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Bart Meijer

An impression from the International Summer School of Music at Dartington: Hu Kun

September 1, 2007 at 3:22 PM

Three weeks ago we (Joyce, my wife, and Olga, Clara and Fleur, our daughters) were at the International Summer School of Music, at Dartington, UK. One of the traditional features of the School is the instrument workshop, where anyone can come and ask a question, or play something and ask for feedback. Another is the master class, which is for advanced students, a teacher, and an audience.
The violin workshop cum master class was taught by Hu Kun, a marvellous teacher. After hearing me play for a few minutes he taught me to improve bowing and tone by relaxing more, and during the rest of the week that teaching worked a small miracle for me. Of course, I knew about the importance of relaxation while playing, but all the same I wasn't doing it! Hu Kun advised me to approach it as a meditation, and while I practised according to his instructions, very happy memories came back from the time when Josef Hampl first taught me the very same thing.
"Let it happen, and don't try to control it", Hu Kun said, "otherwise you are like a cat chasing its own tail."
Hu Kun about playing in tempo: "Entrust yourself to the rhythm, instead of trying to play in tempo."
The whole course was like that. There were far too few people present. Only three students were there for nearly the whole week: two very young and very brilliant girls, obviously representing the master class aspect, and yours truly, a typical workshopper.
I have taken up meditation again as a result of this week, and I'm grateful for it.
From Sung-Duk Song
Posted on September 1, 2007 at 7:11 PM
Hu Kun is an amazing violinist, teacher and conductor. You were lucky to have an experience to work with him! Congratulations.
From Terez Mertes
Posted on September 1, 2007 at 11:03 PM
What a wonderful experience this sounds like - thanks for sharing it. I love the thought of violin practice as a meditation - I try to find this "place" when I practice, as well. I see it as two bangs for the buck (or however that saying goes). You've got some wonderful suggestions/ideas to work with here.
From Albert Justice
Posted on September 2, 2007 at 4:39 PM
This relaxation: is a craft of it's own I think; and, the foundation of violin.

I've spent months working on it, and am only 'really' getting there in ways that will allow the relaxation to mature, having to anticipate everything--which is sort of ironic.

This along with related exercises shared on this site are my winter basics, along with pushing my core program along to the extent that is possible.

I'm listening to Korngold as I write, and can hear the results of fluidity so clearly. Contrasting, someone posted a simple duet candidate that I find is maybe where I should begin/continue rather than more complex music.

Knowing myself, I'll continue to push anyway. ;(.... ;).

But I'll ultimately get to a good level.

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