Violin Teacher Quotes

March 25, 2007 at 04:02 PM · What kinds of things do your teachers say that may be, well, out of the ordinary.

Once when telling me a story, he begain it like so: "...when i used to be arrogant" lol

"That strad wasn't too good"

"Your about as funny as a fart in a space suit.."

"I dont care how expensive your strings are, if you dont practice, they will sound bad no matter what"

Replies (100)

March 24, 2007 at 03:02 AM ·

March 25, 2007 at 04:53 PM · My teacher once described the second mvt of the Ravel duo as a "dysfunctional scherzo"--that one still gets giggles out of the whole studio.

March 26, 2007 at 04:45 AM · Thank God none of my students post here.

March 26, 2007 at 09:43 AM · "That sounded as if you're chocking the violin!" That's what she said once.

March 26, 2007 at 10:06 AM · "Look, when I had tea with Bach/Mozart/Brahms recently, he said ..."

"You do play like a musicologist" (which, btw, I am).

Quoting his teacher, Nicolas Chumachenco: "It always works the second time around" (to students who stop playing after having made a mistake and just start over)



March 26, 2007 at 01:02 PM · [Overheard once in a masterclass]

Student: "I don't like Schubert."

Teacher: "Do you like music?"

Student: "Yes."

Teacher: "Then you like Schubert."

:) Sandy

March 26, 2007 at 02:17 PM · I always got a kick out of seeing my instructor describe the motion of a well - executed down bow. He would first say "let your arm fall as if you fell asleep while playing." When he didn't see the motion he was looking for, it would result in "let your arm drop as if you were shot dead..."

In general, I was (and still am) fascinated with his stories of he and Perlman riding the bus together as kids, studying with Delay and Milstein, witnessing performers of a generation we can only see through video.

I recall he and his friends would "feel sorry" for the students at Julliard that had to settle for a French violin (in this case a Vuillame) as opposed to an Italian (take your pick.)

March 30, 2007 at 01:09 AM · I was once told (imagine a heavy Hungarian accent):

"Some violinists have a left hand that works like a Rolls Royce. Others have a left hand like a Mercedes, and so on. There are even some others whose left hand works like a truck".

"I suppose you're suggesting my left hand is like a truck?"

"No, it is more like a tractor!!"

March 30, 2007 at 03:32 AM · After I had played a few minutes really poorly, she said, “I pretend I didn’t hear it.”

Another teacher after listening to my playing said, "please come to my Masterclasses on Tuesdays ... so I get to insult you."

March 30, 2007 at 04:19 AM · My favorite quote from my teacher: "You can play spicatto...just think about how you bounce your checks and do it with the bow."

March 30, 2007 at 04:29 AM · Sorry I can't resist this one from a conductor:

"A rest is a window--not a toilet seat!"

March 30, 2007 at 06:08 AM · It was something like "Your vibrato is better than mine, but everything else sucks." Truth was, my vibrato was better than his and he sucked more every other way too.

March 30, 2007 at 12:40 PM · [Frustrated school orchestra director wiggling his fingers randomly like a bowl of spaghetti]: "If I conducted like you played, it would look like this!"

March 30, 2007 at 12:42 PM · may be to the players, he did conduct like that:)

March 30, 2007 at 12:59 PM · No, he was a good conductor. He also had a great sense of humor.

March 30, 2007 at 03:48 PM · Mr Kiradjieff to me:

"Quit thinking so much. Just play."


"Relax your face!", which sounds silly, but really helped.

March 30, 2007 at 04:47 PM · Mrs. Cerone---

after playing Ysaye 4 for her: "Sweetie, this is one of my favorite pieces and you just RUINED it for me."

after starting the Tchaikovsky concerto cadenza: "Sweetheart, what are you playing?!?! I didn't recognize it, start it again..."

after playing Carmen: "Honey, I know Carmen was a prostitute, but you DON'T need to play it so whorily!"

Franck Sonata: "This is GROSS and putrid! You gave me a mild nervous breakdown!"

March 30, 2007 at 05:07 PM · Andrew--ouch!

Some of my favorite quotes from the brilliant but often unintentionally humorous Dr. Rossitza Jekova-Goza:

Describing the second movement of the Ravel

violin-cello duo:

"This movement is sort of a dysfunctional scherzo..."

