Violin teacher quotes

June 22, 2006 at 04:31 AM · I thought it would be nice to share funny or special remarks from our teachers about our playing...

Here are mine:

"Violin playing has to sound divine. Your playing sounds human."

"Try to play that Beethoven sonata with more passion. Think you're his girlfriend."

"If you don't use the whole bow, I will be angry and then I get purple with green spots on it." (my first teacher, when I was a child)

Replies (100)

June 22, 2006 at 05:37 AM · "Use your whole bow, after all you bought the whole thing."

June 22, 2006 at 05:59 AM · "this is how you scare away a tiger"

yes... one of my violin teachers taught me how to scare off dangerous wild animals by using a chair.

June 22, 2006 at 01:51 PM · "when you're retaking; when your bow returns to the string, it needs to be like a boeing 747. now, see? you killed all the passengers."

"well, the violin has certain erogenous zones which should and should not be stimulated..."

one of my old teachers had some problems with English, so when he was teaching his student, instead of telling her to bring her knuckles up more in her right hand, he exclaimed "show your nipples more! your nipples! show them!"

me: "you mean knuckles."

him: "oh right, of course."

June 22, 2006 at 06:23 AM · "Get out of here and don't come back!"

June 22, 2006 at 07:08 AM · Kantor: "Look at the back of your violin. What does it remind you of?"

David: "Um... I don't know."

Kantor: "A woman's body! Dave, you need to get out more."

"To put it into technical terms, you need to ameliorate the splat potential. (Realizing what he said was recorded on video tape) Dave, do you realize the potential for blackmail here?"

"We want a 'nice kitty, nice kitty' kind of stroke here. Not a 'bad dog!' nice kitty..."

"Your stroke was a bit... well, as our 'friend' would say, nucular."

Ah, good old PK. I love that man to death.

June 22, 2006 at 07:11 AM · After playing Allemanda of the 2nd Partita to my teacher, she said,"Your Bach sounds like choking. Use more bow and let the music breath".

Every now and then I bring a CD or DVD and lend it to my teacher. When she returned it in the next lesson and I said how beautiful the playing was, she'd say, "Real violins, even if it's a Strad never sound like those you hear in a CD recording. So don't feel too bad if what you play aren't as 'beautiful' as those in the CDs".

Since I played the piano before, it only took me half a year to reach Grade 4. Now at Grade 7 and started to struggle, she said, "Finally you've reached a level where you will have to practice like the rest of us".

June 22, 2006 at 11:43 AM · "Eeeeek."

"You're supposed to play it in thirds, not in turds."

June 22, 2006 at 12:55 PM · "Intonation is like being pregnant. You are not more or less pregnant. Either you are pregnant or you are not pregnant.... That means it was out of tune, do it again!"


June 22, 2006 at 01:19 PM · An 80-something -year old Jascha Brodsky to a quartet of 10-12 year old girls :

"What? Change that damned fingering and CHANGE that damned bowing! Scratch it the hell out!"

Then,(hand over mouth in mock horror): "Oh, excuse me ladies!"

June 22, 2006 at 01:19 PM · An 80-something -year old Jascha Brodsky to a quartet of 10-12 year old girls :

"What? Change that damned fingering and CHANGE that damned bowing! Scratch it the hell out!"

Then,(hand over mouth in mock horror): "Oh, excuse me ladies!"

June 22, 2006 at 02:29 PM · Student (sitting behind a piano) and professor during a composer's platform (imagine a hall with audience):

P: What is music about?

S: Euh, about ordening sounds, pitches and rhythms, blablabla (gives long explanation)

P: No! What is music about?

S: Euh, about expressing human feelings, blablabla (tries to get his way out)

P: No! - Bangs on the piano - It's all about sex and death!

June 22, 2006 at 02:31 PM · Me: "You know, Maggie, I know this is gonna sound ridiculous, but I actually think I might just be too crazy to be a musician."

Her: "That's hilarious! You should put that in an e-mail and send it out to all your friends!"

June 22, 2006 at 02:48 PM · "You call that clean?"

"Do you ever want a bow arm?"

June 22, 2006 at 03:21 PM · "Get it, Bud" and he'd hit me over the head with his bow.

(My first teacher when I was 8-10 years old; he called all his students Bud, saving him any need to remember their actual names)

June 22, 2006 at 05:05 PM · Starting Tchaikovsky concerto for Linda Cerone:

"Sweetheart, WHAT was THAT?"

"Oh, it was Tchaikovsky concerto..."

"Well, honey, start it again, I couldn't recognize it."

After playing Ysaye for her:

"Sweetheart, this is one of my FAVORITE pieces and you RUIN it for me."

After playing Carmen for her:

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

June 22, 2006 at 05:30 PM · Sander Marcus and Andrew Sords,

I can't see how the remarks which you quoted show the student how to play beautifully. Rather, they strike me as being demoralizing, and a distraction from serious work. I would think better of the teacher who, had he thought of them, would have the self discipline to keep silent.

June 22, 2006 at 05:13 PM · Here is a good Heifetz quote from one of his masterclasses.

