March 2010

Career plans for musicians

March 25, 2010 17:18

 I listened to a violin recital on BYU TV today of violinist Ben Chan. Ben is a computer science major. He played the C major fugue (Bach), Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso, Wieniawski Polonaise Brilliant and the Vieuxtemp Concerto No. 5. It was very fine. It will be broadcast again in the next few days and if you have U-verse TV you can record it on channel 567 (or see it on line at the streaming site. 

The interesting thing about Ben is that he is a computer science major. I don't know him and don't know why he chose computer science but I find it telling that a young man of his capabilities is choosing something other than music. Could this become a trend?

He has his own Youtube channel. This has been posted on YouTube.

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March 4, 2010 22:18

 A friend posted this on Facebook. I think it is very interesting and worthwhile. It is part of a series on body awareness.

Update: (thanks to Marianne Hansen who commented below)

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March 2, 2010 09:23

How many times have you heard a teacher tell you something and then years later you were wondering just what it was the teacher said. But then you make a discovery for yourself and it then becomes a serious part of you.

I have had such an experience recently. I am preparing the Brahms C minor piano quartet  (the link will take you to the piano score of the fourth movement, then scroll to measure 350) for a performance soon. The last page of this great quartet, starting at the pickup into measure 352, has three successive 5 note descending scale like figures. I have chosen to play the first and third of these passages by playing x44321 i.e. starting with an extension. At first I started with my fingers all extended little. It didn't work. It took a while to realize that the third finger must be set before the extension was placed. 

Voila! Totally reliable. 

Quickly this became a realization that any passage starting with the fourth finger is more reliable if the third finger is set and if for some reason that is not possible then the second. The first finger alone does not provide enough stability and reference to support the setting of the fourth finger. 

This is evident at the start of the third movement. After a long voluptuous cello solo, the violin enters in measure 17 with G# then D# on the A string. It is a very important entrance that must add to not disturb or detract from the loveliness that has preceded. It is so much more secure when all 4 fingers are held down on the string. In fact it is more secure when the third finger is fully set before placing the 4th.

In a perfect world we can find any note on the fingerboard with any finger but I am not in that world. 

Anyway to sum it up I don't think we ever learn a thing until we discover it for ourselves. The best teachers are those who teach us how to discover.

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