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Photography Credit: Wade Spees
Mary is a classically trained violinist and Celtic fiddler. She received her Bachelor Degree from Lamar University in Violin Performance and Music Education where she studied with Eduard Schmieder, a student of David Oistrakh. She received her Master Degree from Sam Houston State University, in Violin Performance and Conducting. She is also a certified Suzuki Violin instructor through Book 7, in addition to having training in the Mark O’Connor method, level 2.
In the classical world she has been a symphony player since the age of 15. She has played in professional orchestras in Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Georgia, South Carolina, Austria and Italy. In the Celtic folk area she has performed, recorded and collaborated with such artists as John Doyle, David Greenberg, Kim Robertson, Martin Hayes, Liz Carroll, Kevin Crawford, Joey Abarta, and Cillian Vallely. From 2000 to 2019 she was the founder and director of Na Fidleiri, which trained young fiddlers in the art and performance of Celtic music. What emerged was a very well known ensemble of young fiddlers who performed and were featured prominently in the US and Ireland. They have been seen on NPR, local TV and radio, as well as multiple periodicals and newspapers. Along with Tiffany Rice, she built the string program at Ashley Hall from 2006 to 2017.
Classical students under her instruction have attended many institutions including, Julliard, San Francisco Conservatory, Florida State University, Interlochen, Eastman and others. She can be heard performing on Sing We Now of Christmas on the MSR Classics label, So Hallowed the Time on the Delos label, and Celtic Mass also on the Delos label. As a fiddler she is heard on Organic Tangerines and All Through the Night on the Hungry Monk label.
Mary's Teaching Style: "My teaching style is tailored to each individual student as everyone learns differently and at a different rate. As I get to know each student, it will become evident what tools each student has, and how we can work together for the most positive outcome. I usually ask lots of questions in the first couple of lessons, so I can gain information on what each student intends to accomplish from the lessons. I consider myself a very positive teacher, while at the same time honest and encouraging with my students.
One of my big topics is practicing outside of the lesson. One time I was observing a teacher, and he told a student, “if you only play your violin in your lesson, it will take you about 25 years to learn everything about the violin!” Having used that anecdote, I would like to emphasis that THE MOST important element in learning how to play any instrument and becoming proficient at it is practice outside the lesson.
The main thrust of the lesson is for the teacher to introduce new material to the student, not review or practice old material covered in previous lessons. The quality practice time a student puts in is actually more important than the teacher. So I kindly encourage all my students to practice and I help them to realize that as they get better on the instrument, that is when it really becomes FUN!"