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About RS

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  1. As a teacher I'm always aware that the parents are paying me. Teachers should not be offended by a parent's desire to communicate about the student's progress. Sometimes the teacher does know better than the parent - for example, I've had parents want their children to be working on repertoire that is too difficult technically - but when it comes to expectations for practicing, and for what will be covered in the lesson, I think communication between parent and teacher is important. For my college students I keep my own notebook with a weekly writeup for each student, because at that age they should be taking their own notes on their assignments. But for my younger students I write in their notebooks, which I then peruse at the beginning of every lesson. Sometimes I even ask them to keep a practice log in the notebook, or to mark off how many times they have repeated a shift correctly, or how many minutes they have spent on vibrato exercises. I find they are much more likely to do it because they know I will monitor their compliance!
  2. I understand your predicament, as I also am a female concertmaster of a similar, although maybe slightly more professional, orchestra. Many years ago, when I was for the first time concertmaster of my conservatory orchestra, the conductor took me aside and blasted me for trying to be liked, rather than being a leader. He said I could not have it both ways - there would always be someone who would disrespect me, whether I tried the nice approach or acted the more assertive leader role. That was one of the the hardest, but best, lessons I ever learned. I hate to bring gender even into it, but it IS part of the problem - I doubt that a male concertmaster would be as likely to be challenged, by women or by other men. I personally loathe the term "concertmistress" - my gender has nothing to do with my mastery of my instrument. Every time we get a new manager of the orchestra I have to make sure that I am listed in the program as "concertmaster, " because they always think they are doing you a favor by making you a "mistress." (sounds way too much like "the other woman" -- someone who is assuming a role she has not earned.) I know not everyone feels as I do, but I personally think that women have to work harder to be respected in such a position. One way I combat the attitudes behind me is to be always superbly prepared. Usually even the most ornery section violinists will grudgingly come to respect me if I'm prepared, and if I treat them with courtesy and respect (that does not mean necessarily taking their suggestions!) I do try to make a point to say "great job tonight" or "our section rocked today!" I try to act as professional as possible, and that includes such things as walking on stage to give the A briskly and confidently, leading the standing up and sitting down with energy, standing tall, and always giving the conductor a firm handshake. Those things do add up. I'm not sure that I agree with the advice about taking them all to lunch. Maybe it would work, depending on the group. On the other hand it might make them feel even more familiar and free to offer their suggestions. But I think you have to expect that in a way "it's lonely at the top." It used to bother me a lot, but by not being defensive, by being well-prepared, and by asserting my leadership I have gotten to the point that the orchestra mostly respects me, and I am friends with most, but am not bothered any more by the ones that want to challenge me. Hope this helps - I know I'm a bit late to the discussion - just have been busy and haven't been on the board recently. Welcome to Maestronet, and please feel free to PM me.
  3. Anyone have an orchestra contract handy? We're going through contract negotiations, and the subject of maximum temperature, humidity, etc (for summer outdoor concerts) has come up. I'd be interested to know what restrictions other orchestras have in their contracts.
  4. Yes, it is intentional, and it not only does good things for the muscles, it also serves a musical purpose. The player who breathes with the phrases is creating a natural sense of timing - we try to breathe as a wind player would, or a singer. It's not necessary to be audible, any more than an oboist or a soprano needs to breath audibly.
  5. As a teacher, I feel really strongly that I should be able to play well and model good technique and musicianship for my students., and to that end I still practice and perform and record. Granted, I often may not sound great when I grab a violin to demonstrate something for a student - very often those are my first notes in a hectic day and I'm trying to prove a certain point rather than give a polished performance. But I'm not recording those impromptu demonstrations and putting them on the internet for all to see!
  6. RS

    fun video

    Don't think anyone's posted this before - apologies if so:
  7. The Tenebrae service is one of my favorites. I'm not playing for it this year, but one of my favorite things to play then is Biber's 10th Mystery Sonata - the scordatura is not so extreme, and it's a very powerful piece representing the crucifixion.
  8. RS


