August 2013

What is violin artistry? Every so often we need to step back and take a look at the fundamentals of what we are doing and why.

August 22, 2013 18:17

What is violin artistry?

It’s about falling in love with the violin and all the different things it can do.
It’s about developing our sensitivity to the tone and the response of our instrument.
And developing our sensitivity to the balance and springiness of the bow.
It’s about the intense satisfaction of playing a beautifully in tune double stop
It’s about the thrill of conquering difficulties.
And the joy of playing something very simple and making it your own.
It’s about learning musical styles from Classical style, to Jazz style, and how to capture them on the violin
.It’s about developing practice routines that enable us to play the real thing.
It’s about developing basic techniques like a martele bow stroke and plugging them right into our favorite concerto.
It’s about getting to know the heroes of the violin -- Heifetz, Kreisler, Perlman, Grappelli
It’s about experimenting and searching.

One thing is for sure. It is multi-dimensional.
It is, in large part, unconscious or reflexive.
It is, in large part, conscious and deliberate.
It is something that develops early, perhaps from the first time we pick up the violin.
We reaffirm it every day when we take the violin out of the case and tune.
It comes to fruition through our love and dedication to music.

What are the different facets of Violin Artistry?

Musical literacy: Developing fluency with the language of music, which leads to
Violinistic literacy: Fluently translating the dots on the page into finger and arm motions on the violin.
Understanding and conveying the meaning of the music
Artistic projection and communicative power

The next two items are perhaps not as fundamental as the others. But every good violinist has a passion for them.

Getting to know our history and our heroes
Becoming part of a larger community, making violin friends.

What can we do to cultivate and enrich or violin artistry?

Practice: What are the different types of practice activities and how much time should we devote to each?
Play with others: orchestra, chamber music, piano Does this also count as practice?
Explore different genres: Classical, Jazz, Fiddling, Folk music, world music, Rock
Improvise and play by ear.
Learn to play the piano
Listen to recordings
Go to concerts

Study & research

Music history, lives of composers
Performance practice
Theory and composition

What part does our violin artistry play in our life as a whole?

It can draw upon everything we do
It can enrich everything we do

At what point in our studies do we begin focusing on violin artistry?

From the moment we pick up the violin for the first time.
Or perhaps even sooner.

In a certain theoretical sense, everything we are and every thing we do contributes to the way we express ourselves on our instrument. When we travel through the alps or fall in love for the first time, the new dimensions that are added to our being will enrich our violin playing Similarly when we lose a job or a loved one, the pain will somehow find expression in our playing. How often have we heard someone say “You can’t play Brahms until you’ve been in love. You can’t play Kreisler until you’ve lived!”

This blog post is reprinted from School of Violin Artistry Please visit me there for more like this as well as video instruction for developing violin artistry.

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