Violinists, On Your Mark, Get Set, Go! - The Art of Starting border=0 align=

Violinists, On Your Mark, Get Set, Go! - The Art of Starting

August 8, 2022, 12:16 PM · Musicians have a lot to think about when starting a piece or a passage. On their minds are the tone that they’re trying to set, the rhythmic quality, and the first note itself – all of which can make them feel overly cautious. Violinists also have to move the bow without scratching. It makes us appreciate how so many musical parts become integrated. However, starting is often the most difficult part of this system. In fact, starting and stopping several times is a rather common problem. Keep reading... weekend vote: How often do you play scales?

August 6, 2022, 11:32 PM · Ah scales, they are wonderful and they are magical. I turn to them when I need to warm up, when I need to get in shape, when I need to work something out. What are your views on scales, and how often do you play them? What scale system do you use, and how many octaves do you play? Do you have a routine for working through various kinds of scales? Do you do something other than scales that you feel serves the same function? Please participate in the vote and then share your thoughts!

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Violin Technique: Curing the Crash Landing on Bow Retakes

August 5, 2022, 1:24 PM · What happens when you play down-bow, then you have to lift the bow in the air and play another down-bow?

Hopefully not a "crash landing"!

We call this action a "re-take" or a "circle bow." Ideally, the bow lands gently, without any kind of offensive or unintended sound.

However, when the bow "crash-lands," it tends to bounce, skitter and scratch. It feels out of control, because it is.

What is causing this crash landing, and how do you get it back in control? Here are a few culprits: weakness in the bow hold; landing in the middle instead of the lower-half of the bow; and landing while still in motion.

In this video I've outlined a few ways to "cure" the crash landing - including some exercises for strengthening the right pinkie. Here it is for you to watch, and I'll describe the exercises below:

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In Appreciation of Composer William Schuman and His Violin Concerto

August 4, 2022, 6:22 PM · I wanted to pay a special tribute to the great American composer William Schuman (1910-1992), whose birthday is today.

Writing in Washington Post in 1992, the critic Joseph D. McLellan asserted that although Schuman never achieved the name recognition of his colleagues Aaron Copland and Leonard Bernstein, he "probably had a stronger and more durable effect on American musical life." (Source: The New York Times.)

Sometime in early 2000s when I was still a student at the Juilliard School, I was asked to step in on a short notice for a performance of Schuman’s Violin Concerto with the Mexico City Philharmonic and Maestro Jorge Mester.

Even though the Concerto perhaps is still rather underrated, it remains one of the great American Violin Concertos. It is an absolute master piece that I love to perform. Have you heard William Schuman’s music? Do you know his Violin Concerto? Here is my recording, please enjoy!

"William Schuman was a very special, as a composer, educator, administrator and cultural advocate. He was also a person of great wisdom, charm and wit. A truly special human being."
- Morton Gould
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