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Video lessons with Stephen Redrobe


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Edit 5/23/03: Sorry, these files are no longer available on Stephen's site. color>

This inital series of lessons deals with the basics of right-hand tone production. A lesson on scale practice is promised soon, and I will post a link when it is available.

These are kind of large, so most people will have better luck downloading them rather than trying to play them in streaming mode.





It would of course be more convenient and informative to post a link to the site where these are being posted and discussed, but the policies of the Maestronet administration currently make that impossible. Feel free, however, to PM me for the link.

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The scale lesson is now available. Along with the link here are some comments from Mr. Redrobe which should be perused before watching the lesson.


This lesson is not for beginners, I'm afraid, and will be available in about nine hours from now. I would first like to say a few words for purposes of clarification.

We will deal only with the 3 octave A maj scale. Now a 3 octave scale only has 21 notes, so it can only be played 1, 3, 7 or 21 notes to a bow. Galamian came up with the splendid idea of adding 3 notes, thus bringing the total to 24. This means that it can be played 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 12 and 24 notes per bow.

The ascending phase begins thus: A C# B A B C# D E etc

The descending phase ends thus: E D C# B A C# B A.

Tempo is crucial in this so I will count out loud as I play the scale.

I will deal with 3 notes per bow and up.

In 3 notes per bow I will count thus: "One and, two and, three and"

The same goes for 4 notes per bow.

In 6 notes per bow I will simply count: "One, two, three" etc.

In 8 notes per bow I count 2 groups of 4.

In 12 notes per bow I count 2 groups of six.

In 24 notes per bow I trust to luck.

When you have seen the video we can discuss why I consider this to be one of the most important things you will ever practise on the violin. I will not play the full scale on the video, as I feel my private students would baulk at me revealing the fingering here.

I say all this now so as to keep the video as short as possible, and easier to download.

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Hmm, on my computer they automatically call up Windoze Media Player and play just fine (after downloading). Do you have WMP? As I recall you're a Mac person- I believe you can download a Mac version of WMP from The Evil Empire's website. Probably others who know more than I do (not hard!) about computer video files can suggest other software compatible with these.

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AVI clips play in the RealOne player on my PC. Their site, www.realone.com, lists Mac versions. Might be worth a shot. Note, you have to look around a bit for the "free" player downloads on their site.

I haven't tried the files in this post, but I (too) have much better luck downloading first (in IE, right-click the link, "Save Target As..." starts that process).

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Yes, unfortunately Stephen, in a fit of pique, has chosen to withdraw them. I hope a few people were able to benefit from them while they were up. But I also hope that, now that digital video capabilities are more and more widely available, more teachers will experiment with this sort of thing. A picture is worth 1,000 words, and moving pictures perhaps more than that.

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Steve, I believe Stephen sensed where things were heading using his more than generous offering of time, videos, responds to questions etc etc. It would require so much of him, honestly, I don't know where it would end.

The problem is that there is an unfairness toward those who made, and make, a tremendous amount of effort and sacrifice to learn in this style of playing.

Steve, I might ask if some of the Julliard teachers would mind posting as generously as Stephen did? And if not, why not? Just a thought.

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Personally, I dislike this whole idea of "it's my secret and I ain't sharing it." If you have excellent fingerings or special tricks then it serves no purpose other to inflate your own self importance to say, "I have all these great secrets but none of you mediocre people are allowed them" or words to that effect.


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"...it serves no purpose other to inflate your own self importance to say, "I have all these great secrets but none of you mediocre people are allowed..."

This applies to almost any craft or skill that one may pass on to another. Famous Player 'X' could publish any number of method books or videos without yielding up any 'trade secrets' if there can be said to be such a thing in the music teaching world. There simply is no substitute for a live teacher to direct and correct one's technique. With 'free' online lessons, I accept the adage that you get what you pay for. Ego is always absolutely no charge, free and gratis.

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Oh, no Carlo, that isn't the intent at all, don't misunderstand.

But as Michael expressed so eloquently, there is so little time that one must consider how to spend that time. And Mark stated, there is no substitute for a live teacher. It's a fact of life, and as he knows from his experience the teachers at Julliard have their trade secrets too, I can imagine. So that's how it goes.

I'm sorry if I was misunderstood. I didn't mean to create trouble. :-)

PS. Michael's post below is absolutely perfect! Thank you, Michael, you have the words I wish I knew how to say.

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The whole problem seems to have originated in a misunderstanding arising from some yahoo who hacked into the site where these files were originally shared, and sent bogus insulting messages claiming to be from the site owner. Things are getting sorted out, and I am hopeful that the video clips will be available again in the near future. Those interested might want to check Redrobe's home page now and then to see if they're there.

The material discussed and demonstrated in the clips (apart from the scales) was elementary but IMHO very nicely explained, and might be quite helpful to some people. Naturally, I very much agree with those who have pointed out that anyone seriously wanting to work on his/her playing really needs a real live teacher. Nonetheless, I found the idea of these video clips to be an interesting one; widespread computer video capability is still a very new phenomenon and it's cool to see what uses it can be put to.

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"IMHO, a hacker is unlikely."

I know nothing about webmastering, but I tend to agree. A true hacker is an outsider who wreaks havoc of a more general kind. This looks more like someone skylarking--someone who knows all about the people on the site, and their relationships.

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I would hardly compare Stephen to the teachers at Juilliard. First, the teachers at Juilliard actually know how to hold the violin and bow. Have you taken a look at Stephen's left hand? The reason he plays so horribly out of tune is because he has a poor left hand position (its bent at the wrist at about a 45 degree angle, this is completely unacceptable for classical violin playing...very few can get away with it--and Stephen is no exception).

I have a feeling Stephen Redrobe isn't who he says he is. Just because he may pick Erick Friedmann from the airport and makes him coffee doesn't make him his teaching assistant.

I'm sorry to sound so mean, but when someone claims to be a great violinist or great teacher and he performs at the level of an average high school student, someone needs to say something.



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Since we still enjoy the gift of free expression, I take your comment in this light - we all have the right to express our opinions freely and in a civilized manner, and I will do so in the same way.

Firstly, I acknowledge that Stephen’s playing, position, etc is not what we expect in terms of actual performance habits, in my opinion. If Stephen, like so many other teachers, has chosen to let go of those for reasons that frankly do not interest me, then let it be so. He can well answer this question I am sure in his own words.

Second, with regards to comparing his playing to teachers from other schools, i.e., Juilliard, I was witness of 2 instructors who I was blessed to work with, Galamian and Bronstein. When either one demonstrated for me, they both left a great deal to be desired. They had both relinquished their playing abilities for the art of instruction - is what they did - and I believe their record speaks rather clearly, whether you agree with their teaching ideas or not. It is my hope that same day, me too, will be able to demonstrate in which ever capacity I can, when the time arrives for me to relinquish my performing career and dedicate myself completely to the art of instruction.

Thirdly, and as I have said before, for me, it is ‘the way’ in which he chooses to impart knowledge, the actual words used to convey ideas is what is most important, at least for me. In this sense I appreciate watching Stephen’s videos and encourage him to post others with different ideas.



PS: I understand Stephen is not able to post here anymore, I may be wrong, but his response would be welcome

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