V.com weekend vote: Who has been your most influential stringed instrument teacher?

July 13, 2017, 5:02 PM · Who has been your most influential stringed instrument teacher?


The answer might not be obvious, but who is the teacher who had the most influence on your learning a stringed instrument?

It may have been that elementary school teacher, who got you going in the first place. Or it could be the teacher who got you out of a long rut, the one who inspired you to try something new, or the one who finally gave you the right technique for something.

Please answer the poll, and then tell us about your most influential teacher.


July 14, 2017 at 10:32 AM · I couldn't list one favorite or best teacher. I've gotten different things from different teachers at different times. The sequence makes a big difference, too: If I had studied with the same teachers in a different order, I don't think the results would have been as good - so in one sense I had all the right teachers. That said, I do wish that I had spent less time with a couple of them and more time with a couple of others. I also wish that I had tried a few that I never studied with. I also have asked myself: if I had gotten my wishes would I be significantly better or just a somewhat different player today? I don't know the answer. Maybe I'd be in the same place but would have gotten there sooner. And since I am indulging in fantasizing I've sometimes wished that I could go back to my past and be my own teacher now and then and cut through a lot of confusion.

I will list just a few of my influential teachers: My two most well-known teachers are Glenn Dicterow and Aaron Rosand. They are definitely two that I wish I had studied much more with but they continue to exert a violinistic and musical influence on me. My third teacher, Regis Iandiorio, was one of my favorites and I came to think of him as a friend and even like a big brother. My first real teacher, Harry Fratkin is another favorite. He had been a student of Auer and one of the main teachers of Isidore Cohen, who for many years was violinist of the the Baux Arts Trio. He was like a father figure to me. He had a saying that I've tried to take to heart: "You must be at one and the same time your own greatest admirer and your own severest critic". I think that's good advice for for music and for life in general.

In the end we must be our own teachers and through experimentation and quite a bit of research I learned and developed invaluable things. So how am I as my own teacher? I'd say critical but supportive. But God help me if I'm late for a lesson!

July 14, 2017 at 01:14 PM · I, too, got different things from different teachers. I had a total of six teachers over a long stretch till I finished school. But if I had to pick one, I'd say my first teacher, when I was a kid beginner, was the most influential and made the most vivid impression on me -- for instance, by showing how a passage should sound when well polished.

I had been slated to start lessons through the public school system but instead ended up going with this teacher in private 1:1 sessions after school once a week. I will always remember that we worked very well together. I gained plenty of valuable pointers from the five other teachers I had later, but there will always be something special to me about that first 1:1 association.

July 14, 2017 at 02:45 PM · I find it difficult to chose between my first cello teacher, Arthur Alexander, who taught me from the ages of 12-17, and my violin teacher, Jane Harbour, several decades later who taught me for the same length of time. Both were inspirational, and although their approaches differed I'd give them equal First!

July 14, 2017 at 04:24 PM · When I was in grade 6 the music instructor for the schools in Sault Ste Marie ON came to our home with a trumpet and stayed there until I could make a sound! I took trumpet lessons until grade 10 and played in bands.

When I was in

grade 7 my parents heard of a trumpet and violin teacher who, in the 40s was the concertmaster of the Toronto symphony and had an Amati violin. His name was Harry Pearce. So I took lessons in both until grade 12. I still play the violin in a small group and I am 83. I can thank the Board of Education for this

Dr. Terry Carscadden, Sudbury ON, Canada

July 14, 2017 at 08:08 PM · Though my user name may show as "eagledriver", I real alias is Roger Byrd now three score and 13 yrs young.

At 9 yrs old I came aware that my grandfather W.A.Byrd played some country fiddle and I wanted to play too, so he was my 1st inspiration from his farm in LA. We lived in IN so my folks enrolled me in the 3rd grade public school music program and bought a 1/4 size (I still have it). Two moves, 2 yrs, a 3/4 & a 4/4 violin later we are in CT still with public schools. But I began private lessons with Joe Ruggiero and continued with him 8 yrs through high school and his recommendation to Hartt College. There I studied with Ariana Bronne and The Professor, Raphael Bronstein, for 5 years and my degree.

So, really five different influences, all so significant in my view and each very necessary in my progress as musician and person.

Inspiration - Grandpa with Mom & Pop for continuity,

Persistence - Joe Ruggiero - P.S. music and private violin teacher,

Real Intensity - Ariana Bronne and Raphael Bronstein.

I remember them very fondly.

July 14, 2017 at 11:13 PM · Easy, Jan Tomasov formerly concert master of the National Symphony Orchestra. He could demonstrate anything because he could play anything.

