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Posts posted by DR. S

  1. Ah, A. Brown hit it on the head. All truly great chamber groups are peopled with musicians of solo caliber technique. A degree in chamber music is a gimmick used to get students to go here instead of there. Go to the school where you will learn to play your instrument the best and provides the best musical experience. All of us play chamber music, it was written for musicians.

  2. Victor Hugo once said something to this effect: "Music expresses that which cannot be put into words, but which cannot remain unsaid".

    Although this is absolutely unprovable I do believe music makes people better, as it expands the mind and provides fulfillment.

    If you think about it, music is one of the very few things that set us apart form the rest of the animal world - makes us humans - those part animal, part god-like entities.

  3. I think the technical aspects of getting a tone are well covered here. Once you have that down you need to get a FEEL for what pulling atone out of the intrument is like. The images that were taught to me I still use to this day and they are very effective for me. Try these or experiement until you come up with your own.

    1. The feel is like pulling taffy - a very smooth and even resistence to the movement of the bow. The resistence is caused by the friction between the bow and string. Do not over use rosin, stickiness is not what you are looking for.

    2. Visuallize the string as vibrating in a spinning motion (which it does). The trick is to enhance the spinning without interfering. The means you need to keep things moving evenly and use a finely refined touch in the bow hand.

    3. Use gravity rather than strength. Feel the arm and hand sink into the string through their weight.

    Experiment. No music, just you, your ears and your instrument. Tonalize, long whole bows, nothing fancy - you will eventually find the right combination of bow speed and pressure (weight) and develop that feel. Do it until you have found YOUR sound and it is habit. ALSO, NO FEAR!

  4. All my favorites are popular:

    Best Singers/voices

    Janis Siegel of the Manhattan Transfer

    Bette Midler

    Whitney Houston of the late 80's early 90's.

    Mandy P.

    Barbra S is overrated - very good voice and Broadway singer. When she sings the right stuff. I've herad her try to expand her repertoire and it never worked. Don't get me wrong, I love the bulk of her work.

    Siegel and Midler can sing anything any time any where.

  5. I see not patterns except a lot of individual as opposed to team sports.

    In my youth I swam, biked, kayaked, backpacking. Loved Footbal, but never played organized. As an adult - Weightlifting (started as a solution for viola-back - very beneficial), Rec Softball, lately my main sport is TaeKwonDo (Ji Do Kwan). Luckily my Do-Chang is owned by a true world class master 9th Dan Blackbelt, kind of like studying violin with a master artist teacher.

    Am I the only golfer - the true artform of all sports. The first one I learned and the last one I'll play.

  6. I would love to see someone like Patelson's figure out how to get on the web, but unfortunely, it is unlikely to happen soon, the logistics of creating and keeping up a database with the number of entries that a Patelson's would have is no small task. However, if they already are keeping inventory via computer, the they could link that database to a website. This would be great.

    I asked them once if they were planning such a move, and they said no.

  7. I agree with HKV. Way too much obsessing about strings goes on. When you are listening for it, yes you can hear a difference, but in a performance, no one else will notice or care, even you will adjust and not notice. Only with the rare exceptions where a specific type of string simply does not work on your instrument. There are so many strings out there I wouldn't even know where to begin. I've used Dominants for 25 years and have never seen any reason to change.

  8. Absolutely Menuhin in my mind. He was loved by his students and turned out many fine violinists, but man he has the market on bad recordings.

    As soon as I saw this thread I knew Oy-Oy or JFK or someone was going to attack HKV. I think there was a lead in for a good fun loving rib a HKV as he is always touting himself and none (or very few) of us have ever heard him. I think Huang can handle it though. I like Zucherman's viola playing too much to put him down, He also revived the SPCO, yeah, not as a violinist.

    I guess I just never heard too many people rave about him as a violinist, so I don't think he is overrated by definition.

  9. The Internationally recognized Youth Orchestra I played in for 7 years(Middle and High School)Had one audition, pre season, this resulted in seating for the season and was based on ability, (thoug I did get moved down one chair as a sophomore because the senior I beat threatend to quit. We learned our music because of pride and a very inspirational conductor.

    In School we had an initial seating and then had challenges with sectional reaudition at the directors discression.

    The Civic Orchestra I play in reauditions about every 2 years, but principles can be challenged by an orchetra member at the beginning of the season. In reality, string seating is very lax and informal.

    I have found that the more advanced and professional the group, the less that seating is based on ability and the more it is based on contacts and politics.

    I'm not against competition, but I don't knwo about reauditioning for each concert, this seems like a kind of cold hearted way to get kids to practive and lessens the love of music and fun of being in an orchestra. Too bad the Orchestra leaders don't feel that they can inspire the kids to practive without the threat of loosing ones position. On the other hand, these kids will learn to audition.

