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Everything posted by Toscha

  1. Theresa, As far as I know, there are three biographies of Arthur Rubinstein (I am somewhat puzzled by the spelling "Rubenstein" on this board). Two of them were written by himself called "My Young Years", and "My Many Years." The most recent one was written by Harvey Sachs. Where did you read about him practicing 8 hours? I have heard about it too, but I do not recall its origin. Anyway, back to the topic of practicing 5 hours. If one has not practiced that much before, I would certainly not recommend practicing that much out of nowhere. Increase the practice time gradually. In my case, I started violin relatively late, I had to do a major "catch up" during first two summers of my undergraduate years. I probably practiced up to 5 hours a day, but took short breaks (10~20 minutes) every time my attention span began to flicker. I used to practice all (12 major and 36 minor: natural, harmonic and melodic) scales, and all the arpeggios. Some double stops (thirds, sixths, regular and fingered octaves, and sometimes tenths, if I felt up to it) from Sevcik book. Then etudes (no more than two at one time). Lunch break, and the pieces. Unfortunately, I don't have that kind of luxury now, since I have a day job and teach almost full-time at night. If one is short of time, sometimes it is good to change the order of practicing. Maybe practice the piece first, then scales and exercises. After all, what good would it be, if one just end up practicing scales and exercises without having time to practice the pieces? We have to have FUN! Happy Practicing!
  2. It is NOT too late at all, unless you want to become a next Perlman (I started at 14 and am currently playing professionally from time to time). Since you seem to be very eager to learn, you may progress quicker than a young beginner. One important thing. Be sure to find a teacher who is sympathetic, but makes you work hard. One good thing about starting at your age is that you will be much more aware of what is going on with your technique. Be objective about your own playing (but not too harsh either). Another thing. Listen to a lot of fine violin recordings. If you happened to find a violinist that captivates you, you can set a goal to sound like him/her (in my case, it was Fritz Kreisler). For finding an instrument, I would go to a violin store and consult the people there. If there is someone in the shop who can play violin very well, have him/her play a bunch of instruments and see which ones you like. Then you play a few notes on them and see which ones you like. If you find an instrument that you don't want to leave at the shop, you've found it! Good luck with your studies!
  3. I have one too, and I must have been born with it. My parents told me that I could identify not only a single note on the piano, but identify a whole scale (name a scale without looking at piano) when I was about 3 1/2 year old. And I can usually name the notes correctly even the sound is produced by a car honk or tea kettle, as long as the pitch is focused. Funny thing is that my "A" is tuned around 440. So every time we bought a new tape recorder that rotated slightly faster or slower (and you will not believe how sloppy they can be!)the tapes recorded on previous machines sounded slightly sharp or flat, which bothered me a lot. I also have trouble listening to "authentic performance" CDs with A tuned significantly lower than 440. To me, some of them just sound half step flat. Transpositions can be tricky for people with perfect pitch. To me, it is a nightmare. I have to literally reconstruct the whole piece in my head before playing a single note. Ugh! As far as detecting out-of-tune notes, I don't think having perfect pitch makes any difference at all, as long as one has a good relative pitch. I have met some violinists who have perfect pitch playing glaringly out-of-tune and did not seem to mind a single bit. I think having a perfect pitch can be useful in some occasion, but do not feel under-privilaged if one does not happened to have one. In fact, if one does a lot of vocal accompanying or arranging, it is sometimes better not to have one:-)
  4. I would study with Suzuki for a couple of years (judging from his book, he would intall a true love towards music--very important!) Then, I would go to Carl Flesch for technical polish up. Then I would go to George Enescu to do a musical "finish up." Among the ones living, it would be interesting to study with Ruggiero Ricci and Ivry Gitlis.
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