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Everything posted by technique_doc

  1. Yojimbo, Surprisingly, my best pupil (sight-reader) is a Hong Kong boy who is on the school fencing team - how wierd is that!?
  2. Stephen, firstly hello again to you (I've been away) and I trust things are AOK in the 'big smoke'. I went looking at some instruments yesterday with a friend trying to get a good orchestral seat. The answer we keep returning to is a violin that is mellow but has power. I had a modern Italian - It sounded massive but I hated playing or practising on it. I now have a very mellow but quiet instrument which I play constantly. Every audition on the pedrazzini got me a trial or freelance work. Every audition on the W.E.Hill got me nowhere at all. She wants to stand above the rest at audition which means a bright tone with power. Mellow tone with power costs the £££££ most. If she has 50K she'll get one. But she'll need to find the best for the money and charm the panel with her excellent playing instead! I realise this doesn't answer your question but for a violin to be classed as a quality instrument it must match your expectation of what a violin should do. To you or I it must be able to sing easily, make a pleasing tone regardless of the variations in tonal effect (other than purposefully harsh...) and be able to withstand 'big' playing in the often weak areas (high on G, up the A etc.) Then it needs to match the task i.e. I don't particularly need a soloistic instrument very often whereas you probably do. Trouble is all these things are relative - I thought Ford motor cars were reliable until I discovered Toyota.-but which has more soul/style?
  3. You did the right thing to confess - but hey everyone does it. I used to practise in the lift shaft at the royal college of music. My teacher had banned me from playing Brahms concerto - one afternoon (when he wasn't expected to teach) he climbed out the lift to witness me playing to all of south kensington (with the windows open). He wasn't happy! Later in the bar I heard a first year asking who was playing Brahms - it was another pupil of my teacher. I kept my mouth shut just in case he thought it was rubbish.
  4. It's a hard one to call. I'm usually scanning a bar or two in front as well as concentrating like mad on the notes as they go by. I can't really think exactly how I got like this but I guess years of practice - or a bit like driving a car - looking ahead but not forgetting the bit of road you're on.
  5. For those of you on the NSGSO course - well done to you all! I hear the Saturday concert was good - shame about Malcolm Arnold not turning up. I am finaly back from all my summer trips so will be hoping to hear from any of you. I really enjoyed my time and I thought the 1st Violins (all) were real stars. Thank you all for your enthusiasm and friendship - I hope I get asked back to coach again.
  6. Easy/Fun Pieces (Suzuki VI - VII ? maybe and upwards (I’m not a Suzuki teacher)) Hubay, Bolero Mlynarski, Mazurka in G Edmund Severn, Polish Dance A. Monti, Czardas Paradis-Dushkin, Sicilienne Moffat –Intrada Dvorak Sonatina Serious Pieces – more difficult Beethoven Sonata Op.12 no.1 – good starter Beethoven F Romance Mozart Sonata A major KV 293d (305) Mozart C Rondo Telemann Fantasias Vivaldi – Summer or Spring Bach Partita 3 (E major) Gigue Bach Sonata 2 (A minor) Allegro Or Bach C Sonata (C major) Allegro Assai Or Bach Partita 2 (D minor) Allemande Interesting Choices Accolay Concerto De Beriot – Scene de Ballet (lots of clever violin tricks) Prokovief unaccompanied sonata (D major?) Sarasate – Playera Svendsen – Romance Copland Hoe-Down Wieneiewski Obertass Mazurka/Legende John Williams – 3 pieces from Schindler’s list Smetena – Aus der Heimat Bartok – Romanian folk dances Bloch – Melodie Paganini Cantabile These are off the top of my head, none are really hard (notes not music!) and I can’t remember any of these being turned down by pupils. Any choices not popular I’ve left out!
  7. Laura Blue, Give me some idea of what you like that isn't baroque or name some smaller pieces you played before bach and vivaldi concertos. I have lots of complete listings from some top teachers (Britian and US) and one of my own. I bet I could find almost any style to suit ability and age that you'd love to play. If you can find them, the series 'solos for young violinists' compiled and edited by Barbara Barber (Summy Birchard inc) are excellent (and almost unused in Britain) The last few volumes (from 4-6) are a must have for any player. Good luck.
