Ossining Resident Offers Free Nyssma Prep At Library

OSSINING, N.Y. -- An Ossining musician is giving back by helping the village's gifted musicians.

Rachel Alexander will be offering violin workshops at the Ossining Public Library.

Rachel Alexander will be offering violin workshops at the Ossining Public Library.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Rachel Alexander

Rachel Alexander will be hosting free New York State School Musician Association prep workshop for violinists and violists for their summer festival at the Ossining Public Library from 1-2:30 p.m. Saturday and from 1-3 p.m. April 4, 18 and May 2.

"I did NYSSMA for many years growing up," Alexander said. "NYSSMA can be stressful; you're playing in front of someone you don't know who is grading you. With these lessons, they can perform and review in an intimate environment and get their worries out."

This is Alexander's first time running a workshop and she has reached out to people throughout Ossining to spread the word.

"I'm just trying to get the word out," Alexander said. "The response has been fabulous. I'm just trying to spread the word. I want this to be a place where kids can come and be better prepared and to be able to perform in a safe environment."

Alexander said she thinks Ossining is a very musical place.

"There's tons of music schools and plenty of talented kids," she said. 

Before she began playing the violin and the viola, Alexander originally wanted to play the flute.

"But I thought there would be other girls playing the flute and that turned me off of it," Alexander said. "Our school offered me the chance to try other instruments and it was string day. I went on stage with the other kids and tried the violin and I was told I'd be a great violinist. That was it, the rest was history."

Alexander said violinists need a true passion for the instrument if they want to success.

"Technique can be leaned but if you don't love it, that can't be taught," Alexander said. "It's a lot of hard work; you have to want it. 

Alexander said she loves it when her students pick up what she's been teaching them.

"He taught a four-year-old girl who was new to the instrument," Alexander said. "She can put a bow on the string and start to make sounds. It's pure excitement and is amazing to watch."

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