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Hypothetical question......


xania
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I think to get a musical insight into the piece you are doing, to hear them demonstrate the kinds of sounds they try to produce and understand how it's done technicaly.

One of the things that really annoys me when my students go to masterclasses or have consultation lessons is when the Violinist spends the whole time talking about things like bow hold and posture; these things are important of course but you should be doing this stuff with your teacher, slowly and methodically improving the basics.

I occasionaly have a lesson and what I want is their insight into things like tempi, mood, timbres, style(s) of bowing, use of shifts, variation in vibrato (see other recent threads), and most of all to have fun with 'sculpting' of the music.

To enjoy, with some entertaining exchanges and get enthusiasm to raise your playing (of this piece) to a new level.

I could tell you some horror stories of wasted opportunities with so-called fine players.

T_D

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I once had a lesson with a famous pianist. I was too young back then (nine) to remember his name. We spent one hour just to repeat the first four bars. He wasn't satisfied with the way I played the notes in the fouth bar so we kept working on that bar until the time was up. It was somewhat frustrating 'cause I prepared to play the whole piece for a long time for the lesson. It could be his style of teaching, or it could be that I wasn't good enough to have a lesson with him (the school scheduled one lesson for every student in the music-concentration program), or it could be the different language we spoke that made the lesson rather difficult to proceed (but we did have a translator). I really don't know. But I do know that if we'd spent some time on things more like a concept, something that might change my view of music/playing for a lifetime, instead of a few notes, it'd have been an even better memory. Of course the experience of having a lesson with someone like that alone makes quite a memory anyways.

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I've sat through many classes - some good, some bad. There is only useful stuff for the 'audience' if you cover universal issues (unless everyone is playing the same piece)

I try to provide some entertainment, ask for participation and talk about transferable techniques (bow strokes, fixing unreliable fingers, intonation etc.), there was one boy who simply couldn't play his piece. I spent time with him afterwards (as he felt he didn't get a good go) putting markings in his part - he seemed happy.

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TD: The little booklets by "Technique Doctor" are basic, but answer questions many beginners have concerning specific problems and technique. They seem pretty good (if sometimes controversial). Sorry the Dr. is not you!

I'm a "re-tred," trying the viola again after about 45 years - (gawd!)- and so I really don't have anything informative to put in my "profile." But thanks for coming back and answering my question!

Shirley

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Thanks.

You have of course just written your profile rather nicely, it makes a lot of difference to most of us here (if I can speak for all).

I hope there won't be an issue over the name, let's hope the author never signs up for M-net .... he wouldn't be happy

I am confident you'll get some help with Viola stuff here; I play both, so do a good few others. My book will not contain much for controversy-junkies, I'm always looking for the middle/common ground with technique and keep bizarre thoughts at 'permanent experiment' stage!

T_D

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My experience is from every angle, myself/friends having lessons, watching classes, giving classes, hearing about classes etc. The key thing IMHO, is that one comes out playing the music better (technically or musically), having at least an insight into what makes 'good' players 'fine' players and to have enjoyed the experience.

#1 horror - player gets absolutley 'roasted' by teacher when they have tried their best. After a long session of good players, along comes a student, keen to learn (and has given 100% in the weeks leading up to the class) but is not up to the general standard. Gets put down to make everyone else feel more satisfied with their session/playing.

One boy (Viola) had been playing only 4 years (vs. 12-16) was outstanding for such a short time and never played in public again.

#2 horror - student has trouble with notes, teacher plain refuses to spend any time on practice drills etc. and just infers that he/she shouldn't be there - well OK, you should be at the 'top of your game' for a lesson with an national/international figure, but everyone struggles with some passages of notes. Those that don't are clearly genius' but some 'dirty work' never hurt anyone.

#3 horror - teacher leaves Violin in case (OK in itself), but student needs demo (because words aren't enough) and gets 'blasted' because the teacher no longer has the ability/skill to offer a demo of the 'right way' i.e.'Horses for Courses', don't mismatch the teacher to the pupils - get someone else to do the class next time!!

#4 horror - patronising/belittling behaviour/crude s'-innuendo etc. Say no more. Saw this recently - disgraceful!

I could go on......the point is this......'lifetime' opportunities don't come by every week and it takes 'two to tango'.....spending one hour on the first bar may be acceptable in a lesson, or only doing bow hold, etc etc. but pupils invest time/energy/love into these opportunites and now and again they are wasted through a lack of humanity by the teacher - shame on all of them.

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Excellent thread. Those out-of-town firemen (and women) need to understand the unique characteristics of each masterclass, and weigh their words seriously, knowing that something they spout off could change a life.

I, for one, would love to see a good presentation on bow distribution, with a live student at hand. I'll never forget, however, the day a concertmaster from the big city near our little university announced that our talented violin grad assistant had "shot his wad" at the beginning of a Brahms sonata.

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I lied. The piece I played in that master class was the fugue from the unaccompanied Bach Sonata #1 in g minor, though I was also working on Wieniawski #2 and did succeed in struggling through the last movement by memory on a recital later in the semester, accompanied by an inebriated rushin' piano professor. And the remark Max made to Bob was "You lost your load".

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In reply to:

#2 horror - student has trouble with notes, teacher plain refuses to spend any time on practice drills etc. and just infers that he/she shouldn't be there - well OK, you should be at the 'top of your game' for a lesson with an national/international figure, but everyone struggles with some passages of notes. Those that don't are clearly genius' but some 'dirty work' never hurt anyone.


Those that admire Galamian should read page 93(I think) (101 refers to 'polish' thread - whoops)

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You asked about maximizing the time? Work on a specific piece. Try to steer the conversation away from most technique issues, unless you have a teacher like mine. When I first started taking from him, he made small corrections with how I was holding my bow (I had just changed teachers). As time passed, i learned a few other bow techniques, but he basically followed the beliefs that we (the students) are best left to ourselves in that area. So, if you are in that situation, and the teacher points out something with your bow hand (or whavetever else) listen.

However, if you don't have a teacher like mine, just work on a specific piece and avoid the technical stuff. Your translation of the piece will probably be looked at first. This is the type of feedback that will probably be priceless to you when you look at future pieces.

But then again, I'm just a lowly student.

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i go to the performing arts magnet high school in my city. as such we have the opportunity several times a year that faculty members from universities and professional musicians from all over the place will come and do masterclass type things either on purpose, recruiting, or just while theyre on vacation. and aside from that there are always masterclasses from top professionals at the summer festival here. i must say, i've been very lucky this far. i can't really remember any horror stories, though the usefullness (quality) of the classes go up and down, in general they have all been positive experiences for myself and for the other students who typically play. nobody has been demeaning, or useless. even the most demanding masterclass teacher i've seen (didnt play, just observed) was helpful and gave enough specific and enough general to help the one playing and those watching (it was a group of violists). i hope i don't ever have to encounter these horrifying masterclass giving persons.

best wishes all! happy playing!

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