  8. One of the great pleasures I have in teaching is covering all the technical work with pupils that I either missed or was too pre-occupied to practise hard. All the really easy stuff (basic scales, simple studies, exercises) really helps you understand 'in your 'mind' and down to your fingers the mechanics of solid intonation. If a pupil is really struggling with something I often give them 2 or 3 weeks on the most simple book I can find. They are usually shocked at my suggestion but as the weeks go by and every study comes back perfect (much to their delight) we start to see real improvements. Find all your old technique books (or borrow off your teacher) and play some straightforward scales and arpeggios etc. and enjoy being fabulous at them! You are never to old or good to cover (revise) basics and when you can play whole books in a matter of weeks, take pleasure in seeing just how much you can do well.
  9. In response to Myguaneri I have the following thoughts. Everyone’s time is limited by daily life and controlled by short-term goals. I like to play all movements of piece these days (now I’m grown up and only have lessons before a recital or concerto). But my pupils are expected to rigorously follow their practice plan and this often leaves no time for investigating other movements. If they like a piece and want to continue with other movements, I often build this in to their routine provided the other movements are suitable. For example, pupils playing Bruch or Barber for the first time (not with a concert in mind) rarely get other than 1st and 2nd but in Wieniawski 2 I like to cover the whole thing. If you’ve finished you regular practice, then by all means play the other movements. Most Mozart Concertos you should consider doing the whole thing. If your teacher was cross because you hadn’t done much practise on the first movement, then I understand. If you worked hard, he shouldn’t mind. I like to have long-term pieces where I practise small bits from each movement planning for the whole thing maybe sometimes in advance. If you’re doing this (ie. Recitals or concertos) I would always recommend straight away covering all movements.
  10. I'm afraid I have to say yes. I don't know about a whole process/scheme but a little can go a long way. My teacher from 11-14 made me do 1 hr a day. I did it at six in the morning to avoid being discovered (the shame of it) but it worked wonders. ALL my pupils play Op.3 40 var. ALL play at least some of the double stop one and most serious pupils play the shifting 'till it gets them into good habits. It is very dull and not for pupils easily bored.
  11. Wieniewski no.2 - harder or Bruch - probably easier. Kabelevsky - definately easier Barber - last movmt hard Vieuxtemps 4/5 Saint-Saens - intro and rondo capriccioso Lalo - symphony espagnole Bloch - Baal Shem. Conus? They all have hard passages but if you can play Mendelssohn - any would be possible. Leave Mozart 5 until you've done 3 and 4. Beethoven may be playable in places but you have to have incredible skill to make it sound good. I wouldn't advise you try - it might dampen enthusiasm
  12. Yes and Yes. For example a 13 note run might be easier thought of 6 + 7 or (3 + 3 + 3 + 4) a 10 noter 4 + 6 - but don't get too carried away with exact groups - it will sound contrived. As for the Sarasate - it was originaly designed to check his fingering and intonation but it works I guess to clear things in your mind. I tend to split bowings on massive runs (opting for bottom or top notes (maybe open strings)). Also when accelerating it mostly needs to slow at the end but I know you realise that. I don't want anyone igniting their fingers!
  13. Nice one D A. Stephen beat me to a few ideas. Obviously sub-groups, accents, never try one bow to start with. You might like to think in terms of say 4 notes plus 5 plus 6 as long as you accelerate (otherwise no cadenza effect). Use the opens to really 'feel' the change of string. I've taken note - you guys are going to have me word processing for a good few months, Thanks. (The question came up on Monday with a student playing Ziguenerwiesen - he started by playing 4 notes and adding one at a time keeping the speed going but not feeling any rhythm as such - it was his idea (based on an old chestnut) and it sounded natural and efficient at the end - that's your aim.
  14. Yep, nearly everyone does this. Pressing above the nut doesn't always work but gently pulling the string to go down a minute bit will.
  15. 'playing sharp' in this instance means favouring the high side of notes. It isn't a technique (I suppose you would have to call it a fault) but the ear responds to each and every note as you go along and good players often would rather slightly high notes than low. Don't try it on purpose although pieces in major keys (G - D - A - E) will sound brighter with fractionally sharp tuning (especially on the third and seventh notes). Don't risk your intonation if you are playing nicely in tune and are beginning to add vibrato. Good luck
  16. Good call, I find it incredibly tedious also. Can the Pag-man suggest anything (something different) for some scale obsessed folk?
