Forte Music Studios
"Lessons for All ~ Learn to Play"
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THANK YOU for visiting Forte Music Studios online! We strive to provide a positive environment where "Lessons for All ~ Learn to Play" is more than a casual phrase. Music at Forte is taught by expert, professional instructors to students of all ages who learn through both study and performance. (Click on the Instructors link above.)

FORTE is located in "The House on the Corner at the Crossroads of Music" where Route 3 and Highway 1 meet in Fredericksburg. We are open regularly from 3:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m., Monday through Thursday. Our phone number is 540-899-6787 (540-899-OPUS).  We cordially invite you to stop by and see what we do! 

OUR GOAL is to share our knowledge and love of music with each student in an individual setting. At Forte Music Studios our experienced and enthusiastic instructors teach bass, cello, Chapman stick, clarinet, drum, flute, French horn, guitar, music theory, oboe, piano, recorder, saxophone, trombone, trumpet, tuba, viola, violin and voice lessons.  Whether you have a musical background -- or have never before taken a music lesson -- there is a place for you at Forte.  

"Dude, it's time you
learned how to play
that thing. You need
to call Forte."
"Hey Dude, you don't sound so good today."  ... "I'm not good, man. The word's getting around that Forte plans to boot me off this website." ... "Even after you wrote that country song about your poor old grandma and all her ailments?" ... "Yeah, those Forte folks obviously have no grasp of musical genius!" ... "Hmmm."   (to be continued)

    " The House on the Corner ...
  ... At the Crossroads of Music"

    Where Route 3 Meets Highway 1 in Fredericksburg

    540-899-OPUS     (540-899-6787)


THE POPULAR "ROCK FOR STRINGS" class, led by nationally acclaimed bassist Brittany Frompovich, is underway this fall. Classes are held at Forte Music Studios on Monday evenings at 7:30.

"When people think of orchestral music, they usually don't associate it with Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, The Who or Metallica," says Ms. Frompovich. "Thanks to the influence of artists like the Hampton String Quartet, the Piano Guys, and Apocalyptica, plus the increased visibility of these artists via You Tube, more and more string students want to explore alternative genres on their instruments. 'Rock for Strings' is for students of all ages who want to explore jazz, rock, and improvisation on an orchestral string instrument in an ensemble environment."

Students have the opportunity to learn aspects of orchestration and arranging, as well as select from rock tunes already arranged for orchestra to perform in the group. Participants study how to use electric string instruments, the use of effects, setting up a pedal board and amplification. The semester also features performance opportunities.

Before Ms. Frompovich began her "Rock for Strings" sessions, she "tested" a class during the Rappahannock Musicians Summer Camp, and 30 students signed up. The class was so successful that a session was scheduled last winter at Forte, where 15 students of all ages and skill levels formed a rock string orchestra. From there, the "Rock for Strings" class continued because of its popularity.

Students with stringed instruments (including electric) -- violin, viola, cello, double bass -- are encouraged to contact Ms. Frompovich regarding upcoming "Rock for Strings" sessions.

For more information about "Rock for Strings" -- or to register -- you may call Forte at 540-899-6787 or email Brittany Frompovich directly at  Click here to see a newspaper story about the class that appeared in the Culpepper Times, written by Lenora Kruk-Mullanaphy. 

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BRIGHT BEGINNINGS MUSIC TOGETHER -- music and movement classes for infants, toddlers and preschoolers -- offers the opportunity to sing, dance, play and have fun with your child in an informal environment. Classes are offered four times each week in Fredericksburg at Forte Music Studios, with one additional weekly class in King George and another in Stafford County.

Weekly, 45-minute classes include songs, rhythmic rhymes, movement, and instrument play. These activities are presented as informal, non-performance-oriented musical experiences – developmentally appropriate for children (ages 0-5) and easy for parents and caregivers – regardless of their own musical ability.
Robyn Bauer, Center Director, has enjoyed teaching Music Together® since 2008 and started Bright Beginnings in 2013. She was a Suzuki violin student starting at age six, and also teaches the Suzuki method professionally. She performs regularly in several different orchestras and ensembles in the Fredericksburg area and works as a freelance violin soloist. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Music from James Madison University, and has also taught Elementary School music and worked at a local radio station. In addition to the violin, Robyn loves to sing and play the guitar, piano, ukelele, blades of grass, and any other instrument she can get into her hands!

Fall semester classes meet for ten weeks -- September 29 to December 13 -- with no classes during Thanksgiving week. Classes at Forte Music Studios are scheduled for Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.  Classes are also scheduled on Thursdays in King George and on Fridays in Stafford County. For more information about Bright Beginnings Music Together, you may call Robyn Bauer at 540-315-1039 or email her at: For a link to the Bright Beginnings Music Together website (, click here. Winter semester classes will begin Monday, January 5.


