Last day of school for NYC public school teachers. I get the summer off as well. I am teaching one graduate course to new teachers coming into the system. It has been a great deal of fun. When I am done with the summer course I look forward to uninterrupted time to practice!
I am reading a great book (recommended by Evil Linda) - "Heifetz - As I Knew Him" by Ayke Agus (I bought a bunch of violin-related books recently from Amazon). It is a great read and chronicles Ms. Agus's relationship with Heifetz first as his masterclass student and then as his accompanist on the piano. I am only two chapters into it and enjoy the book very much so far. I bought it cheaply used on Amazon.com.
I am reading “Violin Playing: As I teach it” by Leopold Auer, the great violin teacher. I thought it would be a long book, and overly technical, but the books reads easily, and offers many tips on how to hold the violin, producing tone, bowing, etc. He is probably most controversial for writing that the uses of a shoulder cushion or shoulder rest should be avoided at all cost because it diminishes tone. I tried playing without a shoulder rest, and it definitely would take getting use to, however, my violin does resonate more. However, I look to Hahn, and Vengerov and they all use shoulder rests. My only concern is whether not using a shoulder rest could hurt muscles in the neck and shoulder in the long run.
I played in my first studio class yesterday. There were only 6 of us playing in an apartment. Most of the pieces were from either Suzuki Book 1 or 2, but one advanced student played the first movement from Tchaikovsky's violin concerto. That was incredible. His playing was lyrical, and he really made his violin sing (the hard wood floors helped too). I played Bouree from Suzuki Book 2, and was especially proud of the way I played the g note on the e string in one passage. My teacher taught me to lean into it to get a gradual cresendo. Good stuff.
I am thinking about taking my violin into a shop for a "violin doctor" to look at it. Does anyone know what the cost is to have someone in NYC adjust my soundpost and carve a new bridge, etc.?
I'm playing a studio class today (my first one!). I also placed an order today for a carbon fiber bow, the Coda Classic. I know many purists turn their noses up at carbon fiber bows, but I think for the price $697, the classic is suppose to play like pernambuco bows worth much more. It should be interesting. I'm really looking forward to it.
Those of us living in NYC, are you tired of the rain yet?
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