Advising the coordination of my bow arm: "You're

perfect on the E, D and G strings, it's just on the A

that your arm doesn't know whether it's a fish or a

crab." (Huh? a Bulgarian proverb perhaps?)

"Now, when I say this passage should sound hypnotic,

of course I don't mean like the Hypno-Toad on

"Futurama"... (Yikes! American culture jarringly


I'm not playing some passage with enough conviction:

"You need to be really ballsy there."

"When your intonation is only so-so there, it's like

bland canned soup. Pay more attention to the details,

make it a nice special homemade soup." (Another

Bulgarian proverb?)

A few minutes later: "Careful with that

bowstroke--it's kind of soupy." (No, maybe she's just


And now, my personal favorite: we're all at her annual

studio recital, and she's doing the standard

introducing-people-right-before-they-play thing.

Someone has just finished a Bach cello suite and the

next guy is about to play a different Bach. And I


"Now, if that last piece had ended on a picardy third,

it would have set us up perfectly for the next


(Muffled giggles as everyone thinks: "Rossitza...we love

you to death, but you are SUCH a geek.")

March 30, 2007 at 08:02 PM · From my 50 year old professor today, while he was digging around in his cabinet looking for a VHS tape to transfer my audition to.

"I wonder what's on this one...hopefully not pornography, becacuse I'm about to play it!"

March 30, 2007 at 08:43 PM · Up at NYSSSA SOS, Maestro Russel Stanger (82 years old) says:

(a very high pitched sneeze sounds from the openly-homosexual 1st flutist, maestro is aware of the sneeze and his sexual orientation)

Maestro: Now that sounds like my 1st clarinet!!


Maestro: Bite me! (i forget the circumstances lol)


Mr Preddice: "What kind of rosin do you use?"

Mike: "The one with the bear on it..he plays the bass..uh..and yeah.."

Mr. Preddice: "That proves to me that there is room for all kinds of people in this world.."


"You have to play so well that you make the audience want to throw their babies on the stage." -Maestro Stanger


March 30, 2007 at 09:37 PM · From my Youth Symphony days, an angry rant by Maestro Richard Wagner (no joke on the name):

"Guys, you sound too civilized! Come on, Dvorak was CZECH! He was from BOHEMIA! That's where people don't bathe and they spit at you to get your attention. The Czechs are like the French, only without any touch of sophistication. THIS is where Dvorak is coming from, people!"

(Then picture me staring at him open-mouthed in disbelief...)

March 30, 2007 at 09:54 PM · Good one, Maura.

March 30, 2007 at 11:16 PM · A supposedly true story: Philosophy class, first session. Obvious jock swaggers in, plops down his bag, and truculently declares "I don't know nuttin' bout no Sock-rates or Pluto."

"Young man," replies the unflustered professor, "for centuries, philosophers have struggled to come up with a self-evident statement. You have just formulated one."

March 30, 2007 at 11:31 PM · If we get to include conductor quotes, I've got one:

Director, turning to the violin section: "Ok, start again, same place."

Violist: "Do you want violas too?"

Director, absentmindedly: "No, just strings."

March 31, 2007 at 12:55 AM · Another Mrs. Cerone quote:

(after having played octaves quite terribly)

"Sweetheart, your octaves have a case of the uglies!"

March 31, 2007 at 03:48 AM · Another conductor incident: at a summer festival last year, our conductor got so fed up with us making stupid mistakes that he stole a bucket from somewhere and kept it beside him on the podium. Anyone who made a stupid mistake had to put a dollar in the bucket...he made some pretty good money for poker...

March 31, 2007 at 04:16 AM · I suppose my favourite story (which came from my old violin teacher) concerned Maxim Jacobsen, the Russian/Jewish violinist and pedagogue, who settled in Portugal at one stage.

Someone once asked him:

"Mr Jacobsen, how much do you charge for your violin lessons"

[in a strong Jewish accent]"It depends. Do you want the expensive lessons, or the cheap lessons!"

March 31, 2007 at 04:39 AM · man, cerone gives great comments. very encouraging and helpful :)

March 31, 2007 at 06:33 AM · Back in the 1960's, I told Jascha Brodsky (then at the Settlement School in Philly) about how excited I was having heard Tchaikovsky's "Souvenir of Florence" for the first time. I thought he (being Russian) would reinforce my college-student enthusiasm. Instead, his deflating reply, in a heavy Russian accent, and with disdain:

"That piece is so bad they don't even play it in Russia."

