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Student Spotlight: James Sandrock (1929-2022)


James “Jim” Sandrock studied mandolin and ukulele with Christopher Eck at Dynamic Music Studios in Coralville, Iowa. He died on June 6th, 2022. Jim is remembered fondly for his music, friendship, and generous spirit. The Student Spotlight questions are answered by his teacher.



Why did he decide to start lessons?

Jim decided to study mandolin while celebrating his 90th birthday, wanting to spend more energy in his life on enrichment and learning.


How long did he take lessons?

A little over 3 years


Did he play any other instruments?

After studying mandolin for some time, he picked up ukulele as well. He played guitar at some point in his life, but not actively. In his school band Jim played French horn.


How often did he practice?

Jim practiced every day! He followed an inspired routine, paying close attention to his goals and progress.


Favorite pieces to play?

“Lonesome Moonlight Waltz,” Bill Monroe

“Mandolin Concerto in C,” Antonio Vivaldi

He also loved playing duets along with his wife, Jean, on guitar. “Scarborough Fair” and “Greensleeves” were favorites of theirs.


What advice would he have for other musicians?

Just in the example of his habits: Jim studied the fundamentals of music theory so he could apply more knowledge to his playing. He liked to figure out how things work, and always came to lessons with questions. He had an open sense of wonder about music which made him highly appreciate and want to understand everything in the process. He wasn't afraid to try hard things, and knew that music takes dedication as well as inspiration.


**Jim and his wife Jean making music together.


What did we appreciate most about lessons?

Jim was a highly successful and celebrated master-teacher himself, so being his instructor was a special privilege. He was always very gracious in showing appreciation for our work together.


What did he like about Dynamic Music Studios?

We have a great, comfortable learning space in the Alice Studio at DMS. He generally wanted a quiet place to read while he waited for his turn, and found that easily. I think he most appreciated DMS because he knew it was a good business opportunity and support system for my teaching studio - he often showed caring encouragement to me and to many others.


What goals did he have for lessons?

Jim set ambitious technique goals, and worked steadily towards them. Though he sometimes struggled with the acute physical challenge of small instrument fingerboards with his older hands, it did not deter him. He was aware, humble, amused and good-natured about every aspect of his studies. He enjoyed the process of learning simply because of his love for music and life.

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