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September 07, 2006 - Image 63

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2006-09-07

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Above: Jubilant students celebrate with Rothstein after a recital. Below: Sonya Lebenbom, 5, of

Bloomfield Hills concentrates on her performance during a recital at Rothstein's home.


More students came through word of
mouth. Rothstein, meanwhile, kept up
with her medical practice part time.
But it's the music, she says, "that's all
mine. I give everything I can to each
child, and I love that there are no rules,
no time constraints, no restrictions." If
she thinks a student needs extra lesson
time, she can give it. It she wants to try
a new idea or simply sit with a child
and talk, she can.
She describes her teaching approach
as "Suzuki-Rothstein." While the
Suzuki method emphasizes listening
and repetition, Rothstein is equally
adamant that children learn to read
music and use a metronome. She
believes it's important to have parents
involved. She uses games to teach
musical scales and encourages children
to learn life lessons along the way. She
likes to have students pair themselves
so they experience the characteristics of
a good partner.
And she's always looking for ways to
motivate her students. Colorful stick-
ers are just the start. Rothstein invites
a few of the boys and girls to serve as
her assistants when she teaches begin-
ning violin at the Farmington Cultural
Center, and all of her students par-
ticipate in monthly recitals held at her
home. The performances help students
feel comfortable playing in front of
others, she says. "Even if they're new,
they can recite the parts of the violin
and bow." Afterward, she and her hus-

band, David Steinberg, offer a potluck
dinner for the students and their fami-
Though Rothstein is a stickler when
it comes to learning how to properly
hold the instrument or mastering the
musical scales, her classes are anything
but violin boot camp. She tells students
facing final exams, "Do your homework
first. If you only have time to practice
five minutes a day during exams, that's
Her seemingly divergent careers
intertwine in interesting ways. At the
heart of both of them, she uses her
expertise to help others. And her love
of doing that — and for her students
— shows. Her medical background
has actually proven beneficial to her
teaching skills, says Rothstein, whom
students call "Miss Sharon."
"With occupational medicine, I'm
concerned with the mechanics of how
people do things, how to work around
medical problems," she says. "Those
concepts carry over into how I teach."
Rothstein continues her pedagogy
training with a teacher in Minneapolis
and occasionally performs with com-
munity orchestras and in a string quar-
tet. And while she acknowledges that
not everyone who picks up the violin
will become the next Heifetz no mat-
ter how long he or she practices, she's
convinced anyone can learn. "It is one
of the hardest instruments to play," she
says. "But if you practice 30 minutes a
day, you can learn." O

To contact Sharon Rothstein, send an e-mail to
sharonrothstein@yahoo. corn or call (248) 865-3060.

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