    Banzai, Sorry, sometimes you can't hear tone of voice on a message board. My "downright unethical" statement had a satirical tone, but you wouldn't know that without knowing me. I agree, taken seriously, "unethical" is too strong a term. But I still don't approve of locking up a violin and waiting for it to appreciate. And, no, I don't have the money for an "albatross." I was just surprised that all the discussion was about the investment side, and not about making fine instruments (of whatever period of time - I don't think I mentioned old Italian, although the conversation seems to always go there!) unavailable to be played. Jacob, Not sure what you mean by "preferably classical." Are you referring to a period of time, or an instrument suited for classical music as opposed to, say, fiddling?
  9. RS


    So how do you makers feel about the idea that someone might buy an instrument you just made to put it away and hope it will accrue value? Don't you make instruments to create an artistic voice? Isn't a violin in a closet like the proverbial tree falling in the forest with no one to hear it? Yes, sometimes good things come out of bad - and players occasionally profit from finding a pristine, never-played instrument. But I'd wager there are many more players out there struggling to afford instruments in a market that is inflated partially because of the collectors who are just sitting on (figuratively speaking!) unplayed instruments. By the way, the Yale Collection of Musical Instruments has, or at least used to have, a 3/4 size Stradivari violin. There are probably other fractional sized instruments by great makers in other museums. I think that can be justified, because a Strad probably shouldn't be in the hands of a child.
  10. fiomattias, you wrote: Saltando is the same thing as sautille. The difference is that the former is Italian and the latter French. Saltando is NOT the same thing as sautille! Yes, one word is Italian, and one is French, but in bowing they refer to different things. Saltando is equivalent to ricochet, and is written with multiple notes under a slur, with staccato "dots." It may be multiple down bows followed by a "rebound" up bow (like the Lone Ranger theme, or the Bazzini) or it may be an arpeggiation, like the arpeggios before the return of the theme in the first mvt of Mendelssohn concerto, or like the first Paganini Caprice. The arm must be very relaxed, and the bow actually does leave the string. "Jete" ("thrown") would be the French equivalent of saltando, although occasionally I've seen it used to indicate bounced (spiccato.) Part of the problem with all of this is that composers who aren't string players will sometimes misuse the terms! You wrote: Detache is detached in that sense that you change bow. you interrupt the bow direction. Agreed. I think it means "detached" in the sense of "not slurred." Both detache and slurred are legato bowings, but detache is not as legato as slurred! Overall I agree with you. Think of it this way: legato and staccato are broad musical terms, used by every instrument. The others are string terms - different ways of achieving legato and staccato. There will be "subsets" of staccato, depending on which string technique - martele, spiccato, etc. - you use to achieve it.
  11. RS


    Speaking as a player who is looking at violin prices, I think it's downright unethical to buy a fine instrument for investment purposes rather than to be played!
  12. Although I'm not sure how much I trust Wikipedia, here's a list of Strads, extant and missing. Stradivari article w/list
  13. I take it everyone arguing for this tailpiece feels that the incremental improvement in sound is worth using a rain forest wood? Just curious. While I just have to play a pernambuco bow (sorry, I just can't get excited about composites, etc.), I'm probably not going to be buying any more pernambuco bows, and I guess, thinking globally, it's just not worth it to me to encourage more cutting down of pernambuco trees. It seems to me that a few minutes extra practice time a day might make more difference in my sound than a different tailpiece. Just my 2 cents...
  14. I really want to like Evah Pirazzis. During the week or two they sound good, they sound really good. But not only do they deaden in a big hurry, but I always had a week to 10 days of heavy surface noise before they finally broke in. No such problem with Visions Titanium, although they're not quite as interesting or complex a tone. After 3-4 sets of pricey EP's I learned my lesson. Hopefully they'll keep tinkering and come up with an improved version.
  15. I'd be inclined to think that's enough of the Elgar sound and go with a completely different type of piece. I'm assuming you have a good pianist and will have plenty of time to spend with him/her? Some possibilities: Stravinsky Suite Italienne, Shnittke Suite in Olden Style, Turina Sonata Espanola, Milhaud Sonata #2. All of those are a little lighter, a bit later chronologically, and quite accessible to the audience. And would, I think give you a balanced program. If you wanted to stay British, there are miniatures by Walton, Rebecca Clarke, and Frank Bridge. Just my 2 cents worth.