By The Weekend Vote
Published: November 21, 2014 at 15:04
Everyone needs to exercise to promote good health, but what are the most effective forms of exercise for someone who regularly plays the violin?
Even if you've reduced your playing to the most ergonomically efficient and pain-free set of motions, playing the violin still sets us up for some unequal muscle-building. Add to that the stress of performing and the repetitive, solitary and possibly fairly sedentary nature of practice, and you're in trouble if you don't find a good form of exercise.
But what kind of exercise best helps even muscle tone, or reduce stress, or add that cardio-vascular element that is missing from long days of practice, teaching or performing?
I've listed a few below, but I'm sure I'm missing quite a few forms of good exercise and I invite you to list more. You may do several of these forms of exercise, but choose the one that you feel is doing the most for you, or tell us in the comments what exercise you prefer.
Running: Definitely good for endurance and cardio-vascular health. Related to running: Walking. Walking is so underrated, and yet it is a wonderful form of exercise. Take 10,000 steps a day, says the doctor!
Weight-lifting: For a long time I thought this was a bad idea because of the potential to overdevelop certain muscles. What changed my mind? David Garrett! Here is someone who is in great shape and does high-energy stadium shows on a regular basis. He said he is careful to target particular muscle groups and not to push too hard. Seems to work for him!
Yoga: This can help both build muscles and stretch muscles, and the controlled-breathing element can help with reducing stress in situations of pressure.
Swimming: A number of famous string players swore by this low-impact form of exercise, among them, Janos Starker. Great for the lung, and it doesn't stress the joints.
By Joe Baca
Published: November 20, 2014 at 20:16
I am new to this site but I am happy to be connected to more string enthusiasts than ever. I will leave my personal story to those interested in reading my bio and cut right to the chase. I hate to say it this way but really there are three types of musicians I run across: those who don't know what Mariachi is, those who think they know what it is and Mariachis themselves.
Mariachi music just like any other style of music can be molded to fit whatever the Mariachi Musician wants or even needs it to be to satisfy their musical hunger, within certain parameters of course be it instrumentation or sticking to certain sub-styles within the genre (there is always debate within the mariachi circles about this; purists & non). Regardless though, Mariachi runs deep not only with folk roots but now more than ever it is infused with classical instrumental training and the songs themselves are arranged with much thought and complex musicality by those knowledgeable in music theory, arranging, composing and orchestrating. (In fact Mariachi kept me ahead in all of my theory classes in college.)
This music then must be internalized once read from the page and memorized so that the performance aspect can then be put into effect. The performance of Mariachi music is a whole other aspect in-and-of-itself that involves not only conveying emotional significance but stage techniques as well typically found in the Drama field. As you can see, there already may be a few things about Mariachi you may not have been really aware of.
My blogs will primarily cover my main musical interest, which is the Mariachi genre. (I may throw in a few other things here and there.) However, my hope is that I can enlighten and excite more and more people about this genre that is ‘famous but fuzzy’ so that the next time you think of Mariachi Music only the best thoughts come to mind because remember just like there are great and poor bands, orchestras, singers, etc. the same goes for Mariachis.
I hope you enjoy what I have to say and do remember that what I say in my blog, unless stated as fact, is only my opinion and does not necessarily reflect the ideology and opinions of any of my associations.
It is nice to informally meet you all and feel free to message me anytime.
Your brother in music,
By Kate Little
Salt Lake City, Utah
Published: November 19, 2014 at 14:55
It wasn’t an epic fail. But it certainly wasn’t a performance to be proud of. And yet, I am.
Last Saturday I placed third in the grey-hair category of the Utah State Fiddle Contest. Third place was also, coincidently, last place. But I still won $80, enough for beer with friends that night. Sometimes it pays just to show up.
Here’s what happened: First tune was Red-Haired Boy. I kept getting lost, as in who’s-fingers-are-these-anyway?, and had to restart several phrases, negating any sense of musical flow. Second tune was Saturday Waltz. I hit several wrong notes, but did keep going without interrupting the tempo. Third tune was Pig Ankle Rag. This one felt good and had no mistakes, or at least none that I recall. It was basically in tune, with a solid beat, consistent tempo, and had flow.
Going into the performance, all three tunes were as good as Pig Ankle Rag, and I was feeling confident. But facing that audience of 30, something happened. My left-hand fingers and right-arm shoulder froze. I felt it happen, and it took me by surprise. At least I was aware and fought to get my body to relax. And it worked. By the last song I was actually playing. This is the part that I was proud of: that I eventually found a groove, despite all the distraction.
It was amazingly hard to stand up in front of a crowd of strangers and play. Knowing that the first note has to be right-on with everything flowing from that point of sound, I remain astounded that it can be done. Performing music seems an impossible task. Yet musicians do it. Time after time. Regardless of circumstances. My respect grows with every attempt I make. They do what I cannot.Tweet
By Robert Niles
Published: November 19, 2014 at 08:26
In an effort to promote the coverage of live violin performance, Violinist.com each week presents links to reviews of notable concerts and recitals around the world.
Atlanta Symphony concertmaster David Coucheron and conductor Robert Spano
David Coucheron performed Mozart's Violin Concerto No. 5 with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra in the orchestra's first concert back after its board locked it out.
Augustin Hadelich performed the Mendelssohn with the Seattle Symphony.
Hilary Hahn performed the Beethoven with the Luxembourg Philharmonic after a four-month injury absence from performing.
Nicola Benedetti performed Shostakovich's Violin Concerto No. 1 with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra.
Tasmin Little performed the Korngold with Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.
Jennifer Koh performed the Sibelius with the Waco Symphony Orchestra.
Renaud Capucon performed Mozart's Violin Concerto No. 3 with the Singapore Symphony Orchestra.
Joshua Bell performed the Glazunov with the New York Philharmonic.
Simone Lamsma performed Prokofiev's Second Violin Concerto with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra.
Lu Siqing performed the Butterfly Lovers Violin Concerto with the National Centre for the Performing Arts Orchestra.
Also in violin news:
Congratulations to Danielle Belen, who was named one of three recipients of the 4th annual Sphinx Medals of Excellence, awarded to artists of color who demonstrate artistic excellence, outstanding work ethic, a spirit of determination, and great potential for leadership. (Other recipients were soprano Janai Brugger and flutist Demarre McGill.) Each will receive Medals of Excellence and a $50,000 Artist Grant at a luncheon in Washington, D.C. on March 18, 2015. Danielle, winner of the 2008 Sphinx Competition, recently became Professor of Violin at the University of Michigan. She also Artistic Director and founder of Center Stage Strings summer camp and festival.
Please support live music in your community by attending a concert or recital whenever you can!Tweet
Galamian's Principles of the Violin
Long one of the standards for violin teachers and students, Ivan Galamian's Principles of Violin Playing and Teaching offers both principles and practice exercises to help develop violinists of all ages and abilities. This new edition includes a foreword by Sally Thomas.
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