Next week violinists from all over the world will gather in New York the 2015 Starling-DeLay Symposium on Violin Studies at The Juilliard School.
It promises to be an exciting week, with so many wonderful artists and teachers scheduled to participate. I will be in New York to bring you coverage of the master classes, concerts and pedagogy classes, which begin Tuesday and run through Saturday. Here is a little preview:
Several recitals will take place, including performances by Sean Lee on Tuesday night and Ani and Ida Kavafian on Friday night. Student artists will give performances on Wednesday and Thursday nights.
Daily pedagogy classes include topics such as tone production, right- and left-hand basics, interpreting the Tchaikovsky concerto, teaching Kreisler and more. Those will be taught by Brian Lewis, James Stern, Kurt Sassmannshaus and Benjamin Ramirez.
Check in with Violinist.com next week, as well as the following week, for daily coverage of these events! Articles will appear on Laurie Niles' blog (that's me!), and on our official Starling-DeLay Symposium on Violin Studies at Juilliard page, which contains both past and present articles on the symposium.Tweet
"Competitions are for horses, not musicians."
Next week the Finals begin in Belgium's Queen Elisabeth International Music Competition, and we are thrilled to have our correspondent Heather Kurzbauer there to bring us live coverage on Violinist.com. But yesterday in her blog, Heather mentioned up the above quote, which goes to the heart of the ambivalence that many people feel about competitions. Should competitions remain in the realm of horse races, and not in the realm of art and expression? Or do they serve a useful purpose, raising the level of our art, bringing attention to artists and creating some excitement about the violin?
Please vote, and discuss! And visit us next week for Heather's articles from Belgium.
How long have you been playing the violin or viola?
This morning I was reading a quote from Pablo Casals, who was asked at age 90 why he continued to practice. His answer: "Because I think I'm making progress!"
Certainly, it takes time to get good at this instrument. Time, and practice.
I started around age nine, and now I'm...older! I've kept playing the whole time, some years a lot more than others!
Though I think that it helps to start young, it helps even more to keep practicing and spending time playing your instrument. For the typical player, five years of practice provides good foundation. Ten years allows the development of higher-level techniques, and 20 allows the building of repertoire. I'd say that if you've been playing for more than 30 years, you're probably a veteran.
Of course, it really varies! Recall that Sarah Chang was playing the Bruch concerto at age 5 -- perhaps she started in another life? Like Sarah, some very talented people exceptionally fast. Conversely, others take a more leisurely pace.
For the vote, pick which category best fits you. If you simply had a hiatus of not playing at all, only count the years you were playing. If you switched to viola from violin, count from the time you started violin. Feel free to talk about how long you've been playing and how the passage of years has affected your playing.
If you are here, reading this, you probably like playing the violin. But do you like practicing?
Some people like it more than others. If you are a little more process-oriented, the practice room gives you a chance to figure things out, repeat things. It's a ritual, and a daily ritual can be not only great for your violin-playing, it can be a comfort.
But practice is a means to an end, and others much prefer that end: performing in a group, playing the concert, etc. The practice part is just a necessary chore. Or for some, they really don't practice! I've had colleagues that I greatly admire for their high level tell me that basically, they don't practice any more. Perhaps they play enough that it's not necessary.
For most of us mortals, it is, though! What are your feelings about practice?
Previous entries: April 2015
The Weekend Vote is from Pasadena, California. Biography
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