Esther Slonczewski's former student, I remember long practices with
my mom's heavy pocketbook hanging from my bow arm elbow! Wherever I
play, I'm always told that I have great technique and fundamentals --
which of course came from Esther's lessons."
V. Slonczewski (Lepore) earned her B. A . in music education at Oberlin
College. She studied also at Julliard School of Music. She learned the
Suzuki method from Louise
Behrend, and used it to teach her students.
Esther taught music in the New Jersey public schools. She has taught
violin privately for more than 34 years, in her studio in Katonah, NY.
Her students frequently earn top places in the Westchester youth orchestras.
She herself performed for many years in the New Jersey Symphony and
the Chappaqua Chamber Orchestra. Her husband, John C. Slonczewski, is
an internationally honored theoretical physicist associated with IBM
Yorktown. They enjoy summer holidays touring Europe, especially the
Students perform "Twinkle" at Slonczewski's spring recital,
May, 2003 (photo by Sandra Caulfield)
and Peter Bajorek
classes were such an important part of Peter and Jennifer's early education
and social life. Peter was 5 and Jennifer was 3 years old when they
began studying with her.
I think they were some of her first Suzuki students."
--Janet Bajorek, mother of Jennifer Bajorek and Peter Bajorek
Alex Caulfield performs Concerto No.
1 in A Minor by Accolay, at the Berkeley Piano Club, January
You are a phenomenal teacher, and I enjoyed every one of my six
years with you. I'm sorry I couldn't have you as a teacher until
I graduated from high school; I would have loved that. I miss
our twinkle times! Hope to see you soon!
performed in a violin recital at the Berkeley Piano Club two weeks
ago, and while she was playing, I had tears in my eyes. I was
enjoying her performance, appreciating how she continues to develop
her musicality, but I also felt very nostalgic for your recitals.
You always had a special ability to draw out the best in your
students. I also missed the twinkle time finale!
and Evan Chen
Richard Chen, high school recital
Evan Chen, 2008 recital
older son Richard Chen started his lesson with Esther when he
was 7 years old (1992). Both of my sons grew up with Esther's
violin lessons. Evan was born in 1993. So I consider that he
started the lessons before he was born, because
he had to go to lesson with Richard and me at that time. After
he was born, he started going to Richard's lesson with us when
he was 3 and started his own lesson when he was in kindergarten
until now. He expects to have another 2+ years of violin lessons
before he graduates from high school. I do not know if he qualifies
to be the student who is going to stay in Esther's lessons the
longest. :-) " -- Sharon Chen
I’ve had a great ten years of violin. Although I started
out very reluctant, I’ve grown to love playing and learning
about music. I’m very grateful that you stuck with me for
all those years and helped me to develop into the person I am
recital, photo from Sharon Chen
cannot believe that after having been there during your violin
lessons for more than 17 years I still can not play violin at
all. :) Both my sons Richard and Evan not only learned a great
deal of violin skills but also learned the discipline from you.
You played a big role in our family since 1992. I thank you
greatly for a lot of life experience sharing, and enjoy all
of the moments with you. Happy birthday to you!
(mother of Richard & Evan)
February 9, 2009
was our daughter Jennifer’s violin teacher from the ages of
7 to 17 years. She was mine too, for the first year, as the parents
learnt to play with their children. Every Friday afternoon all the
parents and children would get together in “group” to
play some of the pieces. The children stood in the front of the room
with their violins held up correctly, and the parents behind. The
children began playing and within a few minutes as they all played
the same notes, a feeling of unity swept over the group. The parents
were caught up in it too and there would be a spirit of joy in the
room as everyone created music together.
Esther was very demanding and required lots of practice and effort
from her students. In the early years, Jenny was a little scared of
her and would practice and practice. She worked hard, and was rewarded
with a sticker in her book to show she had perfected the piece. This
practice paid off, and Jenny progressed quickly. However, as she grew,
she started to have other distractions in her life. The sticker was
no longer enough motivation to practice. When a piece had not had
enough work, Esther was kind and encouraged her, and when even that
did not motivate her, Esther asked Jenny to pick out pieces that she
liked and they would play duets.
The first year in High School was not a happy one for Jenny and she
wanted to give up the violin. Esther suggested she come anyway, and
so Jenny went just to hang out and talk. They talked and talked and
sometimes would play pieces that Jenny liked, but mostly talked. Esther
provided a calm refuge for Jenny in those difficult years, and she
continued her violin through High School, All State Orchestra and
up to college.
Esther was so flexible and seemed to know just what to do for her
students. Over the years she provided what Jenny needed - instruction,
encouragement, caring and friendship. She taught Jenny to love music.
Now, many years later Jenny remembers her years with Esther with great
affection and attributes her love for music directly to Esther.
Rod and I are very grateful to Esther for all her love for her students,
integrity to music and friendship to us.
and Robert Jensen
Rob and Brian Jensen playing cooperatively
and Rob Jensen - two beginners
"Our two sons, Brian and Rob, studied with Esther over a period
of 14 years, 1981-1994.When Brian started, we knew nothing of the Suzuki
method and had never heard of "foot papers," "the highway,"
or "Mississippi hot dog." Soon Rob wanted to participate,
so Esther gave him a box with a ruler and a bow so he could "play"
the twinkle rhythms. We are very thankful for Esther's contribution
to our sons' musical education; both of them played in their college
orchestras, they love classical music, and Brian now plays in the Raleigh
Symphony Orchestra." --Carol and Erik Jensen
and Francesca Jones
(Materials under construction)
Hanna Moy (center), recital.
Photo from Karen and Larry Moy
has given more to her students than excellent violin instruction.
For the past eight years, since our daughter, Hannah, was in first
grade, Esther has given Hannah guidance about both music and life.
Esther has taught Hannah about speaking up for herself in the face
of unfairness, managing situations at school and in her orchestras,
and generally has shown and taught Hannah how to become more self-confident.
always speaks to her students as equals. She never tries to oversimplify
what she is saying but trusts that those studying from her can understand
what she is saying even when the vocabulary is advanced or the context
is complex. It is easy to see how Esther's older students (and alumni)
easily shift to an adult relationship with her. I'm sure that what
Esther has been teaching Hannah will stay with our daughter for her
lifetime. Thank you, Esther!"
-- Karen Moy
famous receptions after the recitals
after the recitals, food provided by parents and Slonczewski
is always the highlight for kids --- after recitals' food. Esther's
violin homemade chocolate is always the most popular one."
website maintained by Joan
Slonczewski and John Slonczewski
September 10, 2009