  17. I had a lesson on the arpeggione sonata - the teacher (quite famous) told me it sounded too wholesome and needed to be a bit more authentic - something that sounds worse than a Viola! (only kidding)
  18. The sitting question is a common problem. I personally advocate an exact copy of the standing principles that I use - ‘straight ahead’ square on to the stand (like sumo’s!) with the violin scroll just to the left of the music. If you’re standing in the centre of a clock the music stand is at 12 o’clock and the violin at 10-11 o’clock. (For solo playing the stand is ‘twisted’ at 45 degrees making my strings parallel to the front row or forward (scroll towards audience). If you’re playing with a stand to yourself this can be replicated exactly. In orchestra this suits the right side player perfectly(Although as you say, the instrument is turned away from the audience). The inside player will have to turn their chair quite a lot. You cannot look down the strings at the music – it can only lead to disaster when sitting. The boys tend to keep their legs apart to allow bowing on the E string at the tip. The girls can follow this but keep the instrument up and you’ll rarely have a problem. I like to sit back with scroll up (giving huge space for left arm) but on the front of the seat is best for your back. I have a student who says that in the most premier youth orchestras (where the best intermediate players are) all violinists are encouraged to sit on the front of the chair, with picture perfect spine angle. The legs of the player effectively balance out the front legs of the chair. Professionals (especially the girls) often like to use blocks on the rear legs to make the seat flat. In my studio ALL students have to play sitting now and again (often in a long lesson) and they get the piano stool. One last thing (as with solo playing) I believe you should favour the left side if at all – if you want to slide your right foot under the chair a bit it will drop the right knee for those nasty E string dilemmas!
  19. Thanks for the lead Stephen, have saved and will digest.
  20. Are there any players who like to read up on technique who feel that certain aspects of classical violin playing are not well covered. I am writing a book for intermediate players looking to improve their technique. Are there any interesting questions or topics currently under served in the mainstream literature? Please let me know or offer some technical points for general discussion.
  21. Crystal, I give my students Willy Wolf rests but 9/10 I reverse the screw holders upside down (on the shoulder side) creating less height. If this is too much, try a variety of cloths (chamois leather). If the problem then is lack of support from the chest you may need to get the violin more on the shoulder (which should be easy if you've played a long time without) and go for an old fashioned looking posture. (A centre chin rest helps with this also) Playonair might be OK or attaching the screw on a WOLF or KUN straight to the back of the rest - expert do-it-yourself stuff - don't use a new one!) Good luck.
  22. If you're still on the case racerex, I would suggest sticking to the idea of starting the movement backwards (flatter) first. Galamian is right (in my opinion) although the notes are not entirely useful for a beginner. Once the finger rebounds, if it passes the centre of the note, well OK - your ear will tell you. A really wide 'soloistic' vibrato would have to pass above the pitch to sound in tune - the player may actually be playing sharp to compensate for overly flat oscillations. Dorothy Delay said nearly all talented players played sharp anyway (including me - every class!) and if you do play sharp then any favouring of the flat side ('do not favour the dark side... Luke') will be good. TRUST YOUR EARS AND PRACTISE even away from the violin.
  23. Maestro Redrobe certainly has the right attitude. It does depend on how far a pupil wants to go and if you're passing them on to a teacher (say at a conservatoire) who will be unhappy with what they're doing. It's your duty to prepare them on an individual basis.
  24. re:an equal music. I loathed every page, as an ex RCM student living in the real world of genuine lessons and genuine quartet professionalism. The langauge may have been stunning but the mood and picture was one of ridiculous fantasy - guessing at what things might be like when those in the real life dramas experienced nothing of the sort. Read and enjoy but don't believe.
  25. I agree with the idea that not everything you have been taught that is then changed by your 'latest' teacher is necesarily wrong. There is a wide range of ideas but the variations worldwide are getting smaller. I had three main teachers (Czech then traditional English and then Russian/Israeli). All of them changed a great deal but essentially were after the same thing. Also, many of my students from reputable 'junior' teachers complain when I critise their bow hold for instance. When I ask what their previous teacher taught them and we discuss the various merits of the two differing points of view it is quite common for the two schools to be nearly identical, it's the student who has lost sight of the correct technique over time. Any more discussion points can be sent this way if you would like a european perspective.