March 31, 2007 at 01:01 PM · I had a teacher in a lesson tell me recently that Heifetz actually had a problematic bow hold, and right arm. I didn't say anything in reply. No words would come out.

March 31, 2007 at 01:01 PM · Mine should be so problemmatic.

March 31, 2007 at 01:58 PM · Freshman year....after working for several lessons on intonation, my dear teacher did her best to encourage me: " will play in tune"

After I had a rather unsuccsessful attempt, my teacher put his head in his hands and sighed: "Jenna, there's just an elegance when one plays in a consistent tonality."

March 31, 2007 at 03:16 PM · After having played three to five pages of pretty much anything:

"All right, now let's take the first note - play it back and forth and find your sound..."

From another - something along these lines:

"Sweetheart, it sounds beautiful, but when I look at you, you play like a secretary!"

"You know, actually you understand how to do everything. I just don't get why you don't."

On the D minor Sarabande:

"This is music that has lost a child. Do you know what it's like to hold your dead baby in your hands?"

Not so much funny as memorable.

After a chamber music coaching that had me so frustrated I was doing everything I could not to fall apart:

"But you were so close - if I'd pushed you *this* much more, you could have had it."

Great topic!

March 31, 2007 at 07:57 PM · "You have an intonation only a mother could love".

March 31, 2007 at 08:04 PM · Mr. Danchenko was a little more direct with me a few years ago: "You don't have bad intonation, you have no intonation."

(hey, Mr. D., if you're reading this, it's a lot better now...:)

March 31, 2007 at 09:34 PM · I just asked Mr. Danchenko about the veracity of the following famed story. Before I tell it, I want to point out that he didn't deny OR confirm it. He couldn't remember whether it actually happened but he did point out that, as he uses analogies and metaphors frequently while teaching, it's not IMPOSSIBLE that it did. I hope it's true, as it's something I frequently wish I could say:

A student has just finished playing...something or other. Victor Danchenko takes a deep breath and then says, ruminatively, "You know, my dear, there are several kinds of technique. Almost like different cars, in different lanes on a highway. In the left lane, we have a technique that is like a Maserati or a Lamborghini - flashy, impressive, 200 kph, no problems at all. In the middle lane, we have a technique like a Honda or a Toyota - not flashy, but reliable, gets the job done, 120 kph and secure. In the right the right lane we have a Moskvich. Or a Yugo. Maybe it gets you there. Maybe it doesn't. Maybe it blows up. Who knows? Now, my dear, of these three what kind of technique do you think you have?"

"Well," stutters the student, "I hope for the Maserati but, maybe, at least....the Toyota?"

"My dear," sighs Mr. Danchenko, (possibly), "you are on a BICYCLE. Going in the OPPOSITE DIRECTION!"

March 31, 2007 at 09:43 PM · Oh, and Ian? From our common teacher, Mr. Zyskind: "Intonation, sound and rhythm are like sunshine. They are unmissable. Now, the public can sometimes be an idiot. But even an idiot knows when the sun is shining and when it's pouring down rain."

March 31, 2007 at 09:51 PM · LOL Emil, that's great! (the Mr. Danchenko story, that is.) I dearly hope that's true, it sounds like something he'd say. :)

April 1, 2007 at 12:01 AM · Maura, LOL! You've got the best ones!

Here is another one: "Same problems. No improvement."

April 1, 2007 at 01:36 AM · Emil, share some of the famous others... :) But leave that teacher's name anonymous--those are the MOST entertaining :) especially their beethoven concerto concert video :)

April 1, 2007 at 02:36 AM · The one you're thinking of, Andrew, never said anything funny. Just sad and stupid things. And those never make fun reading.

April 1, 2007 at 06:31 AM · I used to have this habit of only playing the upper half of the bow. One day my teacher ask "you paid for the whole bow didn't you?". The following week, I came in with a little post-it note stuck on the lower with "50% discount section" written on it. :)

August 25, 2007 at 11:42 AM · That's wonderful. You have this piece memorized. Now you can learn to play it.

