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Zlata Brouwer

Less effort, more tone

February 10, 2013 at 1:01 PM

Tone is already there in your violin, you just have to release it... don't force it!

Just yesterday I had a private student. She started to play violin at the age of three and was pressured from the very first lesson.

As she was talented and worked hard she managed to become a student at a conservatory. Here she had to study about twelve hours a day (according to herself, I wonder if it's possible) and was pressured in a very negative manner.

At the age of nineteen she put her violin aside and stopped playing... at all... the pressure had ruined her fun in violin playing. Now, five years later, she thought she should find a way to able to play again in a relaxing way.

Her technique was very good, but all the tension and insecurity she felt could be heard in her tone. Yup, you can't hide anything playing violin. Everything you think, feel and are are represented in the tone your violin will produce when you play.

Violin play requires a lot of work, time and effort, but at the same time it requires you to release all tension so you can release the tone.

A good vibrato requires you to loose the tension in your wrist and fingers, not to fixate them (so you can combine arm, wrist and finger vibrato or use it separately).

A good tone requires you to let the bow float through the strings from a relaxed weight in your arm, not to push in it.

To use weight, not pressure...

Your assignment...

Next time you encounter a problem in violin play... or you just want to make your tone more beautiful...

Don't think about what more you can do...

Thank about what less you can do...

Have a nice Sunday!


Violinist and Skype violin teacher at Violin Lounge

From Randy Walton
Posted on February 10, 2013 at 9:02 PM
Good advice!!!
From Laurie Niles
Posted on February 10, 2013 at 9:41 PM
It's so true! When my students try playing a fast scale, sometimes they tense up; but the irony is that relaxed fingers move faster!
From Jack Felton
Posted on February 11, 2013 at 1:31 PM
Hopefully she can overcome the tension created by all the pressure over the years and learn to enjoy playing.
From Zlata Brouwer
Posted on February 11, 2013 at 2:47 PM
Yes, but I am sure she will! We will work a lot on tone production (the only etude I allow her to play is Kreutzer number 1), vibrato (her wrist and fingers are so fixed that she can only do arm vibrato) and some improvisation exercises (which scare her to death at the moment) to invite her to be creative and build trust.

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