Blogging from the Pit

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010
Wendy poses with her violaNo, not that kind of pit.  Amy and I are very excited to be a part of the Grace Baptist Church Praise Orchestra!  Ever since we were little, I've wanted to be a part of this special ministry.  I remember always rushing up to the musicians after the service to ask and learn about their instruments and I especially remember one Easter when I told Don Valentine, the percussionist, that one day, I was going to join the orchestra.

My opportunity came in my freshman year of high school.  Because we are enrolled in the A Beka Academy program, we were able to take many courses through DVD.  When I learned that there was a DVD course to teach me how to play any stringed instrument, I was really excited and, after discussing it with Lisa Hernacki, the church orchestra director, Amy and I decided to learn the viola.

At last, our DVDs arrived and as we started studying under the Jaffé Strings Program, screeches filled the house as our family and neighbors had to put up with - not one - but two beginning string players.  I am so grateful that they did support me, and that they never made negative remarks.  It didn't take too long, however, for us to begin experimenting with our instruments.  We were so excited when we were able to sound out Pirates of the Caribbean (the original song from the ride) on our instruments as well as several other songs!

Grace Baptist Church Praise OrchestraAs we finished up the second year of our study under the strings program, we began preparing to audition for the Grace Baptist Church Orchestra.  The first violinist in the orchestra, Patti Graham, was such a big help and encouragement, and she helped us go through an intense three month "viola boot camp" to help us get ready for our auditions.  At the end of August, Amy and I auditioned for Mrs. Hernacki and were accepted into the orchestra!

It 's been a wonderful experience to be a part of this incredible group of people.  It has been such a big blessing to me as I start to pursue music more seriously, and, although we still hear the regular viola jokes (what violist doesn't?), all of the musicians are so positive and encouraging!  I am grateful for the privilege to be a part of this special family.

Discussion/Comments (5):

Jaffe Strings

I always wondered about the Jaffe Strings program. I (and my siblings) did A Beka through HS also, but never took it... but being basically the only music course they had, I always wondered about it :) (I had piano/trumpet/theory stuff either privately or at a junior college, though).

Posted at 1/17/2011 3:46:43 PM byPaul


re: Jaffe Strings

It's a wonderful program and I highly recommend it for anyone wanting to learn the basics of any stringed instrument. Sometimes I got a little frustrated with the camera angles, but Mr. Jaffe did a good job describing everything and reviewing often so that I could get it right. The only technique that I was unable to learn from the DVDs was the vibrato, and I believe that is only because of bad camera angles. Fortunately we were able to learn that technique during our "boot camp".

Posted at 1/17/2011 3:48:53 PM by


Blogging from the Pit

Congratulations for success with a difficult instrument!

Ah -- could you tell us one or two of those violist jokes?

Posted at 5/14/2011 7:46:29 PM byLesB


re: Jaffe Strings

As I was browsing your blog, I saw that you mentioned Jaffe strings. My Gramma has been looking for a strings program, and I tried to go to the link, but it didn't work. Could you fix it please?

Posted at 8/21/2013 8:09:14 AM byJosh


re: re: Jaffe Strings

Josh, thanks for letting me know. It looks like Abeka changed their site around, but I was able to find the new link and change it on the post.

Good luck with your strings program!

Posted at 8/21/2013 6:31:29 PM byWendy Mack



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