Starting the studio in their home with no budget, the two have since been able to attract a very diverse clientele of 35 students from ages 4 to 54. Last year, Jay and Morwenna moved Fingerdance Studio three blocks off the Downtown Mall, on Seventh Street NE. Morwenna and Jay are young, hip, talented and educated teachers who stress the importance of music theory, encourage students to learn about their instruments, and always make sure that musical instruction is an enjoyment, not a stress. Morwenna and Jay are always open and willing to find new ways of relating music to everyday life, and like to tailor their instruction to each individual student, since everyone learns differently. Morwenna, who has played with Charlie Haden, Dianne Reeves and Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler, is familiar with a wide variety of styles including classical, jazz, bluegrass and more. Her main area of expertise is in gypsy swing and rhythmic funk chopping. Jay, who has shared stages with Dave Matthews Band and Nickel Creek, and has been part of Corey Harris’ band, plays finger-style guitar mainly in the tradition of his mentor, Pierre Bensusan.
On Saturday, April 22, Fingerdance Studio will feature a showcase of its students performing at The Gravity Lounge. I asked two of their players about favorite musical styles. (New students can find more info at www.fingerdancestudio.com.)
Sam Rivkin: I am 15 and started taking guitar lessons with Jay two years ago. I started on acoustic, but play electric more now. I play in a band, Counting on Jane, with Lauren Ginsberg and Mary Jean Wilson. Mostly we play covers like “Mandy Goes to Med School” by The Dresden Dolls. For CDs, I like Modest Mouse’s The Moon and Antartica because it has a different sound, and Neutral Milk Hotel’s In the Aeroplane Over the Sea. For guitar records, I like Carlos Sanatana’s music, and I like Jimi Hendrix’s Are You Experienced because he is able to play so much different stuff. My friend just bought me his Live at Woodstock on DVD.
Alexandra Osvath: I am 16 and a student at Albemarle High. I studied piano for nine years and am in my fourth year studying violin with Morwenna and Philip Clark. For the showcase, I’ll be playing Irish fiddle tunes and Hungarian gypsy tunes. For violinists, I like Vanessa Mae’s playing a lot—especially Bach’s Violin Partita in E. As far as other CDs, I like Sparky’s Flaw’s CD Oasis’ Wonderwall, Casting Crows’ Lifesong, some Rolling Stones and Enya. I like the whole spectrum.