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The Weekend Vote weekend vote: Is/Was your violin teacher from a different country than your country?

April 2, 2011 at 4:36 PM

Nothing is more beautiful to me than a 'foreign' accent, and it's probably because so many of my violin teachers and mentors have been from a different country than I am.

Of course, 'foreign' depends entirely on where you're standing on the globe at any given moment. I'm aware that my English has its own foreign accent, though Coloradans (I grew up in Aurora) are often described as having accent-less English. So not only do I have an American accent, I have a boring one!

My teachers and mentors have been from Portugal, Russia, Poland, Switzerland… In college, I adored my Russian conductor's metaphors (even when he told us we sounded like "wet chickens," I'm guessing something was lost in translation there?). My Portuguese teacher didn't understand why I copied his Portuguese words into my music when I was copying in bowings and fingerings. Well, knowing Spanish, I basically understood the little instructions, and they didn't mean quite the same thing, translated into English.

Often there is more than a musical exchange going on between teacher and student -- there is a cultural exchange as well.

I love the diversity of the talented people who make up the musical world; not all fields have this. So here is my question for you: have any of your violin teachers been from a different country than yours? And please describe below, what country are you from, and where have your teachers been from?

From Michael Divino
Posted on April 2, 2011 at 4:40 PM

 Japan :) 

From Leisa Miller
Posted on April 2, 2011 at 4:45 PM

My current teacher is from Poland. I love her accent! :D

From Heather Donnelly
Posted on April 2, 2011 at 4:54 PM

Both my teachers are foreign! 

In my first case, *I* was the foreigner.  She was a lovely Australian lady who taught me for a year while I was living in Sydney. My teacher here in Boston is a violist from Taiwan, and she is also lovely.

From Erika Burns
Posted on April 2, 2011 at 5:50 PM

 Most of my teachers have been from the states, but one was from Australia! 

From Clark McCormick
Posted on April 2, 2011 at 9:33 PM

We are Canadians living in Iceland. My daughter has been taught, so far, by an Icelander and currently by an Estonian.

From Steve Reizes
Posted on April 2, 2011 at 11:38 PM

Actually I have both, my early teachers were from the U.S., even So. California like me, my current teacher is from Soviet Russia.

From David Christianson
Posted on April 3, 2011 at 12:00 AM

My teacher was born in Ukraine. I think it's cool that he follows a line of fabulous Ukrainian-born violinists (Oistrakh, Milstein, Kogan, Stern). I believe he said he was from Dnipropetrovske, same as Kogan. I love the accent... I used to believe Ukrainian was the same as Russian, but he has otherwise enlightened me. :)


From Mendy Smith
Posted on April 3, 2011 at 1:18 AM

When I 'restarted' viola, I took lessons from a Russian woman in Malaysia at a Chinese music school. The only language we had in common was some Italian and occasional German (musical notations). 

The few times we went out to dinner together, we always went to the one and only Italian restaurant in town.  We'd raise a glass and declare it "dolce!".  ;)

From Anne-Marie Proulx
Posted on April 3, 2011 at 6:02 PM

My teacher is from Ukraine (at the URSS time) so she says she is Russian and also speaks Russian as her first language.  

I am from Canada.  The first soloist I saw and heard live was Vadim Repin when he came to Montreal.  One says we are fasten to what we see first.  (as baby chickens...) It seems that it was true because ever since I had this fascination for Russian classical musicians and their music art and culture.  After I heard about Bron, Vengerov, Oistrakh, Kogan, Milstein.   I am forever impressed with Oistrakh's musicality. 

I love every music culture but what I find so cool about Russian musicians is that they are scientifical about their music.  They analyse it in a really straigh to the point, down to earth and disciplined way.  It's maybe to much "army like" for some people but it matches well with my personality. At the same time, their music is very signing and lyrical. 

But it's not the country that counts in the end, it's if the teaching styles matches with you or not...

Nowadays, musical cultures tend to be mixed.  One can teach a mix of schools because one studied with teachers from many countries. 

From Margaret Mehl
Posted on April 3, 2011 at 8:35 PM

I grew up in Germany and my first three teachers there were German (one from what was then East Germany). We spent 6 months in England when I was 10, during which time I had an English violin teacher. My last teacher while I was at school was from Japan. Later, while living in England, I had lessons with another teacher from Japan for a while.

From Asher Wade
Posted on April 4, 2011 at 2:27 PM

We're  ~ ALL ~ 'Strangers-in-aange-Land' !!!   My first teacher was from England (teaching me in Edinburgh, Scotland, while I am an American), my 2nd teacher was from Germany, & my 3rd & 4th teachers were from Russia, while I was living in Germany, USA & Israel, respectively.  As I've always said, it's not where you're 'from', but where you are 'now' that counts!

From Elizabeth Kilpatrick
Posted on April 4, 2011 at 2:50 PM

My current teacher is from Bulgaria originally. I love her accent...

From Mark Roberts
Posted on April 5, 2011 at 1:34 PM

I am english,  last teacher south african,  the one before israeli.

From Bart Meijer
Posted on April 7, 2011 at 11:50 AM

My previous teachers were from the Netherlands (my own country), Czechoslovakia, and England. My present teacher is from Romania. We have a saying:  "Wat je van ver haalt is lekker" (if it has been fetched from far away, it tastes good). But I don't believe it. I found my current teacher when I heard her try out violins at the luthier's. It was love, or rather recognition, at first hearing. The large influence of my Czech teacher may have primed me to find another teacher from central Europe: there is a great tradition of violin playing in those countries.

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