"You are the stingiest person when it comes to the bow. Use more bow! I'll take it away from you if you don't"

"It sounds panicky" I don't think's it's a very good thing to convey to the public that you're in a panic. You're panicky and confidential. Quite a combination."

June 22, 2006 at 05:50 PM · Mr. Steiner,

Ordinarily I would agree with you. However, as Mrs. Cerone is a formidable pedagogue who has been at the top of her game for 45 years, I think she knows what she's talking about. :) I shared those quotes because I thought they were entertaining. I'm sorry if you disagree.

June 22, 2006 at 06:13 PM · Yes Mr. Steiner, I was about to say... first of all I've heard from several people that Ms. Cerone

is a very sweet lady, not to mention one of the most sought after teachers in the world... somehow I suspect she knows how to teach.

June 22, 2006 at 06:24 PM · Actual quotes from well-known violin professionals as told to my face:

"You won't get into this orchestra. Asian guys like you try out all the time, and the concertmaster never wants anybody in the section who can play circles around him. None of you guys ever gets out of the first round no matter how well you play". He was RIGHT.

"Professor XXXX (a very BIG NAME professor) told me watch out for Chinese Juilliard boys in audition. He say you all professionals".

June 22, 2006 at 08:34 PM · Oliver. You're right. They were very funny comments at the time, and we both laughed. But otherwise, I don't think I learned anything from them.

Unfortunately, I don't remember the really motivating comments, and there certainly were more than a few.


June 22, 2006 at 09:50 PM · I wanted to post a quote from my professor, but apparently this computer or this website doesn't allow any swearwords...

I'll try again:

This is a f* Neapolitain sixth chord, the strongest chord in tonal music! Sh* man, what do you want more!


I hope you are not recording this lesson :-S

June 22, 2006 at 11:20 PM · "Piano is just a small forte"

Attributed to Rafael Bronstein.

June 22, 2006 at 11:52 PM · Larry Shapiro, though it's not all that funny: "Crescendo means quiet!!" In other words, don't get loud suddenly when you see a crescendo, but stay quiet and then grow.

Brahms, when asked if he was married (hopefully I'm getting this right, I'm not really sure if it's exactly what he said, or even a hundred percent sure it was he who said it.): "No, unfortunately, thank God!"

June 23, 2006 at 01:35 AM · Speaking of discouraging teacher quotes, I still remember virtually word for word my encounter with a teacher when I was 13.

This is long, but I hope relevant, as an example of what not to say to a prospective student.

I had been teaching myself to play since I was 7, being unable to afford lessons. Then a teacher in the junior high school began to encourage me, asking me to play Beethoven's Spring Sonata for her class, with her on the piano. She also had her class sing the chorale "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring", with me playing the oboe part on the violin.

Then a fellow student told me there was a former Boston Symphony member offering free lessons at the Boys' Club. I felt a sense of hope that maybe I would finally get some training that would allow me to become a "real" violinist. So I went to see Dr. Bernard.

First, he asked me to play a G major scale in two octaves. After my scale, he asked me to play it again, slowly. I did. Then he said "when you play a scale, you must not use vibrato. Scales and vibrato are like oil and water." Then he said I was not playing in tune, and that would be a very hard thing to overcome. Then he asked me what I had prepared to play for him.

I started playing the Allemande from the Bach second Partita. After a couple of lines, he stopped me. "Who told you that you were ready to play Bach? You should not be allowed to play Bach until you are ready to play it perfectly. What else do you have to play?"

I played the first movement of the Haendel D major sonata. He said "Bach and Haendel would be turning over in their graves to hear you play their music like that. You want to be a violinist? That is not possible. All these years, you have been playing incorrectly, learning bad habits. You have been playing for seven years. Before you could even start learning how to play right, you would have to unlearn all those bad habits. That would take seven years. By then you would be too old to stand a chance at a career in music. you have to start when you are young. Even if I started teaching you at seven, that might be too late to start.

"Look at your little finger. It curls up under the neck. When you need it, you have to drag it oll the way out from under the neck. You can never play at full speed with that kind of problem."

He then offered to give me lessons if I promised to follow his instructions without question, and never play any music that he didn't assign. And I should forget about ever becoming a professional.

I'm not sure what he was expecting. Maybe that would motivate a tough skinned person and get them to work very hard to catch up. For me, it was just a killing blow to my already subterranean self esteem. I didn't go back to him for lessons. (I did correct the little finger problem with a couple of weeks of work.)

Now, about 44 years later, after a many other twists and turns, I am taking up the violin more seriously. I even hope to teach, if for no other reason than to treat students, even the least prepared, with the respect that I needed back then, and did not receive.

June 23, 2006 at 02:49 AM · Victor Danchenko: "AbsoLUTEly NO! I HATE it!!"

June 23, 2006 at 02:56 AM · My son was learning "Mr. Kendalls Warm Up" at his Suzuki group lesson.

To this day he calls it "Mr. Candles Warm Up"

He told the teacher:

"Mr. Candle = Warm Up...Get it!"

She resigned herself from that day to talk about Mr. Candle so as to avoid arguing with a 6 year old who would not let go of his air tight logic.