August 25, 2007 at 03:15 PM · Well, I guess it isn't really funny, but one of my teachers once said, "Yes it has to be in tune, but why?"

August 25, 2007 at 03:52 PM · My teacher studied piano with the great Cecile Genhart at Eastman. One day he was just beginning his attack whjen she cried out in her Swiss German accent. "Stop!". He turned to her and said "What is the matter? I haven't started yet." She replied "it was going to be oogly."

August 25, 2007 at 04:13 PM · My daughter's first teacher, a lovely Russian lady, was showing her the different schools of bow-holds: "Here, like this, this is the Franco-Belgian hold. And here, like this, this is the R-- ... the right hold."

(As it turns out, my daughter moved on to a Galamian hold with a different teacher in high school and now is with a teacher who has adjusted it slightly more toward Franco-Belgian.)

August 25, 2007 at 04:46 PM · I was playing a Brahms sonata once and my teacher goes "I think this piece actually has a future!"

And I was sitting there thinking....As opposed to everything else I've played?!

August 25, 2007 at 05:06 PM · My teacher once said "You can't play it at the indicated tempo until you play it 100 times turtle speed..."

August 25, 2007 at 09:13 PM · I was in college and it was my quartet's first concert. Afterwards I went up to Brodsky to ask him what he thought. He pulled me aside, told me a few things, and then said "But you have to play out more, dearie. I sometimes could barely hear you. You were like a fly sneezing in a cathedral!" LOL.

August 25, 2007 at 09:32 PM · Not bad.

Not good.

But, not bad.

August 26, 2007 at 03:10 AM · My teacher Dorothy DeLay had this pearl of wisdom after finishing a piece at a lesson, "Its good sugarplum, but keep going in the direction you were moving in".

August 26, 2007 at 03:25 AM · My teacher reached into his desk to grab something of relevance to my lesson. Out he pulls some sort of a hammer.

Me: "What's that for?"

Teacher: *shakes hammer in my direction with a humorous smug on his face* "What do you think it's for?"

Me: "Oh."

When I was trying to learn how to play chords in a Bach Fugue.

"No! Don't hurt your violin! You wouldn't hit your cat, don't hit your violin!"

August 26, 2007 at 04:19 AM · "I wish I had invested in a supply of 'But I played it better at home' badges!"


August 26, 2007 at 03:20 PM · Homer Garretson at SUNY Fredonia, "Play it wrong three times and you have it for life." Sue

August 28, 2007 at 03:53 AM · "Practice doesn't make perfect. Practice makes habit. And if you keep practicing new techniques without consulting someone who knows what the hell he's doing, you're going to wind up a big bag of bad habits...with a fiddle in the attic."

August 28, 2007 at 04:55 AM · Louis Richardson at SUNY Fredonia (about rhythmic problems) -

Listening to you is like watching a beautiful woman with two heads walking down the street.

Ken, you must be living in seven eight time.

August 28, 2007 at 10:18 AM · "Just think of your girlfriend -- who is over the mountains." (about Brahms, second movement)

"Bart, you _will_ play as an individual. But you have to respect the rhythm and the composer's intentions."

"If you play that way, it is probably better to switch to talking about music instead of playing."

"People often talk about which pieces they play, but that is not important. How they play them is the important thing."

"Just pretend you're an artist."

"You're an artist -- not a tenor!"

"Your left hand isn't that bad!" (my right hand was, conspicuously)

(from several teachers, who were all most amiable people)

August 28, 2007 at 11:21 AM · “It’s better to do a little bit well than a whole lot badly.”

August 28, 2007 at 11:47 AM · Overheard from one of my previous teachers (to remain unnamed) in a masterclass...

Disclaimer: These were not said to me

"The way you play sounds like a cat scraping its claws against a blackboard"


"Almost everyone I've heard today had terrible intonation but I'm still not sure about your's. It could be the weather"

"Do you stare out of the window when you practice?"

August 28, 2007 at 12:56 PM · In a brief moment of frustration (overheard, thankfully): "Do you have any other hobbies, sweetie?"

And from a conductor:"Don't play half assed! Use your full ass!" (idioms....they never translate!)

August 28, 2007 at 04:40 PM · "Stop being such a teenager*" (Only out by a factor of two or three).