EARLIER THIS YEAR CAROL JENSEN began greeting students and visitors with a warm and friendly smile at the Forte front desk two days each week. Carol was born in West Virginia, grew up mostly in Delaware, and has lived in Virginia since 1990. She retired in 2010 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, having worked 30 years for ASCS (Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service) in West Virginia, Virginia and Washington, D.C.  Carol has two daughters, two granddaughters and two grandsons. She and her husband, who also retired in 2010, live in Hartwood with their two dogs. We are very happy to welcome her to Forte!                                      
"GRADUATING SENIORS ~ A MUSICAL SHOWCASE" was presented by Forte Music Studios on Sunday, May 4, at 2:30 p.m. at Peace United Methodist Church in Fredericksburg. The program featured solo selections by several Forte students who are graduating from high school this year, plus presentations by the Virginia Cello Ensemble. "We also recognized Matthew Zisi as this year's recipient of the Christine D. Hartigan Senior Scholarship," said Young Devereaux, Forte instructor/owner. Matthew is a home school graduate who will attend the University of Oklahoma at Norman.  Ms. Hartigan, for whom the scholarship is named, founded Forte Music Studios in 2005 and continues as a Forte cello instructor and director of the Virginia Cello Ensembles.  

The program was followed by an informal reception with light refreshments and an opportunity to greet the performers.  "All the performers worked very hard to prepare for this occasion," added Devereaux. In addition to Matthew Zisi, other graduating performers were: Dylan Cloyd, a cellist who is graduating from Colonial Forge High School and will attend Virginia Commonwealth University; Tatiana DeRieux, a flutist and home school student who plans to attend Old Dominion University; Mary Engbert, a pianist and home school student who will attend Christendom College; and Madeline Southall, a cellist who is graduating from Fredericksburg Christian School and plans to attend Liberty University.  At Forte, Madeline and Dylan are students of Christine Hartigan, Tatiana is a student of Tina Christie, Mary is a student of Wesley Hockaday, and Matthew is a student of Ron Barricklow.

THE NEXT Forte Music Studios student recital, "Fifty Minutes of Forte Music," will be held at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, February 15, at Peace Methodist Church. Mark your calendar now!
Pictured at left, following the Forte Music Studios recital program at Peace Methodist Church on May 4, are graduating seniors (standing from left) Madeline Southall, Tatiana DeRieux, Dylan Cloyd, Matthow Zisi and (seated) Mary Engbert. Shown above are Matthew Zisi (right) and his Forte Music Studios violin/viola instructor Ron Barricklow, who is also Orchestra Director at Brook Point High School and Stafford Middle School in Stafford County.  For more recital pictures, see the Calendar/Pix page on this website.
MATTHEW ZISI, recipient of the "Christine D. Hartigan Forte Music Scholarship" for 2014, will enroll this fall at the University of Oklahoma in Norman. He plans to major in music (piano performance) and political science. Matthew grew up in Rockville, Maryland, and moved with his family to Fredericksburg in 2005. He is a home school student and has studied piano since the age of four.  He began violin lessons at Forte in early 2010 and added viola last year. Ron Barricklow has been his instructor for almost four years. Matthew has performed with the Fredericksburg Area Young Musicians, the Forte Youth Symphony Orchestra and the Rappahannock Pops.  He also serves as pianist at Bethel Reformed Presbyterian Church. In 2012, Matthew won the Mary Smart Competition for piano students from throughout Virginia. About two years ago, Matthew began composing music, and he finished second this year in the Virginia Federation of Music Clubs Junior Composers' Contest. Two of his compositions were performed during the May 4 Forte recital. Matthew is the son of Christopher and Jeanine Zisi. His sister Victoria will be a tenth-grade student next year.

When asked about his lifelong interest in music, Matthew responded: "I plan to study music in college because I love it so much. I'm not exactly sure if I can put the reason into words. Perhaps the best way to understand this is to listen to a piece by a great composer, such as Chopin, or Beethoven, or Tchaikovsky. You may not be able to say exactly what you like about the music you hear. But you will enjoy it, nonetheless. The only way to truly understand what is so great about music is to listen to it."  But in addition to his passion for music, Matthew is interested in government and politics. He enjoys watching various sports, and he is the author of six mystery books that are available for purchase on


VIOLA FOR SALE: Beautiful 2007 12" Frederick A. Strobel Viola, case and shoulder rest in excellent condition. Was well taken care of and is ready for a new owner. We are asking $275. Please contact Kelly at 540-604-0942.

