AUSTA String Teacher Profile

James de Rozario

Suburb: Fitzroy North

Postcode: 3068

Studio Phone: 9810-4450

Email: austavicpresident@outlook.com

Instrument: Violin and Viola

State: VIC

Coming originally from Western Australia, I am a teacher and performer on both violin and viola. My violin studies started as a young Suzuki violin student. With an older brother, I was fortunate to listen and watch his lessons – consequently I was always motivated to learn the pieces that he had already mastered.

When I finished school, I was not sure as to what to study. As a result, I started a Bachelor of Commerce. After the very first lecture, I realised that commerce was not for me!

Since I was always reasonably good at violin, I decided that a music degree would be a good next step. So over the next 4 years, I studied violin at the WA Conservatorium of Music with Pal Eder (of the Eder Quartet) and chamber music with the Stirling String Quartet. I was also a keen member of the WA Youth Orchestra, Australian Youth Orchestra and Camerata Australia.

Upon finishing my degree, I had no idea what was next. I had more events planned with Camerata Australia, so decided to fill in my down time with some itinerant teaching. When I look back, I would describe myself as an “enthusiastic beginner” teacher (as opposed to knowledgeable!).

However I found teaching interesting and found myself growing more confident. I continued to work as an itinerant until 1999 when I was appointed Head of Strings at Scotch College Perth. I found this job stimulating and it allowed me to learn much from other teachers. In particular, I learnt a great deal on behaviour management from classroom teachers – as well as how to structure, set out and deliver simple and sequential instructions. I would urge all string teachers to find a classroom teacher that they admire and to sit in on their lessons. You will learn a huge amount.

Throughout these years, I was also lucky to study further violin teaching with some wonderful teachers. Judy Vasek and Hooitong Lee (who was also my high school violin teacher) have both influenced me heavily in my approach and attitude to teaching the violin and I am incredibly grateful to have been able to learn from them.

During my time at Scotch Perth, I also developed an interest in conducting and was soon invited to work with the WA Youth Orchestra Association. I continued to work with this group until I moved to Melbourne in 2005.

In 2005 I was appointed Head of Strings at Scotch College Melbourne. Being a large school with a highly regarded music program, I have been able to take advantage of many opportunities and have worked with both the many different parts of the music school – but also with the wider school community. I have been able to conduct major string works, conduct musicals, rehearse choirs, tutor chamber music, organise national and international tours, work in boarding houses and have also conducted the schools’ Symphony Orchestra. One particular highlight over this time was preparing the orchestra for a workshop with Sir Neville Marriner.

I consider myself a firm supporter of string education and believe in realising the potential of every player while ensuring that each contributor enjoys every moment of music making. I believe that every teacher should insist that they themselves become the best teacher that they can – through study, observation and an acceptance that none of us knows everything!

AUSTA is a wonderful advocate for musical education and if we (as teachers and performers) want to be respected and acknowledged, then we must ACTIVELY support our local advocacy groups and encourage our community to produce better and greater musical education.

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