If You Feel Like Smashing Your Violin...



Although there is a lot of focus on my experiences with my violin, viola and chamber music students, I also want very much to convey a fuller look at the arts, as a whole, and how important and valuable they are. All of us are capable of creating and contributing to a more sane and happy planet. You will read about my fun approaches in teaching my students and their responses and successes. The communication and interaction between teachers and students can be so meaningful and rewarding, no matter the subject. Often the arts are treated as secondary or “extra" activities in school. I personally feel they are vital and should be part of everyone's education.

Liesel Soley

Call Me In A Hurry - Book Cover

Praise For: If You Feel Like Smashing Your Violin...


Susan Robinson, former preschool teacher

“Not only does this book serve as a wonderful foundation for innovative techniques in teaching, but more importantly sets the stage to show the importance of the arts in cultivating fulfilling lives. Parents and teachers can look to Liesel Soley as a great teacher of skills and an inspiring teacher for the love of the arts.”

Jennifer Soley Gaden, grade-school and Natural-History Teacher

“My husband and I both were teachers—he was a college professor, and I taught elementary school and still teach adults. We both believed that three things were essential for superior teaching: a solid knowledge foundation, the ability to communicate clearly and enthusiasm. Liesel Soley is clearly endowed with each of these attributes, making her an exceptionally gifted teacher. One has only to recognize the achievements of her students and to observe the expressions on their faces—including Liesel’s—when they are music-making. Lucky is the violin student who crosses paths with Liesel Soley.”

Anne Miller, former second-grade teacher and teacher-librarian, Seattle, WA

“Lee Soley’s dedication and love for her students shine out from the pages of this book. Ms. Soley has a lot to teach about the motivating power of laughter and personal relationship when working with students of all ages. She is an inspiration.”

Chris Chen, associate professor of Management, University of South Florida

“As an educator myself, I always look for the unmistakable trait in great teachers: their passion for education. When I first met Ms. Soley, I knew I not only had found my six-year-old son, Benjamin, a teacher for music, but a teacher for life. A true educator will teach you something beyond skills and techniques. She will teach you patience, dedication, love, compassion and, most importantly, the courage to devote yourself. It is an honor to have Ms. Soley in my family’s life.”

Michael McCarthy, international star of Les Miserable

“Ms. Soley’s love for the arts and her students is apparent from the very beginning of this book, where she reminds us that everyone has ‘the ability to experience and create in the arts,’ to the end of the book, where she leaves us with her belief that ‘if one truly creates beauty and quality in what one does, and if this translates to others, then one is actively being an artist.’

“Ms. Soley’s life-long goal is to help students unravel themselves to others to find what is in his or her own world, build confidence and faith in their abilities and guide students in an inspiring—rather than complex and intellectual—journey. The many letters of appreciation and love from students and colleagues for helping them fulfill their dreams and reach their full creative potential show us Ms. Soley is truly fulfilling her life’s ambition and dream—to be an artist of life.”

Fred Ulrich, professor of English, University of South Florida, and Dorian Ulrich

“After our first encounter with Liesel, we knew that we had found that special person with whom we could entrust our son’s musical and artistic development. She showed, as we witnessed through her approach to teaching and now illuminated in this book, that her enthusiasm, dedication and patience was the cornerstone of advancing the progress of an artist.

“Liesel’s book reminds us of our son’s first lesson with her. We were pleasantly surprised by her focus on the instrument and the bow. In retrospect, why would it have been any different? Liesel explains that a solid foundation is necessary for communication to fully develop.

“The prevailing theme, which Liesel portrays through art—whether music, painting or illustrations—embellishes her ultimate thesis: everyone has the ability to create. While spending many hours in Liesel’s studio, as described in these chapters, we are immersed in art, not only by music and performance, but by her paintings and drawings. We not only were in the presence of art, but with an artist, too. By reading this book, future musicians and artists will be able to appreciate the importance of a complete education in the arts. Liesel Soley and her love of the arts is an inspiration to us all.”

Erin O’Brien, former elementary-school teacher

“As a former teacher, I find Liesel Soley’s latest work to be heartwarming, eye-opening, and fascinating. It makes me wish that I had kept little interesting stories of my students! Liesel Soley encapsulates the idea that, while the instrument(s) might stay the same, the students are always unique. Liesel Soley has a way of sharing her own stories in a way that leaves readers wanting more!”

Peter Stilton, fine artist and art educator

“I think the book shows a very dedicated and loving violinist’s approach to a lifetime of teaching students of many ages and backgrounds. It’s all one-on-one, soul inspired and simply and humbly offered.”


To my students who have contributed so much to others and to me, you have been such an important part of my life’s work and given me such joy and happiness and tons of laughter! Thank you! Also, to all of my wonderful and dedicated parent friends, who have helped make this all possible! Thank you!

Author's Note

I truly hope the adventures of my students and myself, and my approaches to teaching presented in this book, will be of value to other teachers and all who wish to create more meaningful lives through the arts.


Liesel Soley