CELLO FOR SALE: Beautiful 4/4 cello, purchased in 2005 from and maintained by Jan Hampton Violins. Used for school, and daughter is now done with her instrument. Excellent condition. $650. Contact Carol at 540-207-2805. Email:

VIOLIN FOR SALE: 4/4 violin, case and accessories in excellent condition. Used for school, and son is done with it. $475. Contact Carol at 540-207-2805. Email:

CELLO FOR SALE: Frederick Strobel 3/4 cello. 2011 Model K36. $800 obo. Very good condition. Played by student in private lessons, cello ensemble and school concerts for almost three years. Has Thomastik Dominant strings. With bow, Heritage mobile lightweight wheeled case and a soft-sided/padded cello case. Purchased new locally. Call Pam at 540-841-3625. Email:

VIOLIN FOR SALE:  A student has moved from violin to flute, and the family would like to sell a one-half size violin that was made by Scott Cao Violins and purchased from Kapeller Violins in Richmond about two years ago. The violin was well taken care of and is in great shape, with an asking price of $500.  The contact phone number is 540-899-6351. Email:

BASS FOR SALE:  A family has a one-half size bass -- gently used and with no observed marks or imperfections in the finish -- for sale. It is a Meisel Mozart Model 8700, serial # 812241. The violin was bought in 2008 for $1,600 and the firm asking price is $1,000, which includes the German bow, soft case and rosin. If interested, please call 540-846-4529.

IF YOU HAVE an instrument that you would like us to list on the Forte website, please use the form on the Contact Us page to tell us about it. Be sure to include a brief description, plus whatever contact information you would like us to use. Thank you.

UPCOMING EVENTS and activities are regularly added to the Forte Calendar. For details, check the Calendar page on this website.
A NEW SERVICE FOR STUDENTS OF VIOLIN and other stringed instruments has started at Forte on a monthly basis. Adam Birce, owner/operator of Four Strings Violin Shop in Richmond, will be available the second Saturday of each month from approximately 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. for routine adjustments and inspections of bowed string instruments.

Mr. Birce will also take bow rehairs and other necessary repair work to Richmond and bring it back the following month. 

A graduate of the School of Music at Virginia Commonwealth University, Mr. Birce took additional instruction in violin repair and restoration at the University of New Hampshire. He may be contacted by phone at 804-873-0247 or email at: Click here for a link to the Four Strings website.
LANE DRUM, highly respected and popular Forte guitar instructor -- in cooperation with Rappahannock Big Brothers Big Sisters of Fredericksburg -- is teaching guitar lessons to several young people once monthly at Forte. Roberson's Music and Forte Music Studios are assisting Mr. Drum by providing guitars for the students to use. "We are very proud of Lane Drum for volunteering his time and energy to this program," said Young Devereaux, Forte instructor-owner, "and we are pleased to partner with Roberson's in supporting what Lane is doing to enhance musical opportunities for youth in our community." The photographs below were taken during the first Big Brothers Big Sisters guitar class at Forte in January.
THE VIRGINIA CELLO ENSEMBLES (VCE) are led by noted cellist and Forte founder Christine Hartigan. VCE participation is open to all cellists with two or more years of playing experience.

VCE rehearsals take place on selected Sunday afternoons in the lower level ensemble room at Forte Music Studios from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. The VCE presented a pre-concert performance on October 25, prior to the Rappahannock Pops Orchestra's "Best of the Pops" program at Grace Church Center for the Arts in Fredericksburg. 

For information about future VCE opportunities, you may contact Ms. Hartigan by phone at Forte Music Studios (540-899-6787) or by email at:
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 16, FEATURED TWO FORTE EVENTS:  "Fifty Minutes of Forte Music" -- including performances by several Forte Music Studios students and by the Forte "Rock for Strings" Ensemble -- was held at Peace United Methodist Church in Fredericksburg. "The program included performances by students of different ages on a variety of instruments," said Young Devereaux, Forte instructor-owner. "An enthusiastic audience joined us for this entertaining afternoon of music by these talented musicians." The next "Fifty Minutes of Forte Music" program will be held on Sunday, February 15, at 2:30 p.m. at Peace Methodist Church. More information will be posted later on this website. 

Individual students who performed on November 16 are (left photo, standing, from left): Kate Mansfield, Xavier Priest, Phoebe Somohano, Caroline Jenkins, Dorian Priest and Chloe Somohano. Also performing were (seated, from left): Ava Young and Alice Hymer.  Members of the Forte "Rock for Strings" Ensemble, led by Brittany Frompovich (standing, far left) are shown in the photo on the right.

LATER SUNDAY AFTERNOON the Virginia Bass Forum presented a clinic with bass artist Chris Welborn in the lower level ensemble room at Forte Music Studios. 

Welborn covered techniques and ideas for creating metal bass lines with an emphasis on the use of extended-range bass. He was joined by members of his original metal band, Service of Shadows, who helped demonstrate his concepts in an actual band setting. Clinic participants were encouraged to bring their bass guitars to the event.
Lessons will be held as scheduled tonight, Tuesday, January 27, unless your teacher has specifically informed you otherwise.  Thank you!