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A. Brown

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  1. I'm probably going to be sorry I have posted this, but the "gossip" about viola teachers at Oberlin is being held tightly. What I have heard is that there is an ongoing series of masterclasses on to "audition" viola possibilities. Gossip about people being considered for the violin position is much more open and ongoing, but not for viola. There must be political issues at stake. I have seen how hiring plays out in other college music departments. Who is hired depends partly who is doing the interviewing and hiring--will they hire somebody good who might make THEM look less good? Are they hiring their friend or relative? Have they already decided who to hire and are just going through the formalities to meet some rule or law before they take somebody out of their pocket? Quite likely the existing faculty don't all get along with each other, and there will be factions affecting the final choice. And in the end there is money. Northwestern, by contrast, has advertised for months and months that they have the Roland and Almita Vamos on their faculty next year. From the students' points of view, an important question also to ask is whether or not an teacher prospect plants to spend much time in Oberlin teaching, or whether that person will be out-of-town a lot fulfilling engagements. It's like hermit crabs playing musical chairs, looking for that perfect shell to cover their tender backsides. Probably nobody wants to leave one job before they have another elsewhere. AB
  2. Mustang is a good case. There were some quality-control issues with our violin case, but Shar resolved them gracefully. One thing to consider: the binding on the cover. On our Mustang, it's nylon fabric, and it wore through. Leather binding would be sturdier, but I don't know which cases have it. The Bobolock cases have a good reputation too. Consider this: if you plan on going on an airplane, don't choose the biggest case you can find. Choose the smallest without sacrificing protection, because the airlines can be stubborn about "getting on your case" if they think it's too bulky. Most of the time it won't matter, but when it does . . . they can prevent you from keeping the violin and case with you. AB [This message has been edited by A. Brown (edited 02-23-2001).]
  3. Terrific new! As I remember, the waiting drags out . . . but the entrance offers make one feel great! Somehow, it is very settling to feel that there is SOMEWHERE that they can roost. AB
  4. My daughter is in her second year at Oberlin Conservatory. (She was accepted at Peabody, CIM, and Manhattan.) And the practice rooms DO have windows. She describes Oberlin as having an intense musical atmosphere with good support for practicing and study; there are available the resources of the other parts of the college. Conservatory students make up only about a fifth of the student population. There are plenty of interesting people with widely divergent interests, knowledge, and backgrounds. I would count the small-town atmosphere as a plus rather than a minus. Cleveland is only 35 miles away if one has to have a big city, and the college invites outside artists and ensembles throughout the year. There is also the Oberlin tradition of community and service. At the same time there is the hot-house music, there is opportunity for wider interests. And a chance for some kids to grow up a little less abruptly, with attention to the whole person they are. AB
  5. You can safely ditch calculus and science your senior year. AB
  6. And then there's always the possibility there's a rattlesnake rattle inside.
  7. Easy web search! (Do you have metacrawler?) http://www.contrabass.com/pages/heckel.html http://idrs.colorado.edu/Publications/Jour...eckelphone.html http://jdb.psu.edu/music/heckelph.html [This message has been edited by A. Brown (edited 01-12-2001).]
  8. I've seen a Tubbs from early in the 1800's, and the wood was lovingly and smoothly indented and worn away on the stick in front of and across the frog, the work of years and years of playing. It was a good, useful bow, somewhat out of style for now but with quite a clear sound. AB
  9. Here is Theresa's post: http://fingerboard.maestronet.com/ubb/Foru...TML/004423.html
  10. Just for balance, also consider that there may be a stain applied to your fingerboard, ebony or not. A lot of ebony is not dark black and will have a black stain of some sort given it. This can get on your fingertips. My daughter's fine viola was purposely made with a black-stained lighter-weight wood than ebony on the fingerboard in order to help the comfort of the player, and it slightly blackened her fingertips. Dark black ebony is expensive and becoming harder to get. The brown ebony isn't necessarily inferior. AB
  11. Violagoddess, I have experienced some poor situations relative to my kids' instruments at school. I hate to say it, but sometimes you can work really hard, talk to lots of people, make deals, and your instrument will STILL get messed with. My son played cello for a while. There was a bloom in the cellist supply, and in 7th grade there weren't enough school cellos to go around. There was a problem taking his regular cello on the school bus, so I bought a nice plywood cello and bow for him to use at school. Throughout the two years at that school there were problems with other students using his cello. When they didn't use the cello, they kept taking the bow because it was nice compared to the school fiberglass clubs. Strings were broken. Scars appeared. Sometimes they didn't even put the cello back into its soft case. No matter how many times we both complained, this stuff still happened. When I took the cello home for the year I neglected to check the bow, and three months later found it was the wrong bow. I went back to the school to try to get our bow and was told there was no way I could prove it; I told them it was marked with green paint under the frog and we found it. This whole dance was very unsatisfactory in spite of the friendly attitude of the school. In HS, his electric bass was gotten out by another student and quite damaged. He couldn't find out who. He has taken up clarinet, and his reeds have been taken, his mouthpiece damaged, his mouthpiece guard stolen. My daughter didn't like playing anything but her good instruments after she got them. Leaving them anywhere--orchestra or locker or office--was totally out of the question. In both Jr. High and HS she kept her violin and viola cases (not both at once!) with her throughout the day through all her classes. Basically, although nobody ought to use your viola, you will find it hard to keep them out. Sorry, but good luck anyway. A. B.
