My teaching career spans over three decades. My teaching style can best be described as a synergy between Mimi Zweig’s approach, which stresses freedom and moving in relaxed and natural ways, and an approach which links body awareness and relaxation. I typically use the Suzuki and Mark O’Connor materials and methods combined with supplementary scales, etudes, and finger exercises.
Students are taught in a warm, supportive, and welcoming environment. I accept motivated students ages 10 and up no matter the level. I am first and foremost a technician. I enjoy problem solving. Therefore, I am a particularly good fit for the more serious school-age player, or an adult-learner who would like to learn to self-diagnose and solve day-to-day playing problems as they arise. I believe that it is crucial to empower students by carefully introducing one key point at a time. I have found that even when I have lots of information neatly organized in my head, my students may need multiple lessons to really understand and apply one point well.
You see, it’s like this:
As a teacher, I am up against a few fundamental challenges. The first is that playing violin is complex. Students must learn a set of sub-skills that comprise a proper basic foundation. Without these skills, no matter the students’ talent, she or he will not progress and playing will never be particularly satisfying.
The second is that student needs are individual. Each student brings different skills, understandings, abilities, and challenges.
Luckily, I have lots of ‘tools in my toolbox’ so I can flexibly respond to individual student needs.
I offer a free initial consultation/lesson. Be advised, I accept a limited number of students. If I do not have an opening at the time of your initial consultation, I can recommend other area violin or viola teachers. Or, if you prefer, I can place you or your loved one on a wait list.
My studies began in Chicago, at Northwestern University, with violists Robert Slaughter and Robert Swan. Then, I continued study with Chicago Symphony’s Principle violist, Milton Preves, until accepting a job with the Orquesta Symphonica de Xalapa, in Mexico. After a few years in Mexico, my education continued first in New York City at the Manhattan School of Music with imminent violist Paul Doktor and lastly, with Nobuko Imai, premier violist, currently teaching at Conservatoires in Amsterdam and Geneva.
The first decade of my career I was involved with orchestral performance, freelance work, and teaching. I had the pleasure of playing in orchestras, both large and small. As a contract player with the Chicago Symphony, I had the privilege of playing with some of the most talented musicians in the country. And, in the Chicago Chamber Orchestra, I played Assistant Principle Violist for over a decade while simultaneously maintaining a full roster of Suzuki violin students.
The next decade was spent in South Carolina where I was a founding board member for the Long Bay Symphony. I also was a founding member and violist in the Upton String Quartet—a state of South Carolina Arts Council approved ensemble. We enthusiastically toured the state introducing young people to classical music. And, in addition to these activities, I led a busy family life, taught a full roster of students, and played two seasons in Charleston Symphony.
I moved to Raleigh in 2009 and love it here. I am still passionate about violin and viola education. I believe that it is never too late to learn something new.
Come prove me right!!
Melody Heather Rike
- $250 monthly for weekly hour-long sessions
- $125 monthly for weekly half-hour sessions
Dear Mrs. Rike,
Your priceless gift of time to my granddaughter for the selection of her new violin was deeply appreciated….I still marvel that you hopped in the car and drove all that distance and spent all that time. You are a very generous and caring person. I also want to express my joy in seeing your relationship with her. She needs a person who so completely understands her personality. I believe that you will be an anchor for her across the years ahead. She is very lucky.
Thank you so very much.
From the grandparent of current student (April 2018)