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I dont want to play classical anymore, so where should I go?


Zarnath
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For the last two years, I've been going to a State university near my home after dropping out of high school early and getting my GED. I've been majoring in Violin performance. I later enroll in a jazz improv class and found that I no longer want to be a strictly classical musician, but want to go more third-stream, or even toward jazz. If I were a horn player, this would be so easy. I feel a need now to transfer to a better school, but I don't know where there's a school that would offer something like what I just described for a violinist. Does anybody have any suggestions?

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quote:

Originally posted by LongHair:

Go baroque.

Interesting topic!

LongHair, could you go into detail on your Baroque suggestion?

I, too, am interested in styles other than classical. I've been glancing an ear toward Baroque but don't understand the differences other than the earlier time period and the differences I can hear with an admittedly uneducated ear.

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If you can dream it you can do it.

If you want to move toward jazz, start with Gershwin. Also listen to lots of jazz to get the feel for it. Try immitating lead jazz guitar on the violin. Then try immitating other voices in that genera.

Jazz really is more something you feel than something you think about. It is a beautiful art form. Just listen, experiment, and speak with other jazz musicians.

Have fun.

Don Crandall

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"If I were a horn player, this would be so easy."

Why not look into switching instruments. Alto sax, is a fine jazz instrument. Or, consider the standard 3: piano, bass or drums. To me, Joe Venuti and a few others have pushed the violin into the jazz realm. They have done outstanding work but I don't think the violin fits the jazz scene that well - unless it's background strings or supporting role. If you like to sing - the voice would be the top consideration in my book.

Let us know what you decide.

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I'd suggest locating Aebersold's "Blues in All Keys" CD and the cassette/book set which has sax player Lennie Niehaus improvising solos and the transcriptions. http://www.jazzbooks.com/playalongs/042.htm

If you can learn the solos and learn to analyse the solos, you will be on your way to playing jazz. Though jazz is about pure feeling when you're playing it, there is a huge amount of "problem solving" practice, if you want to do it right.

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Don't switch instruments! Jazz violin is the most fabulous thing in the universe! Go to Darol Anger's website (darolanger.com), he is organizing a national jazz strings education network and program, and will know where to study, also a list of terrific books on learning jazz violin. (Abersol is a must, I concur, and fun, too. Start with Volumn I, and the Blues In All Keys) Darol is great about answering email, and a great teacher. My favorite CDs lately are most of Darol Anger's, especially Chiaruscuro, Regina Carter, an African American jazz violinist with a classical background (saw a wonderful performance she gave last year) Also Sara Caswell, who is early twenties and just got a degree in classical and jazz violin performance; her CD is at Amazon.com and is gorgeous. She taught at Mark O'Conner Fiddle Camp, which always has excellant jazz violin teachers, as well as great teachers in all of the styles you listed in your profile. Follow your passion! Let me know where you go with it! I gotta go practice jazz right now!

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My transition from classical to jazz began when I heard Natural Elements by the Indo Jazz fusion band Shakti. It was actually an Indian violinist - L.Shankar, who made me see just how different to the standard classical sound the violin can sound. I was blown away!

As Indian music is a vocal tradition the inflections used on the violin are very vocal also. Jazz players too can learn much from the voice and vocal based styles. I was never that inspired by jazz violinists but found L.Shankar and L.Subramaniam with their vibrato-less style with much sliding really helped me to break that mold! I thoroughly recommend you give them a listen.

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Berklee does have an excellent reputation, so I'll second marian's recommendation. I wish I could offer other suggestions.

In the meantime, do some intensive internet searching. Also, Strad or Strings magazine publishes a list of schools. Published lists won't give you much of a feel for a school, but at least on other factors a list can help to narrow your search.

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Besides Berklee there is the California School of the Arts and also a good place in N. Carolina (N. C. School of the Arts?). Also, many music programs at colleges and universities have jazz studies. As for money, some places are expensive, no doubt, but financial aid is available.

Joe Venuti has been mentioned, but the great Stephane Grapelli should not be forgotten.

Good luck

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Here's the what the plan has kinda been so far. I had considered Berkeley long and hard, but my (jazz) teacher recommended against it's simply too big a sea. What he did recommend, and my personal first choice anyway, was in fact NEC I guess as a performance major with a kind of minor in jazz. Then I'd have NEC stability and be next door to the Berkeley scene. I want to thank you all for your responses which served to strengthen my resolve to actually make this big leap!

Z

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You don't need to go to Berkeley to learn jazz.

Get yourself into clubs and PLAY.

By the way, what's wrong with classical violin, Zarnath?

Eclectic Lady, I play "baroque" violin as easily as I do "classical" violin.

I will make the caveat that the word "classical" may mean different things to me than to other folks. After all, I play classical violin pieces with no vibrato and on all-gut strings.

Personally, I am happy going either way but prefer the more expansive techniques of post-Paganini violin sophistication.

[This message has been edited by HuangKaiVun (edited 02-13-2002).]

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I think the John Coltrane solos on violin are some of the best studies. However, It's hard to "blow" the violin like a sax. I'm working on some pieces but it takes complete dedication to follow the "wind" sound that you get with a reed instrument.

Very much worth studying also is the "breath" of Paul Desmond on his alto sax solos. Venuti comes closest to it from what I've heard on recordings. I have not followed Stephane Grapelli that much.

The areas of most difficulty, in my opinion, that players have in using the violin for jazz are 1.) falling back into sounding like fiddle music - that ends the session right there. 2.) attacking the music with a 'learned' classical technique approach. 3.) just not swinging with the rhythm. In my opinion, these are the biggest obstacles.

Unlearning the classical lessons may be impossible to do so your choice to follow your heart here is probably wise. Keep us advised on your progress. And post a clip of your playing if you would.

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Why is it impractical to aspire to soloism?

Just because you don't have publicity nor an agent doesn't mean that you can't "make it" as a soloist.

You might never appear on the world concert circuit (then again, you MIGHT), but that won't make you any less of a soloist. Shirking one's natural violin talent just because of the modern violinist corporate ladder is NOT THE WAY TO GO for a true musician.

I have full faith that if I actually wanted to, I could expand my career far beyond what it currently is. However, my interests lie elsewhere at the moment. My current inertia is strictly my own doing, not anybody else's.

I am enjoying a rich and full violin life, though I'm not famous like Perlman or Mutter or any of those other reknowned players I'd NEVER want to play like. There's no template for the life of a professional violinist.

Note: being a professional violin soloist is not anywhere as hard as you (or even I) think if you HAVE THE TALENT. If anything, it's EASIER than being a group player because you are your own man and you nobody can hold you back from earning your way with your violin.

Never forget that when it comes to music, your first and ONLY responsibility is to YOURSELF.

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