionaries). They taught teachers, principals, worship leaders and pastors who in turn are teaching others. They have taught a total of 75 students in two years.”
And the winner is....
Ava Pakiam (age 5) taking the O'Connor Method Book I Congratulations Ava!
Email us a video of you, your child, or your student playing a tune from the O'Connor Method, talking about the O'Connor Method, or get creative and do a skit! We want to see it all! Video testimonials are welcome as well. All ages welcome to participate. Multiple entries accepted.
For updates on upcoming Official O'Connor Method Teacher Training Seminars, check the website "Teacher Training" page HERE.All future Official O'Connor Method Teacher Trainings will be listed there as well as in this O'Connor Method Newsletter.
For updates on upcoming Official O'Connor Method Summer Camps, check the website "Summer Camps" page HERE.All future Official O'Connor Method Summer Camps will be listed there as well as in this O'Connor Method Newsletter.
To find a certified O'Connor Method Teacher near you, check the website "Find a Teacher" page HERE,OR have your current teacher teach from the O'Connor Method Books. O'Connor Method Books can be found on the website "Store" pageHERE.
The O'Connor Method for string teachers and students is a 10-Book series designed to guide students gradually through the development of pedagogical and musical techniques necessary to become a proficient, well-rounded musician through a carefully planned succession of pieces.