  12. K-do you have the economic problem covered for the moment? Some friends of mine taught part-time at community colleges to fill their purses and to keep their minds alive. The work was difficult, the benefits absymal, but they gained a great deal of satisfaction as well as rent money. And they didn't have to make a long committment to the job. (I don't mean teaching music, I'm talking about teaching sciences.) If you feel a connection with younger students, private schools often do not require education certification and often hire interesting and capable people as teachers. In a private school, you might even do duty in several fields--in science and in music and in PE??? Sincerely, A. B. [This message has been edited by A. Brown (edited 01-05-2001).]
  13. Fairfax L. Abraham III Marshall, Arkansas He's got hot hands. A. B. [This message has been edited by A. Brown (edited 01-04-2001).]
  14. Oberlin Conservatory has a full complement of Macs for its students. AB
  15. Fiddlefaddle, I'm feeling that the 5th (dominant) note of a scale would be more harmonically comfortable as a drone than would the 1st (tonic.) I think droning on a tonic would always conflict with the ti and the re of the V chord, which in broken form commonly surrounds the do in a melody. Sol fits everything but la because fa is in the seventh chord on V. We could certainly have a discussion on whether the tonic or the dominant is a more important note in a composition! I vote for the dominant, because without it the tonic is not defined. Respectfully, AB
  16. I think the question is meant in a simple way. Here is a simple answer that works for most written pieces of music: In tonal music,the key will be indicated by the last note of the piece in the lowest or bass part. Decide in advance with your ear whether the piece is major or minor. If you are looking at a short piece, this is easy. If you are trying to identify the key of a piece with several movements, look at the last and lowest note in the first movement to determine the key. Decide on major or minor by considering the sound of the first theme in the first movement. Other themes and middle movements may be in just about any key. Final movements are often in the same or relative key as the first movement but not always. There are many exceptions, especially as the Romantic period progressed. Here are two examples. Beethoven's 5th Symphony is considered to be in C Minor, but the fourth (final) movement is mostly in C Major and ends resoundingly in C Major. Beethoven's 3rd Symphony is considered to be in Eb Major, and both the first movement and the last movement begin and end in this key. AB [This message has been edited by A. Brown (edited 01-02-2001).]
  17. Try the "Sports Medicine" clinics because they are activity-oriented.
  18. Why don't you ask about the Canon at Soundpost Online? http://www.forumboard.net/1761/ A. Brown
  19. I SECOND this opinion of the Raphael Ensemble on the Brahms' Sextets. It's my bestest most favoritest recording. A. Brown
  20. Merry Christmas from Ann Brown [This message has been edited by A. Brown (edited 12-24-2000).]
  21. And I learned from adean that a $100 bill works even better. AB
  22. Toasty, how do you know the cheap instruments are made with care and kindness? People can buy any price violin they want regardless of their experience or anyone else's advice. It depends only on the money purse, and how one decides to allocate resources. Do any of the violin teachers here believe that one must wait years before getting a "decent sound?" Or to count? I don't believe this. My experience in both (on another instrument) is that good teaching and good equipment work together to reward one quickly with good tone. Counting can be taught. Yes toasty, you have your own personal standards and experience and opinions about classical versus fiddlin', but four years for "even the basic sounds" sounds too long. Well, maybe that would be so were the instrument a piece of junk. An experienced violinist CAN take great sounds from these "silly-looking and bad-sounding" instruments. It is because they have already developed a mental concept of the sound possibilities. But players don't always want to work so desperately to get it when a different instrument provides it freely and willingly, allowing them to concentrate on something other than the mechanics. They like instruments that GIVE sounds, not require TAKING them. Toasty, I like and respect you for hearing with more than just your ears--I like this: "In fact to my ears a complete beginner on such a little fiddle is infinitely nicer than a smooth expert at 20 or 30 years. Innocence and beauty and all that." Sincerely, A. Brown [This message has been edited by A. Brown (edited 12-19-2000).]
  23. Look around here too. http://www.mjq.net/brahms/JBlist.htm AB
  24. Everything you want to know about this piece is right at your fingertip! Take a look: http://members.aol.com/eusebius7/geist.htm http://members.aol.com/abelard2/marian.htm AB
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