"That was far too English. Put some passion into it. Imagine some hunk you really fancy is over on the other side of the room watching you - now play!" (And I'm even not English)

*What I think she meant was "stop being so shy and embarrassed". Sincere apologies to the teenagers on this site.

August 28, 2007 at 07:57 PM · During my lesson today, when discussing the incessant bouncing I kept encountering, despite even the steadiest, most deliberate movements:

"Either you need a new bow, or you need to get checked for Parkinson's disease. You both seem to be about the right age."

He has something like this to say just about every week during my lessons...and I wouldn't want it any other way. :)

August 29, 2007 at 09:57 AM · Hmm, it's clear to me that I am too polite to my students.

Look out, kids!


September 1, 2007 at 07:31 AM · Greetings,

I can`t remeber who said it but it was some famous violinist to King George tyhe Third or thereabouts.

George) How am I doing?

Teacher) Your majesty, there are three classes of violinist: Those who cannot play at all; those who play badly and those who play well. Your majesty has already managed to reach the second class.



September 1, 2007 at 08:36 AM · Joachim,wasn't it?Remember reading it in Auer's book..

September 3, 2007 at 09:26 PM · I thought it was Salomon, but I could be wrong...

September 3, 2007 at 11:30 PM · My teacher's parrot a few weeks ago squaked, "awwwkk, you suck." Teacher said "don't take it personally, he says that to everyone." LOL

September 4, 2007 at 03:52 AM · "You snatched defeat from the jaws of victory!"

September 4, 2007 at 05:53 PM · Found myself saying this today to indicate the one note that was NOT in the same position as the others (in the E major Prelude of Bach):

"The F#, E and D are the citizens; the G sharp is the emigrant."

September 4, 2007 at 07:03 PM · In college I told my teacher I wasn't planning to take my violin with me for Christmas break (about 1.5 weeks) because I was afraid it would be stolen on the overnight train I took - especially after my friend's laptop was stolen that way. He responded, "Your violin is like your dog! You take it with you!"

September 4, 2007 at 07:25 PM · "you have talent, but that doesn't mean anything.."

"do you want to become a musician, or a violinist?"

"I vant to 'eer everyzing!" (Russians lol)

September 4, 2007 at 08:50 PM · These are some of the good ones from my teacher, luckily none of them were said to me.

Regarding shifting: "Save leaps of faith for church."

About shifting on a whole step on the off-beat: "If you're going to do that, let me know so I can leave!"

Regarding Barber concerto runs: "I like to talk about treating short notes like ugly stepchildren...You have a whole orphanage!"

"The only legitimate excuse to stop during a performance is sudden death."

Many more at a facebook group about my teacher!


September 4, 2007 at 10:26 PM · "It doesn't matter if you can play perfectly in a practice room." - Herbert Greenberg

September 4, 2007 at 11:50 PM · "You're smart and you have a wicked sense of humor!" Said to me by the most famous teacher in the U.S.A.!

September 6, 2007 at 09:32 PM · ... and then you took your foot off of his head, Jim? ;-)

September 7, 2007 at 05:59 AM · Close. They must have liked how I had my foot on somebody else's head, best I can figure.

September 7, 2007 at 01:00 PM · My first teacher told me to stop sightreading my lesson with "What would your mother think if she heard this?" (And of course, my mother WAS a violinist, so that was a serious threat, because I knew he would tell her at the next symphony rehearsal)

Another teacher said to me, when I was struggling with a nasty passage, and had not thought out my fingerings too well, " The first commandment of Violin playing is Know thy fingerboard!!"

And of course my personal favorite, from a collegue that I ask to listen to me from time to time, "Molly, what the h#$$ was THAT?" Ha, funny.

September 10, 2007 at 04:36 AM · Teacher: There is a musical genius born every 100 years, and there is a ton of work for the rest of us.

September 10, 2007 at 05:00 AM · My old conductor was describing the beautiful nature scene depicted in ravel's daphnis and chloe for 10 minutes.

Then he got stung by a bee and exclaimed,

"nature sucks!"


There are going to be five year olds at this concert. I want to see wet spots on their seats after they leave.

"'The Rite of Spring' gives a new definition to 'bipolar.'

September 10, 2007 at 01:45 PM · When I was studying Glazunov concerto with Paul Makanowitsky, he remarked, " I played the concerto for the composer. He died shortly after."

