Greetings, Questions and Thanks

March 20, 2004 at 05:40 AM · Greetings all,

I'm 29, started learning the violin about 2 years ago and discovered not long after. I have been 'lurking' this forum on and off for almost that long now, and what can I say...It is one of the best online experiences I think I have ever had!

Living in San Francisco after the economy crashed, I have been on a very limited budget; While my teacher has been *extremely* flexible regarding money and schedule, sometimes, I just couldn't afford to see her for extended periods...During those periods, this site has helped me in so many ways!

Wheather I was having difficulty with something related to technique/theory or just wanted to learn something new, I was always able to find a great deal of information just by looking through the forum.

The other thing (and this is what really stood out for me) was the amount of help and support that people have to offer each other. While I have seen many clashes of opinion and many a feather get ruffled, you seem on the whole to really encourage and show appreciation to each other.

I could ramble on in this manner, but some of you would probably get bored and I'd really like to post a few questions, comments and thanks before you all stop reading this:

Alison Loram: Your comments have been so helpful! I have been reading just about every thread I can find where you are discussing the Alexander Technique...As a matter of fact, I am taking my first lesson today (with a women who also plays violin professionally!). I am really looking forward to it and, thanks to you, Brian Jennings, Susan D and Buri (and others), I feel well-prepared for the experience that awaits me. One question: You had pointed out that, there are many schools of thought for AT; is obviously not in my locale, so I went to the sister site (, but I couldn't find a teacher close enough (I don't have a car), so I went to ...Do you know if they have the same Physiological approach that you were advocating?

Steven Perry: Your insights in woodworking and instruments is immense! Thanks to your comments in a (long dead) thread, I found an old german 'no-name' and, with the help of my luthier, managed to get 100 times the sound out of it that I would ever dare hope for from my first violin (modern factory Czechoslovakian beast...ugh!). After reading your comments (both her and at your website) I think I'd like to buy one of yours some day (if I can ever afford it).

Mattias Eklund: You are like the human database! I can't remember a thread regarding a performer or an album where you didn't have something interesting and previously unknown to add to it. You have truely broadened my knowledge and appreciation of the history of classical music as well as my collection!

Emil Chudnovsky: Like Mattias, you have often made the history of the violin come alive in ways that one just can't get in a classroom. I have read many threads in which you have added many interesting (and some times amusing) anecdotes; What further enhances the experience for the reader (me) is that much of it is from your own experiences! It really personalizes the story, at least for me...Finally, I really wish I could have made your recital; Santa Rosa is so close yet so far...And I had to work...However I am glad to see Laurie made it to (and reported on) your Malibu recital. Cheers!

Scott68: It's your fault my bookmarks are overflowing! I need to add a section under the violin tab labeled 'Scott68'...Truely helpful for an independant study like me! Thanks, man! ...By the way, I recently got to see Joseph Gold perform (His Zigeunerweisen was absolutely Awesome!), and afterwards, I went to his site, but it is rather any links on him?

Buri: ...Hmmm...I could waste about 20 pages describing all the ways I have benefited from your various posts...But, as I recall, you were utterly embarrassed by the fairly recent post in praise to you, so I'll try to spare you. Just let me say that you have my greatest thanks and my utmost respect! In addition the to Alexander Technique (mentioned above), the huge list of referances for technique and literature you have offered, and the relentless frequency in which you have offered them, have been utterly priceless! In addition the the (still growing) 'Buri file' on my hard drive, I am starting to look into some of the books you have mentioned (got my copy of 'Basics' last week...I should be able to get through that material in about 2 lifetimes...); In particular, your posts on the Son File (spelled right?), has helped my sloppy bow-arm immensley (still sloppy, but a better sounding sloppy!). Do you have any links that might help; Perhaps ones with diagrams? And of course, it is always helpful to read insights from the worlds leading expert on prunes!

Laurie Niles: What can I say, without you, I would never have met all these great people (in my mind's eye they I have participated an these discussions and feel I know allot of them as a result). It has truely been a blessing. In addition, I don't normally care to read other people's random commentaries, but I am utterly hooked on your 'Ad Lib' (blog)! Some of them have been informative, while others have been downright moving! I truely wish you the best of luck with your upcomming audition and hope to catch you perform some time in the future. Finally, Thanks so much for creating this wonderful space for people to teach and learn!