July 15, 2017 at 12:12 AM · My father started me off & then passed me on to his former teacher, Winifred Copperwheat when he'd got me past Grade V and on to the Bach Concertos & Mozart 4. Winifred took me back a little for technique, so that the first Mozart Concerto I did with her was 3, for Grade 7 a couple of years later. I had one or two lessons with Stanislaw Frydberg, who gave me more confidence, but taught me one or two things I have later had to unlearn when I realised what Winifred had been trying to teach me years back about poise and gracefulness in playing. All of these influenced me considerably.

July 15, 2017 at 08:02 AM · I voted for myself because it has been my consistent desire to play and improve that carried me from age 9 to age 66. When I stopped playing for about 23 years, it was my burning desire to play again that brought me to where I am today. I've had 4 private teachers, but none who inspired me more than my own desire. YouTube was a thing when I started playing again in 2002 (interrupted again from 2007 - 2012) and I have used many online tools to learn how to practice effectively and how to improve my sound and technique. I commissioned a violin about 3 years ago, and also purchased a really good second violin from Fiddlershop. Since 2012 I have been able to play as much as I want and perform with local orchestras with a variety of programming. I now understand what it is to have a passion for doing something.

July 15, 2017 at 03:09 PM · I have had a lot of teachers, and I really hungered for excellency as a young person striving to learn the violin in a small town. The one who definitely stands out is Peter J Kaman in Seattle. His love of the instrument, first and foremost, and the extreme dedication he had to precision, proper training, and supportive teaching while simultaneously pushing my learning, set him apart. This was in my younger college years. It wasn't only about the instrument though. It was the collective effort of sharing his first-hand stories of many great artists with me, listening sometimes to Szyring play Bach and discussing that. I loved to bring my mom along or a friend when I could. And beyond that, it was a special kind of mercy for those of us with the need to master the instrument. I wonder where the other pupils are now. I would just love to get back in touch with some of them. I have had other very fine teachers indeed over the years but there is a big difference in how much the violin owned each one's life.

July 16, 2017 at 02:37 AM · I've only had one teacher (aside from myself) and without her I wouldn't have had the discipline that I have. She passed away a few years ago and I hope some day I'll have another.

July 16, 2017 at 12:57 PM · Without a doubt it was the one year I lived in Paris in the 1960s, and Rene Benedetti taught me. As an amateur, I had no right to have such a great teacher, and I made such progress that year that my previous teacher, a first violin in the Boston Symphony could not believe it. Benedetti was a wonderful man and a teacher of enormous talent. I haven't had one like him before or since.

July 17, 2017 at 06:06 AM · My only teacher was a chap called David Hodgson, He was based in Dewsbury UK in the 1960's he was an amazing player and teacher, so inspirational. He planted a musical seed that has fueled me all the rest of my life.

July 17, 2017 at 10:27 AM · Probably my two main private teachers (childhood and present) have been the most inspirational, but I had a middle-school string-class teacher who was a wonderful person too.

July 18, 2017 at 05:07 AM · My most influential teacher is someone I will love and respect always. Hew was my very first teacher, starting in childhood. He taught me music and much more. He gave me his ethos. He was like a grandfather to me. My parents, especially my father, became very close to him, and they invited him and his wife to dinner in our home many times. He died when I was in college. He had just given a lesson and felt tired, went to sleep, and did not wake up. I am happy and proud that he did what he loved best right up until he died. I was utterly devastated by his death. It was a month before I could listen to music and a year before I could listen to violin music. It's hard to describe his personality and how he affected me, but Dan Fogelberg did it very well in "Leader of the Band," a song he wrote about his father. https://youtu.be/NzpiwKNecHc.

He earned his love through discipline

A thundering velvet hand.

His gentle way of sculpting souls

Took me years to understand


I thank you for your kindness

And the times when you got tough

And, Papa, I don't think I said

"I love you" near enough


The leader of the band is tired

And his eyes are growing old

But his blood runs through my instrument

And his song is in my soul

My life has been a poor attempt

To imitate the man

I'm just a living legacy

To the leader of the band

July 18, 2017 at 09:45 AM · For me it has to be the 2 private teachers I have had. The best was a Spanish man, his playing was average for a pro but he was an excellent teacher. I met him when he was just starting out and based on my 1st lesson with him I wouldn't have gone back for more but I saw the potential and sticking it out was one of the best things I have ever done. He taught me for 4 years and I only stopped because our schedules meant he could no longer fit me in.

On the other hand the 2 teachers I had at school were poor at best. With the 1st one I was in junior school and didn't realise my lack of progress with this man, a viola player who also taught violin. It was much more obvious with the 2nd teacher but I never asked to get a new teacher, I assumed I had to take what I was given. In fact this teacher was so bad I was extremely close to quitting as I thought I had peaked at grade 4.

To this day I wonder how much better I could have better had I had good quality teachers from the start.

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