  10. Best friend started at 8 with his father, lots of music in that house. While there, heard a record of Heifetz playing the Mendelsohn and asked my parents if I could play, started in school at age 9 (4th Grade), agreed to switch to viola (whatever that was) in 5th grade to fill out school ensemble. Started lessons in 6th grade. Studied piano for about 3 years starting at about 15. Studied Viola formally through 4 years of college. Many years ago.

  11. Just like anything else in life from now until the day you die - networking (the in vogue term for it). I do not know where you are from and what kind of population of musicians you have available, but every time you meet trained musician, as a part of the converstaion ask them who they studied with and where they went to school. In fact this sight might even be able to offer you leads.

    I got into music school by playing for the teacher I wanted to study with first. Keep your eye open for touring quartets - many quartets are supported by universities and teach and would be happy to hear you. Remember, the schools need students as much as students need teachers.

    The more people who you meet the better your chances. I was standing in line in a bank in NYC with my viola on my shoulder and met an agent who eventually offered me an opportunity to study with Henryk Szering (sp?)for a summer. Being young, stupid, and poor, I passed it up without really even trying to see if I could swing it.

    Most teachers, even the artist teachers feel complimented when someone goes to some trouble to show interest in studying with them.

  12. Vibrato is a sound enhancer. It can add color and shades of emotion or intensity. A well rounded musician can produce anything from a fast tight to a slow wide vibrato and can use all as an artist uses paints from their palette. I practice playing baroque music in all styles form a san vibrato baroque style to a Heifetz era lush romantic style (both are musically valid and worth listening to).

    Usually when a good judge or teacher comments on not vibrating on every note, they are concerned that the vibrato is stopped for technical reasons rather than musical reasons. In other words deciding not to vibrate ona certain note because it is hard to do is not an acceptable reason, and usually affects an uneven or spotty result.

    There is a lot of personal choice in what kind of vibrato to use, but many times it is driven greatly by the music. A racous rondo would not sound right with a slow wide vibrato.

    Another subject that was brought up - Baroque. I am no expert, but I thought that vibrato was used only as an ornament, but none of the baroque players I have heard, even on recordings, can seem to bring themselves to actually play without vibrato, so they end up with this apologetic, very slow wimpy wobble that sounds like a sick cat. What's going on with this?

    And one other thing, what is the deal with playing Mozart and Beethoven piano concertos on period instruments. Sounds like they were played on my Grandma's spinnet. I can't listen to it. I'd bet it all that both composers would flip with joy if they could hear a modern Steinway.

  13. Day 5 update, shoulder restless on my viola. I'm quite sure that I will not go back for solo work, but may use it for orchestra and gigging as it is more stable and a bit less tiring with the rest. But I really like the feel of the instrument integrating with my body without it. I had used one unquestioned for at least 25 years.

  14. USA, but mother is first generation Italian, Father half German Jew, other half goes back to about 1640, even have a relative who participated in the Boston Tea Party and served through the entire Revolutinary War and was an artillary commander at Yorktown.

    Digi - Your age, was I, when Star Wars first appeared. Old am I. Okay not that old, but still a kid at heart.

    [This message has been edited by DR. S (edited 08-11-2000).]

  15. Viola: 1965 Theo Glaesel, Marneukirchen Germany. Quite and enigma - should be s student quality instrument, but I could no find a better modern instrument- in fact only ever played one that I prefered - a Gaspar, and it didn't sound better, but was much easier to play. Bow - a 1981 Frank V. Henderson that I commissioned.

    Violin: An old no name with a sweet, dark, small tone is my second instrument. My primary is a 1981 Walt Senkow (Dallas), psuedo-Guarneri del Jesu copy. Responsive, projects well, and extremely even in sound all the way up and down the register.

  16. We have all had them Jennifer. When this happens to me, I slow down. I tonalize and then just work some very fundamental basics. Slow scales, basic shifting exercises, anything to refocus (after all it's 99% mental anyway). Sometimes it might even mean you need a day off.

    Hope it goes better tomorrow.

    [This message has been edited by DR. S (edited 08-11-2000).]

  17. First do some simple tension relaxation exercises away from the violin - tense the hand tightly, then relax it completely - I know this sounds elementary, but many people do not really know how to deeply relax muscles. This will give you the feeling of relaxing muscles and how to make it happen (its also good for the entire body, tensing and relaxing the various muscle groups). Then practice Schradieck, stopping and relaxing the hand whenever it gets tight. It really takes very little pressure to stop a string, but you do want to pop them down with a bit of velocity (careful, no tension, and do not press them into the string)

  18. This is a typical occurance in every skilled endeavor. Some days your 'on' and other days your off and most days your soemwhere in the middle. There's nothing more fun than going to a gig when everythings clicking and nailing everything put in front of you.

    It's Bio-rythms Man! cool.gif