There are many others here I'd like to thank, but this post is getting really long, so I'll save it for some other post. Let me just say thanks to all and best of luck in your attempts to tame the devil's instrument.

Replies (13)

March 20, 2004 at 07:12 PM · buri file? thats kinda scary...

welcome to the forum! i live in sonoma county, so i'm close by.

March 20, 2004 at 09:37 PM · Greetings,

Owen, I knew the FBI had a file on me. But...

Anyway, if you check out Scott 68"s web Blog you can find a lot of good links,



March 20, 2004 at 10:39 PM · Owen: You live in Sanoma? Let me know next time you perform! I guess I really missed out as you and Emil were both at the Santa Rosa performance...By the way, how's the Staccato work going?

Buri: That's what you get for posting so much...

March 21, 2004 at 02:58 AM · I figured it out, i was using too much wrist. Now i just need a good downbow stacatto, sigh, dont we all.

March 24, 2004 at 05:38 AM · Owen, try coughing with your bow on the string. Works like a charm.

March 24, 2004 at 10:56 PM · Hi Ryan,

First of all, bravo! Your comments and praise are dead on. We are lucky indeed to have access to such wonderful expertise to say nothing of the interesting personalities. Now, I have a question for you: You mentioned finding an Alexander teacher who is also a violinist. Would you mind sharing this person's name? I live in Berkeley.

Thank you and good luck, Marty

March 24, 2004 at 11:33 PM · Hello Marty,

Her name is Josephine Gray, and the site I found her on was:

However, we are fortunate enough to have a *ton* of options in the Bay Area, so you could also find someone in Berkley (I don't know if there are any violinists there).

I would highly recommend you check out everyone's comments on the AT thread here as well. As Alison likes to point out, not all teachers teach the same thing.

I was really weary about my first lesson with Josephine, but most of what she taught and the way she taught it seemed pretty much the way Alison and Buri described it. And I just liked her as a person (key for any teacher-student relationship).

If you do go to her, let her know I sent you!

Best of luck,


April 27, 2004 at 12:32 AM · Ryan. I'm glad you've found a teacher that you like and sorry that I didn't respond to your Q about I didn't pick up on it til today - I've been away in any case. I'm glad you found my comments helpful. I'm only saying what I think and am not trying to put myself forward as some kind of expert. I'm just someone who used to play the violin and is still passionate about it, who, is passionate also about the AT and in this instance, it's application to music. It's difficult for me to comment on what others teach if I don't know them. The approach that PAAT takes is not necessarily taken by all teachers since it is based on anatomy and physiology and (and the writings/teachings of Alexander of course). This isn't the case for all teachers, and therefore not all are aware that there is a more "psychological" side to the Technique (human physiology includes the brain and thought). The main thing is that you have found someone that you are happy with and who is helping you... I hope it goes well and that you enjoy your violin lessons. Best wishes........A

April 27, 2004 at 12:52 AM · Thanks Alison!

Actually, one of the reasons for this thread (aside from the obvious: to introduce myself) was to show thanks for the useful information I have recieved from all of you.

I use all information gained here as a starting point, but in the end, I know it really comes down to what works for me, wheather it's AT, violin, or life in general.

None the less, it is always nice to hear from people with experience and for that, you all have my gratitude.

The problem with being a child is you have very little information upon which to form an opinion; The problem with being an adult is you often have too much...I joyously dance on the fine line between the two...

Thanks again.


April 27, 2004 at 04:42 AM · hmmm .... so you didn't find my thread on William Hung helpful? oh well ...

April 27, 2004 at 05:32 AM · Greetings,

Rod, probably to overwhelmed to cooment. Don`t feel bad,


April 27, 2004 at 05:37 PM · You know, it's funny, but I've never actually heard of William joke...

But I've been busy trying to tackle fiddle bowing so I can play some Celtic peices for an upcomming re-enactment event, so I haven't been on the forums much...

April 27, 2004 at 06:35 PM · Hi Ryan,

I have a favor to ask. Would you mind asking your new Alexander teacher is she could recommend someone in the East Bay. It's difficult for me to get over to San Francisco on a regular basis but I would love to find an AT teacher who is also a violinist and works with musicians and has an office in or near Berkeley.

Thank you very much, Marty

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