Printer-friendly version

Applying Music Theory to a Hard Musical Passage

Ben Chan

Written by
Published: April 5, 2015 at 12:13 AM [UTC]

Hi everyone!

I'm still enthralled with Wieniawski's D Minor Concerto since my student is preparing for a recital. While teaching him last night, I taught the principle that I share in this video.

Enjoy, and thanks for all of your feedback!

You might also like:

From Paul Deck
Posted on April 6, 2015 at 2:03 AM
What is described in your video is not what I usually think of when I hear the term "music theory" but I enjoyed it nevertheless. Your matter-of-fact style of presentation is compelling and I'll bet you're a good violin teacher.

I've encountered these kinds of situations many times, in both pieces and in studies, where I'm in a certain position but I have to make an extension and then drop back or raise up half a step, etc. Having a good reference frame for hand position is indeed critical to reaching the notes easily and staying in tune, but I don't think of the "number" of the position. I think more of the intervals I'm playing. Maybe I should try it your way.

On the other hand, I'm nowhere near ready to play the concerto you quoted. So I guess the only surprising thing to me is that a student who would be working on this concerto would not know how to do that already. The other possibility is that somehow I missed the point entirely...

From Nicholas Schmeller
Posted on April 7, 2015 at 12:27 AM
I'm currently playing the D minor concerto, I'm all but finished with it (it was a wonderful time learning it) so I already have done my time on that passage. Good advice, I took the hard way (lol) and slogged through it. It sure is fun to play as fast as you can. Good video as well.
From Ben Chan
Posted on April 7, 2015 at 2:47 PM
Thanks for your thoughts, both of you! It is indeed a difficult concerto and fun to play fast :)

This piece is also quite a few levels of difficulty higher than what my student can currently handle. He's very methodical and I wanted to really stretch him. We've only been playing it for a couple of months now and already he's made quite a few leaps and bounds in his basic playing ability - but it's still a bit too difficult for him to play through from start to finish.

He's actually preparing to play this 1st movement for our annual NYSSMA competition at the All-State level. I expect he will not get the best score, but I intend for this to be a good learning process for him. And we plan on repeating the same piece a year from now for NYSSMA All-State again.

This entry has been archived and is no longer accepting comments.

Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram Email is made possible by...

Shar Music
Shar Music

Pirastro Strings
Pirastro Strings

Corilon Violins
Corilon Violins

Colburn School: Chamber Music Intensive
Colburn School: Chamber Music Intensive

Find a Summer Music Program
Find a Summer Music Program

Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases
Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases

Mio Cannone Violini
Mio Cannone Violini Shopping Guide Shopping Guide

Heifetz Institute: Crescendo

Metzler Violin Shop

Bein & Company

Bay Fine Strings Violin Shop

Leatherwood Bespoke Rosin

Annapolis Bows & Violins

Los Angeles Violin Shop

String Masters

Bobelock Cases

Things 4 Strings LLC



Sleepy Puppy Press

Jargar Strings

J.R. Judd Violins, LLC

Southwest Strings

Nazareth Gevorkian Violins

Laurie's Books

Discover the best of in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews. Interviews Volume 1 Interviews Volume 1, with introduction by Hilary Hahn Interviews Volume 2 Interviews Volume 2, with introduction by Rachel Barton Pine