April 3, 2014

Jessica Pope
Communications and Media Relations Coordinator

Mariana Krewer: Learning to Teach by Giving Others the Gift of Music

VALDOSTA — Mariana Krewer was 14 years of age when she first picked up a violin. Now, nearly a decade later, she teaches others how to play the instrument through Valdosta State University’s South Georgia String Project.

Born and raised in the Brazilian countryside, Krewer began taking music lessons at the urging of her health care provider, who prescribed the flute as treatment for her asthma. 

“I was an asthmatic kid, so one homeopathic therapist my mother took me to recommended my parents to put me in flute lessons to strengthen the lungs and control my breath,” said Krewer, who will graduate on May 10 with a Master of Music in performance from VSU’s Department of Music. “So, we met this teacher in my city, Professor Célio, who is still a friend nowadays, and he taught me flute when I was 7, classical guitar when I was 10, and finally violin when I was 14. He was a violinist himself, so he convinced me. And then I fell in love for the instrument. Soon came college and now master’s degree, both in violin performance, and also work — and fun — with orchestras and ensembles. I can’t picture myself without the violin now.” 

Krewer’s dream job is to teach violin at either a college, university, or conservatory. Since arriving at VSU at the start of the 2012 fall semester, she has been gaining a bit of experience in that area by working with the South Georgia String Project (SGSP).

A joint venture of the Valdosta Symphony Orchestra and VSU’s Department of Music, the SGSP is a low-cost, after-school string music program for children ages 8 and up and adults. It incorporates both group and private lessons taught by the university’s music faculty and students, as well as mentoring by select VSU undergraduate and graduate music students. Group classes begin every September and January; private lessons are offered year-round. 

The SGSP was started in 1993.

The American String Teacher Association named the SGSP the 2011 National String Project of the Year.  

Krewer works with SGSP students on everything from scales, pitch, and intervals to rhythm, sight-reading, and improvisation exercises. Her focus is on encouraging the enjoyment of music and self-expression through the study of the violin, whether she is teaching students with no previous string-playing experience or students who are advanced and ready to join the string project’s Valdosta Youth Symphony Orchestra.

When asked what she enjoys most about working with the SGSP, Krewer said, “It’s for sure the contact with the people. I learn a lot, have lots of fun with the kids and adults that come over. Also, it is greatest feeling to see the shining eyes of someone when they find out they can do something.”

The 24-year-old who most recently called Porto Alegre, the capital and largest city in the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul, home, then explained how working with the SGSP benefits her as a music performance student at VSU.

“Yes, I learn a whole lot from my students every day,” she said. “The SGSP was, at the beginning, a cultural shock for me because the school structure and specially the people I was used to work with back in Brazil had a very different profile. Only that would be a big stretch on my worldview. For me as a student, SGSP is a great laboratory. I get in contact with people of all different ages, with all different levels of natural talent, compromise, and backgrounds, and I have to learn to deal with it properly.”   

In addition to pursuing a doctoral degree in the near future, Krewer plans to join an orchestra or form a chamber music group and keep studying and perfecting her skills. She knows that she needs education and experience as a performer to be the best violin teacher.