Maori Violin Virtuoso teaches next generation

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Twinkle, twinkle little star took a bit of a bashing at Wanganui High School yesterday, as professional musician Elena took four budding violinists through their paces.

Year10 students Savannah Rogan, Taylor Stark, Kakawa Pari and Alesana Tofa were four of six students chosen for a workshop with Elena, who was in town as a guest artist for last nights Cultural Arts awards.

Simply known as Elena, Elena grew up in Mahia and is now a member of the Vector Wellington Orchestra, and a freelance musician. She has played for famous people at home and around the world, and has released two CDs.

Wanganui High School music department head Sandra Murray said the four students had chosen to learn violin though their year 10 music class, and had received less than six lessons so far.

This is very special for them to get some expert tuition. She is a great inspiration for them because she is Maori and so are they.

The students spent a half hour with Elena, learning how to hold their bows properly and practicing the song, twinkle, twinkle little star.

The bow is the paint brush that makes all the colours, otherwise its all in grey, Elena said.

The students had different reasons for playing the violin, Savannah said she decided to take violin because it Was out of her comfort zone, and Taylor agreed, saying You wouldnt see a Maori playing a violin much.

The only male of the group, Alesana, said he really liked the sound of it, and the sounds you could play, while Kakawa said she did it simply because she loved violin.

At the end of the workshop, Elena told the students practice was the key to improving

I think it went really well. They are at different levels and to do a little performance at the end was particularly good. Theyre all really excited and I hope that they have taken away that they need to do some practice.

Source: W(h)anganui Chronicle

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