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Learning the violin
Averitt camp teaches youngsters to play, enjoy instrument
061015 VIOLIN CAMP 01
Violin Camp director Jonathan Aceto, center, helps campers with their cues while playing "The Storm" as they get to know their instruments Wednesday at the Averitt Center for the Arts. Students, ages 6-12, will spend this week learning the basics of playing violin, including reading music and learning some music history. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/staff

The sound of violins can be heard from the third floor of the Averitt Center for the Arts all this week, as youngsters attend the center's first Violin Camp.

    The director of the camp, Dr. Johnathan Aceto, is an accomplished, well-known violinist, and he is happy and excited to share his love of the instrument with the 6- to 12-year-olds who are attending the camp.

    "I have been playing for a very, very long time," he said. "I started at the age of 10 with the Suzuki method and never looked back."

    Aceto graduated from the Eastman School of Music in New York City and completed his doctoral degree at Arizona State University. For a while, he taught at Mercer University, and he spent 14 years as a professor at Georgia Southern University.

    The camp is the first Aceto has directed and the first one that was designed for young children. Teaching younger children can be a challenge, but it is rewarding, he said.

    "One of the most important things about the violin that people don't really think about is the fact that your hands do very different things, so sometimes that can be pretty tough for real young kids," Aceto said. "I try and teach them to use the arms and hands separately in order to make it easier for them to play notes."

    By the end of the camp, he hopes the children have a better understanding of the instrument and will know the basics of playing a violin.

    "I want the children to be relatively comfortable with the instrument," he said. "I want them to be able to create nice sounds and to get their fingers to hit the right notes."

    Throughout the week, the young violinists will learn how to read basic music and even a little about the history of the violin. On Friday, they will host a concert for friends and family and will play popular children's songs, including "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star."

    Mary Grace Geiger is one of the students participating in the camp and is looking forward to the concert.

            "My mom asked me if I wanted to do a violin camp, and I wanted to," she said. "I can't wait for the concert on Friday so my family can hear us play."


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