We begin guiding young students through the wonderful world of music with rhythms. We use phrases like Mississippi hot dog, grandma rides a motorcycle, chocolate chocolate, and a myriad of other creative ideas to bring the Twinkle variations to life. Once our little ones have mastered the building blocks, we show them how these simple rhythms can be enhanced by melodies and harmonies to create beautiful pieces of music! This musical journey we take with our students is an exercise in expanding the imagination by introducing new tools and techniques for them to utilize. I am very thankful to have been able to experience music through listening, playing, and the physical expression of dance. At three years old, I was enrolled in both violin lessons and dance classes. Because of those experiences, much of my imagination has revolved around music. As a young child, I often created musical performances for my parents: dancing, singing, and playing my violin (sometimes all at once). My parents and violin teachers encouraged that expression, and for that I am grateful.

In my transition from childhood to adulthood, I have come to realize how easy it is to stifle a child’s imagination in an effort to ground them in reality. As adults we have an obligation to teach them how the world works, but in doing so we often forget to see the world as they do: unencumbered by the weight of societal expectations, past hurt, and even the laws of science! While we must do our part to use our life experiences to help them develop into well-adjusted members of society, we can also allow them to teach us about a topic in which they are experts: imagination!

A few years ago I had a simple conversation with one of my violin students that changed my life. I was correcting her bow arm by explaining that her upper arm should be like a wall and her forearm should act as a door that hinges on her elbow. I told her that when the door opens and closes, the wall shouldn’t shake. Since her mother was a real estate agent, the student responded by saying, “Unless the house has structural damage!” That seemingly small, humorous comment led me down a rabbit hole of imagination. It was out of this journey of curiosity that my We Imagine Music series was born. In my first book, Vio’s Violin, we discover the story of an old man whose house shakes profusely and he goes on a quest to find out why. Along the way he meets someone who informs him that his house is built on a violinist’s elbow. The ground below his house is prone to shake because the violinist’s bow is not moving straight. In addition to this topic, the first two books in the series include stories to help students reduce the tension in their left hand, improve their ability to play on one string at a time, and remember that it is important to master the basics before progressing to more advanced techniques.

I am so thankful to that student who inspired me to start writing because this adventure has been more exciting than I could have ever imagined. By taking the time to honor my inner child, I have discovered a vast universe of possibilities. Now, I frequently allow my imagination to whisk me away on adventures into the land of music to explore the principles of violin posture and technique. Music has taken me on such exciting journeys, and I look forward to the journeys ahead—both real and imagined.

<bio>Kenesha T. Ryce was born and raised in Austell, Georgia. After attending her older sister’s violin lessons, Kenesha eagerly started taking lessons at age three. She has loved teaching ever since, as it allows her to invent creative ways to explain concepts to her students. Kenesha completed her first Suzuki teacher training course in 2014 and received her BA in music from Oakwood University in 2017. In 2018, Kenesha introduced the We Imagine Music series with her first book, Vio’s Violin. This series allows her to share the same creativity she uses with her private students with young musicians all over the world!

When she’s not teaching music or writing books, Kenesha enjoys podcasting, traveling, dreaming up new business ideas, and taking time to smell the roses. Visit weimaginemusic.com to learn more about the We Imagine Music Series and stay up to date with Kenesha’s latest projects!