Celebrating our 25th season of certified instruction in violin, viola and cello for children ages 3.5 and up! Tuesday afternoon/evening classes January 10 - June 13. New this season – Adult string ensemble classes. Our 8th Suzuki Summer Music Camp will run July 3-7, 2017, 9:00 am – 4:00 pm.
Member: Suzuki Association of the Americas, Suzuki Association of Ontario.
July 3 - 7
9:00 am – 4:00 pm
Open to all violin, viola, cello, and piano students who study by the Suzuki method.
Registration begins February 16. To register, call: (416) 924-6211 x0
Gretchen Paxson-Abberger – violin, viola, improvisation, Artistic director of MNjcc Suzuki Program, MNjcc Suzuki Summer Music Camp
Gretchen Paxson Abberger holds a Bachelor of Liberal Arts from Bennington College, a Bachelor’s degree in Music Performance from the Manhattan School of Music, and a Master’s degree in Historical Performance from the Mannes College of Music in New York City, as well a 2-year Long Term Certificate in Suzuki training from the School For Strings in New York City studying with Louise Behrend.
I started playing the violin when I was five years old, and studied at the JCC for the formative years of my musical education, under the instruction of Katrina, Maya, Nancy, Gretchen, Gary, Kerri, Rona, and others. Since then, I have moved on to study mandolin, guitar, and voice with a focus on folk music and improvisation. I am now a third year student of philosophy and psychology at the University of Toronto, working part time as a teaching assistant in philosophy, and playing and coaching hockey on the side. Most recently, I have been interested in the neuroscience of things like empathy, morality, and theory of mind; the ways we model and think about mental disorders; and ethics in animal research. But music always stays at the core of who I am. I recently founded an indie folk band called Sheepishly Yours, playing gigs at events for the university and performing at small shows. I have also been working on a solo songwriting project, and working as a studio and performance violinist, spanning genres from classical to folk to hip hop. As I mature, I realize that music is one of the biggest sources of meaning in my life. Living a musical life is delightfully unpredictable and diverse, and it is a thrill to continue with it alongside my other pursuits.
Reflecting back to my time in Suzuki, what really sticks out to me is the social experience of playing music. Getting to really inhabit these pieces with others really stuck with me, especially as I got older and started playing duets and chamber music. I have strong memories of how exciting it was to first learn the Bach Double, and having some of my first experiences playing viola (now my primary instrument) getting the chance to play in a supportive role. I think the sense of music as a collaborative activity has stuck with me since then. In high school I began writing little scores for the movies my friends made. This quickly became somewhat lucrative (in the experiential sense) and I ended up scoring around 10 films a year. This was collaborative music in a new sense, with the director and me approaching a problem from two completely different directions and sources of training. It was exciting and frustrating, having to explain why my decisions are right to a director with little musical literacy, and also knowing when to let them make decisions about what I do. In some ways it's not unlike those first few lessons playing second violin on the Bach double concerto, learning where to play my part out and where my job is to make the other violinist sound as great as they possibly can.
I'm now entering my final year at Wilfrid Laurier University as a Music Composition major. I've had some incredible opportunities over the past few years including interning with Jumblies Theatre in Toronto, facilitating music for diverse communities, and trying to learn to write music that is accessible for anyone to inhabit the way I first experienced as a kid. I was asked to write a score for an old high school friend’s film that won a SOCAN young composers award, and I'm lucky enough to keep being asked to make music in collaborative spaces like this. One of the big highlights of the past few years, however, has been being invited back to teach at the MNjcc Suzuki Music Camp and being able to share the things I've learned.
I couldn't really tell you what kind of music I make, or even what kind of music I'd like to be making, but I think I already learned back in group class that the important part is how I can share music with the people around me.