Alex Saldarriaga - Violinist & Violin Teacher

Alex Saldarriaga - Violinist & Violin Teacher

5.0 (12)
5 hires on Lessons.com

About this pro

Alex Saldarriaga is a classically-trained violinist who has been performing as a soloist and member of various music ministries for over 40 years throughout several South Florida churches (All Saints Catholic Church, Church of the Epiphany, St. Hugh, St. John Neumann, St. Edward, St. Gregory, etc.) Alex first studied violin under Mr. Bernard Minzer, who studied with Mishel Piastro, the former concertmaster of the New York Philharmonic and star pupil of the great violin pedagogue, Leopold Auer. He later completed his violin studies with the distinguished Dutch violinist and teacher, Prof. Hendrik de Blij, who was the first violin professor at the New World School of the Arts in Miami, Florida. Alex served as Prof. de Blij's violin teaching assistant, preparing talented high school students to audition for the leading music conservatories. The foundations of Alex's teaching philosophy and methods encompass the very best of both the Franco-Belgian and Russian schools of traditional, classical violin playing. Alex has also appeared as a soloist, chamber musician, and orchestral member at Florida International University and at the University of Miami.

What could be better work than to praise God and move the hearts and souls of listeners with beautiful violin music? And to pass on the joy of the violin to my students is a rare privilege and honor. As my violin hero, the great Jascha Heifetz, once said, "Violin playing is a perishable art. It must be passed on as a personal skill. Otherwise it is lost." It is a gift to be able to connect and communicate with people through music. And it is this gift that I am passionate about in passing on to my students.

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Credentials

Tarpon Springs, FL 34688
Email verified
Phone verified

12 Reviews

5.0

  • Iberia (Evis) Cartagena

    I had the pleasure of hiring Alex as my Violin Instructor. He was so very professional and complimentary. I would recommend him highly as he is patient and very willing to help you progress to your potential. Check him out for Violin lessons. He's fabulous!

  • Wai

    My child is fortunate to have Alex as his violin teacher who is friendly and very detail oriented.  He knows how to tackle specific issues, challenges and set clear objectives for the outcome I want to achieve for my child.  We are sad that he had to move but we understand this is the best for him.

  • Kanchana Marapana

    Alex is a great teacher. He is also very professional and knowledgeable. Alex teach my 7 year old town boys. Alex is a violinist with a great passion for music. He not only teaches violin, he teach them to appreciate music. Before meeting Alex, my kids had a suzuki teacher and they didn't know how to read music. My kids can read music and play well now. They enjoy playing the violin and keep practicing.

  • Roberto Ramirez

    He is an awesome professor!!! An excellent professional, patient and very aware of his students. I have been practicing for 4 months with him and I do not regret having selected him as a teacher. Very understanding especially when unexpected events occur. I recommend him 100%.


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FAQs


What is your typical process for working with a new student?

I first try to assess why the student wants to learn to play the violin, what their expectations or goals are, and what their level of commitment to practicing will be. From there, I explain what my teaching philosophy is and what violin methods I use to achieve the student's expectations and goals. At first, I emphasize solid "physical" fundamentals that are immutable over the life of a good violinist, such as the correct bow grip, proper holding of the violin, good posture, a stable stance, the basic bow stroke, the "frame" of the left hand, etc. In all this, I stress the importance of relaxation and naturalness at all times. Tension in either hand or in holding the violin or in anything else is the biggest and most common impediment in learning to play the violin. And if anything feels or looks unnatural or ugly in violin playing, then it's likely to be wrong. Once the physical fundamentals are established, I begin to impress upon my students the idea that great violin playing is so much more than the physical control and coordination of the hands. It is a willful and deliberate act of the mind and the heart. And I work with my students to develop critical hearing and objective listening skills. What the player hears and what the audience hears is not always in agreement! In addition, the violin is a singing instrument (and not a percussive one like the piano), so I stress the importance of singing. As a former music theory teacher of mine once said, "if you can't sing it, you can't play it!" A violinist who cannot make the instrument sing is not making music, only noise. And finally, my motto that encompasses everything I do with the violin and in music is this: "Practice carefully, play courageously!"


What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?

I have taught violin privately for many years and recently at the Academy of the Arts, NSU University School, in Fort Lauderdale, FL.  Also, I just completed the Starling-DeLay Symposium on Violin Studies at The Juilliard School of Music in June 2021.


How did you get started teaching?

I was the teaching assistant to Mr. Hendrik de Blij, Professor of Violin at the New World School of the Arts in Miami, FL. Prof. de Blij was a wonderful teacher whose deep intellect and encyclopedic knowledge of music and the violin made a huge and lasting impression on me. He taught me how to solve violin technique problems in a rigorous, analytical, and efficient manner. His "prescriptions" usually involved a passage from Kreutzer, Sevcik, Wieniawski, or Paganini to "cure" the problem. He was an expert in showing me how to create my own improvised exercises to overcome a particular violinistic challenge. He reminded me often that a good teacher should show the student how to teach himself!


What types of students have you worked with?

Although on rare occasions I have taken beginning students, I prefer to work with highly-motivated intermediate and advanced violin students. I'm a stickler for intonation (I place great emphasis on scales and arpeggios to calibrate the ear and refine muscle memory), proper fundamentals, and solid, secure technique that serves the music and the composer's intentions.


Describe a recent event you are fond of.

One of my dear students gave me a beautiful Yamaha Silent Violin. I was deeply moved and overwhelmed with such a wonderful, generous gift. Now I can practice and play at any hour without disturbing anyone else! Thank you L.V.!!


What advice would you give a student looking to hire a teacher in your area of expertise?

Anyone with a modicum of ability on the violin can call themselves a teacher. The litmus test, in my opinion, for a violinist worthy of being called "teacher" is this: Have they performed in public? Are they respected by their professional peers? Have they performed serious works of the standard repertoire as a soloist or chamber musician, in addition to playing in an orchestra? It is only in the crucible of the concert stage (regardless of wherever that stage is) that a player is forged into becoming a true teacher. This is why I have such enormous respect and admiration for artist-teachers like Jascha Heifetz, Nathan Milstein, Aaron Rosand, Pinchas Zukerman, and David Nadien. They've been there and done that!


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