January 28, 2008 at 12:25 AM · "You need to sound more drunken!"

January 28, 2008 at 01:43 AM · "You never stop learning the violin!" -Mayos Esmilla

"It makes sense: you use half the bow [hair], you only get half the sound!" -Rose Puertollano, reminding me to draw the bow evenly across the strings

January 28, 2008 at 02:05 AM · my teacher doesn't waste time with humor, she just wants to see me improve during a whole hour...

(that isn't to say i don't say something funny at times) but she's Asian and would probably kick my ass if I was her son... lol


January 28, 2008 at 03:30 AM · I was hoping this thread would come back! I have observed some of the funniest coaching sessions with my son's quartet as well as some intentionally funny comments from the same, very cute, very Spanish, coach in private lessons.

The quartet consisted of two 9 year-olds, and two 11-year-olds. They were playing a Haydn Quartet, sitting together for the first time. Their excited parents were all in the audience along with a couple of grandparents, if I recall properly. After they played, they all looked expectantly at the coach who didn't say anything for a long time. Then he said, "Aye, Aye, Aye, Aye, Aye! I feel like something is driving screws into my head!" The kids, all from very sweet Suzuki teachers didn't know what to think. Pretty soon the parents started to giggle.

A few months later the same kids were playing the Haydn "Lark". My son was playing viola for the first time. I had written finger numbers in the music to be helpful. (As a non-player I had figured them out the best I could.) The coach started with the cellist, then the second violin, then the first violin and when he got to my son he said, "And you! What were you doing!" and gave him a little bop on the back of his head. Then he looked at the music and he said, "Oh, yes, the viola - it is going to be hell for the next two weeks!".

Once my son's lesson followed that of a very statuesque college student's. Before she left, the teacher said "Say hello! Don't be shy, she's a beautiful woman!" I think he was still nine at the time and very, very embarrassed!

Other assorted funny quotes:

"Sing it like a B" I was quite puzzled until he said "You know, belch it out!" He meant "belt it out" like a female opera singer.

"Aye! A trucha!" Meaning something is fishy or I think I caught the fish.

"There is some grass... and then there are some weeds!"

"Pulgas! Like pulgas!" Meaning the left hand fingers moving like jumping fleas.

This teacher is delightful! As it turns out he is also a brilliant teacher!

January 28, 2008 at 08:47 PM · I heard this from an older student of my teacher about a veeery well known violinist who was his rival. The student said "I just saw ----- ----- perform the Beethoven violin concerto and he got a standing ovation!!" To which my teacher replied "Standing ovation I don't know, but it certainly is easier to put your coat on while standing"

January 28, 2008 at 09:18 PM · I won't include anything from my pre-McDonald days (ahem...some of you will know why), but recently in studio, she said to me:

"That was just lovely, but if you don't stop moving, I'm going to stick a yardstick down your pants."

Well, I got a metal yardstick a few days ago....and hey, my tone is about 100 times better! Haha :)

January 29, 2008 at 08:09 AM · Peter Mountain (one time concertmaster of the old BBC Training Orchestra in the UK) was asked to take the violins away for some coaching on some tricky bit of the orchestra music. After an hour or so he came back with them all. "Well" said the conductor, "Is it any better?"

"I wouldn't say it is better" he replied " but it is definitely more confident!"

January 29, 2008 at 11:24 AM · Me after playing a piece of Bach: "I'm sorry, I think I was a bit sharp then in places..."

Teacher: "no, you were sharp AND flat at the same time... I don't know how you managed it..."

And a really good piece of advice on stage fright which helped me a lot.....

"Nobody is interested in you, the composer already made the music so beautiful - just communicate it to the audience. The 'giving' of music is the greatest pleasure - just open up honestly to the audience and there's no time to get nervous"

January 29, 2008 at 05:48 PM · During a band rehearsal I mistakenly came in in a spectacular way during a bar of rest. My band director replied with: "When in doubt, leave it out." (Only when the part you're playing is being duplicated by many others.)

When the old saying "Practice make perfect." was voiced by a young musician, a teacher I once had replied: "Not so. Practice makes less worse."

January 29, 2008 at 08:23 PM · A music history teacher, when upset over something... "That sucks eggs like a rabid coon dog!"

