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Clayton Haslop

When Tchaikovsky Rules

April 7, 2009 at 4:48 AM

Been thinking further about the importance of getting it right where violin study is concerned.  You see, once you’ve used ‘the studies’ to put yourself to rights with the instrument, the rules of engagement do change quite a bit.

The repertoire is, in fact, full of studies.  Many smart professionals have identified and committed to memory the passages important to maintaining and developing his or her skill set. 

And these excerpts will vary, depending on what the player is focused on.  A soloist, for instance, may want to keep his up-bow and down bow staccato in top form, and he knows just the Wieniawski and Sarasate passages that are useful for his doing so. 

An orchestral player, on the other hand, will not have much use for that skill, and yet has a keen interest to keep her spiccato razor sharp. 

She might have several ‘Scherzo’ movements memorized, and ready to go at all times.

Yet to make these choices intelligently, one needs a background.  When the inexperienced or young player spends too much time in repertoire he can get seduced by the musical content and the discipline that comes from conscientious scale and etude study falls by the wayside.

That’s not to say a student should spend all his or her time in Sevcik either. 

Real music is full of nuance and unexpected turns.  A diet of technical studies alone is like an exercise regimen consisting solely of lifting heavy weight. 

Nope, you gotta engage with real music right on through, to be a complete musician. 

And you’ve got to get out and engage with the world as a music-maker if you want to experience the whole enchilada and be counted as a real performer.

Pretty satisfying indeed, when it all comes together just when you intend for it to.

All the best,
Clayton Haslop

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