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Teacher Spotlight on Gretchen Rebar, violin


Interview by Erin Cano, violin


Gretchen Rebar joined MIC this fall as a Suzuki violin/viola teacher and Suzuki Events Coordinator.


What led you to become a Suzuki teacher?

When I was in college at the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point, I was practicing in the music building. At the end of July, hundreds of children came on campus with string instruments. I was extremely curious about what was happening. I snuck into a recital one day and was amazed by the level of artistry the children had while performing. I decided I needed to get Suzuki training. In the fall, I enrolled in long term training at the Aber Suzuki Center in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. It changed my life forever.


Which of your teachers inspired you the most? What aspects of their teaching have you integrated into your own style?

My first teacher trainer, Professor Pat D’Ercole, inspired me the most through her love and commitment to the Suzuki Movement. Her ability to break a skill down to a very basic level and then continually add layers of difficulty that lead to mastery has always been incredible to observe and an aspiration in my own teaching. I would not be the teacher I am today without her.


What is your favorite Suzuki piece to teach?

I love teaching Go Tell Aunt Rhody. In fact, it was played during my wedding ceremony! All of the music for my wedding was performed by current and former students who I have taught throughout the years. I had an ensemble of 50 children play Go Tell Aunt Rhody, Twinkle, Allegro, and many more Suzuki favorites throughout the ceremony. It was magical to have my students from St. Louis, New York, Connecticut, and Milwaukee all performing together.


You play with an Irish rock band, The Gleasons. What is an interesting performance experience you’ve had with this band?

I love playing in an Irish rock band because it is so different from the traditional classical scene. I need to improvise and play different styles in the band, which has really pushed me out of my comfort zone. It is fun playing music where people come out to dance and just have a great time at a festival.

At one of our St. Patrick’s Day shows, a Catholic priest jumped up on stage and started Irish dancing while I was playing a reel. It was so unexpected. He was an excellent dancer!


Do you have any pets?

Yes, I have pets! I have a cat named Phoebe. She loves playing fetch and sleeping in my violin case while I practice. In addition, I have four chickens named Charlotte, Henrietta, Tabitha, and Beyonce. The chickens enjoy making music on a toy xylophone in their coop. I love having farm fresh eggs everyday!

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