One thing musicians share with athletes is the desire to eliminate tension. The first time a string player holds the bow, he or she is told to not squeeze the stick. At the same time, the student is asked to play loudly and with power. It’s not easy to do one without the other. A boxer is told to relax his wrist when he’s connecting with the opponent’s face. (Not the usual jargon boxers use, but I think it’s more appropriate for a violin blog.) A rock climber is told to relax his ankles while he or she is hanging upside down from Half Dome. And don’t forget to breathe.
To begin the work of letting go of tension, the one prerequisite is that you accept and cherish the over-all uniqueness of your bow arm. Don’t obsess about relaxation, when there are bigger fish to fry. Violinists can alleviate the problems of stress and using unnecessary muscles without changing their entire method of holding the bow. Keep reading...Tweet Comments (2)
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Serbian violinist and violist Nemanja Radulovic performs Tchaikovky's Violin Concerto, the piece he has played most often during his career. He also plays viola in the Rococo Variations, originally for cello but arranged for viola and string ensemble. BELOW: an excerpt from the beginning of the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto:
It's nice to have a quartet gig, but sometimes violinists or violists are hired to play a wedding or other gig as just a duet. So what are you going to play, with no cellist? Or what can you play, if you are supposed to play quartets but your cellist is late?
Presenting the Slapin-Solomon Duo's Big Gig Books, scored for various duet combinations of violin and viola, including two violins; or two violas; or violin-viola. Most gig music is pretty standard, and it was our goal to make duo arrangements of the absolutely most requested, most standard classical music to make this book as useful as possible. Keep reading...