Does rigorous classical training keep violinists from being creative?
Lately I've seen a lot of discussion on Violinist.com and elsewhere about the idea that a rigorous classical training, which teaches a high level of technique, can sometimes pound the creativity out of a student.
I'd like to have a little vote on this, and encourage people to chime in with their thoughts on the matter. So here's the vote, and then I'll give you my thoughts:
In our modern world, we are surrounded by what I'll call "immediate gratification music." Punch "play" on your iPod and you can instantly hear -- rendered with perfect clarity and sound mix -- anything from a Beethoven Symphony to '80s techno pop to jazz to rap to Lady Gaga to... ANYTHING.
Why should anyone work at acoustic music? Particularly, why work to achieve a high level of technique, when it takes SO long to get there. If someone decides they like the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto, it could well take 10 years of studying the violin, just to play it. Won't that beat the desire out of a student, all the scales and double-stop etudes and other pieces they must play in the interim?
But, whether you want to play the Tchaikovsky Concerto or a really kick-ass version of the Orange Blossom Special, at some point you need to actually learn how to play the instrument. That means you need to know some very specific things about how to hold the instrument and bow, to produce a good tone, to play in tune, perhaps to read music. If you want the thrill of playing that fast, high-risk high-reward music that is such a fun ride, you'll also need to learn to play up high on the fingerboard, to do bow with strokes like spiccato and ricochet, to produce a great vibrato, to play with fast fingers, achieve a very high level of coordination and more.
It takes a lot of work, and likely a lot of help, support and mentorship. I think that classical music actually offers the highest level of help, support and mentorship for completely mastering an instrument! And with mastery, you can create whatever you want, in any genre of music.Tweet
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