I still have no idea what he meant.

January 29, 2008 at 10:42 PM · Greetings,

yesterday our piano trio was coached by Ayu Wakabayashi. We were playing Mozart and got onto the topic of the recoridng by Dumnay and some other French colleagues. Anyone familiar with that recording will know that it is absolutely beautiful, original and stylistically utterly bizarre and distorted. Every dotted 8th is practically a portato, ends of phrase s are held over for extra beats and so on. All done with gallic verve.

Mrs Wakabashi said with her usual deadpan Japanese politness `Well, that is very French Style Mozart. Personally, I studied in Vienna for so long I am going to play it Viennese style. Oh, Buri, you are English so you can play it British style if you like.`

`Actually I have been in Japan so long I have forgotten what England is like.`

`Oh. In that case pleas e play it Japanese style.`

Man, I get into some weird conversations sometimes....



January 29, 2008 at 11:11 PM · When I made a mistake, my teacher formed her hand into a gun shape, put it against my head and said, "Play that passage again. If you mess up, BANG!"

"Jasmine, I know you're a virgin, but you do not have to play like one."

January 29, 2008 at 11:26 PM · My teacher studied piano with Cecile Genhardt at Eastman. One day he was about to start his assigned piece. Mrs. Genhardt detected a flaw in his posture and shouted "stop!" just before he played. He stopped and looked at her quizzically. She added in her inimitable Swiss German accent "It was going to be oogly".

January 30, 2008 at 12:00 AM · From a guitar 'friend':

"Your fingertips ramble all over the

fingerboard--like a crazed maniac".

January 30, 2008 at 12:40 AM · My teacher does not have funny quotes. But, I have one from Arnold Steinhardt.

Arnold Steinhardt plays the opening of Saint Saens no. 3......

Toscha Seidel: STOP!!!!

Toscha comes by and glares up at him (he is short).

"You play like a dead feesh." He then whacks him with his bow, sits down, and resumes smoking.

January 31, 2008 at 03:16 PM · "Play like you're a violinist"

January 31, 2008 at 03:35 PM · Slightly off topic - A story from a recorder virtuoso about one of his beginning students:

"This story dates considerably more than ten years back, but I've never forgotten it.

Giulia, eight years old, looked to me like Little Orphan Annie. A big mop of curly hair and the largest, darkest eyes I'd ever seen. Giulia was a very slow learner on the recorder. We spent most of a school year studying the first (left-hand only) section of the Duschenes method (soprano). Around March, we were still on "Mary had a little lamb"! She'd look at the music, look at her fingers, play one note (badly), look at the music, look at fingers, play another note badly, etc. Excruciating! That day, my patience worn thin, I said to her, "Giulia, you don't need to look at your fingers when you play. Watch this." And I proceeded to play the first "capricio" from the last section of the Giesbert at lightening speed from memory all the way through with my eyes closed. I then stopped and looked at her for her response. She opened her huge black eyes and said, "Did you study the recorder, too?"

April 4, 2008 at 01:51 PM · when playing Kreisler - Preludium and Allegro in my lesson yesterday (teacher is SB):

"[SB winces] that didn't sound right. try it again like this [SB plays it perfectly]"

the thing is i just started this piece 2 or 3 weeks ago...

April 4, 2008 at 08:29 PM · "Now you're starting to sound like a violinist!" (As opposed to what?)

My longtime teacher is a petite, feisty Japanese American who sometimes is funny no matter what she is saying. She makes the best facial expressions ever, especially when in disbelief.

Jacques Israelievitch once began a critique (in a most charming French accent): "Neecole, I don't mean to cramp your style, but..."

He also asked if I was afraid of my fourth finger. I replied sheepishly, "Actually...yes!"

Is it true that Galamian told Steinhardt he was the third greatest violinist in the world, next to Heifetz and everyone else?

April 4, 2008 at 08:19 PM · This one isn't exactly a teacher quote, but happened while I was student teaching. We were having a little talk about enthusiasm and how you should try to play your best even when you don't like the piece. I had just done a gig with a couple students, so I thought it might help to point out the job potential.

"Is Pachelbel's Canon [principal cellist]'s favorite piece?" I said. "Of course not. But he gets paid good money to make a bride happy on her wedding day."

Another student blurted out, "He's a gigolo??"

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