June 23, 2006 at 04:09 AM · "Go ahead. Just don't knock the corner off like my student did".

Ruggiero Ricci to me in 1997 when I asked him to try his "Gibson" Guarnerius. I was really young and dumb back then - I would never do that TODAY.

That was a great violin, deep and powerful with the characteristic smaller scale body of the Guarneri model. The bridge was so flat I could barely play the violin.

After I rushed through Paganini Caprice #4 middle section at an unmusical speed (mostly due to that unusual bridge that I wasn't used to, in retrospect), Ricci said to me "It's impossible to play it that fast".

June 23, 2006 at 04:13 AM · If Ricci says it's impossible... it probably is.

I hate trying other people's expensive violins unless I'm good friends with them. It's always kind of awkward.

June 23, 2006 at 04:18 AM · You're right on both counts, Pieter!

As I said, I was younger and dumber then.

June 23, 2006 at 05:13 AM · This was from my first lesson with this teacher (who is amazing, by the way). I was playing a G major scale and got to play it for a REALLY LONG TIME.

teacher: "You can play louder"

me: "ok" *tries*

teacher: "No, even louder"

me: "ok" *tries*

teacher: "You can still play louder!"

me: "how?!"

After that lesson, I could play louder and I knew how to play louder and make a better sound. :D I had a concert a couple of days later and my Grandma asked if I had done something to my violin or used a mic to make it louder.

June 23, 2006 at 06:02 AM · Paul Makanowitzky in my first lesson on Glazunov Concerto said,

"I played this concerto for Glazunov himself... He died shortly after."

June 23, 2006 at 07:09 AM · "You're only as good as your last performance."

June 23, 2006 at 11:31 AM · This isn't a teacher quote, but it's funny. There's a sort of documentary CD that came along with Gil Shaham's Four Seasons CD. On that documentary CD, he said someone said to him, "Hey, Gil, that's a nice axe you've got there. Mind if I try it?" He replied, "Of course I mind! I don't want your dirty little fingers all over my Stradivarius."

June 23, 2006 at 11:44 AM · Bruce, i LITERALLY burst out laughing at that one!

June 23, 2006 at 02:51 PM · When I first auditioned for Bronislav Gimpel, playing a 3 octave G major scale and about 8 bars of the Mendelssohn before he stopped me and asked - "Now, what is your primary instrument?"

Later, I was studying the Wieniawski #2 with him when he suggested I try his gorgeous Sanctus Seraphin. I was very nervous about doing so, but went ahead and struggled thru several passages. When I told him I wasn't used to his violin he said - "Well, the notes are all there. I've played them."

Finally, when Milstein asked him why he played the staccato passages in the Wieniawski in tempo, he responded - "because I can".

Loved that man.

June 23, 2006 at 04:15 PM · Kevin wrote:

"Actual quotes from well-known violin professionals as told to my face:

"You won't get into this orchestra. Asian guys like you try out all the time, and the concertmaster never wants anybody in the section who can play circles around him. None of you guys ever gets out of the first round no matter how well you play". He was RIGHT."

I could be wrong Kevin, but it sounds as if you are referring to the pudgy bald headed concertmaster of the NY Phil..In any case that is the case I have heard with that orchestra.

June 23, 2006 at 04:59 PM · In the Boston Latin School orchestra we were rehearsing "Aase's Tod" from Peer Gyntt, when a music teacher came in and said, "Good grief! Who died! It sounds like a funeral in here!"

Our conductor Mr. Famiglietti said "Thank you! That's just what we're going for! Good job, boys, I think we're done with this section."

Another time, the same conductor said, after we had mawled a section of Wagner's Die Meistersinger, "Come on, boys, I want to play this piece in the worst way!"

"Don't worry, sir, we will, we will!"

June 23, 2006 at 05:40 PM · Not really a teacher, but someone giving me advice before i started to play.

"It's not: practice practice practice, it's: practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice"

*catches her breath* "practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice"

me: "Ok, i get it!"

"Practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice......."

June 23, 2006 at 07:12 PM · Aaron Rosand and I are friends and ex neighbors. One time while discussing Heifetz, Aaron contemplated a minute, looked at me and said, "You know, when I hear you play you remind me of Heifetz." Knowing Aarons droll humor and also knowing that this couldn't be true, I asked him, "great, in what respect?" He looked up from his wine glass, flicked a big ash off his even bigger cigar and said, "you both have a bit of Arthritis in your shoulders."

June 23, 2006 at 07:13 PM · Wow, Stephen, Gil Shaham said that? I totally can't imagine him saying that for some reason.. haha

June 23, 2006 at 08:44 PM · Check out this site for some of the best and funniest teacher quotes by Felix Galimir.

June 23, 2006 at 09:44 PM · Gil Shaham to Kevin Huang in 1990: "No, I won't sign an autograph for you".

Gil Shaham to Kevin Huang in 1999: "I wouldn't sign your autograph back then? Oh geez, I'm sorry!"

I'm not going to say which orchestra told me that, Keith, but it wasn't the NY Philharmonic.

I'm sure things have changed now. Male Asian violinists in orchestras and solo positions are starting to get more attention, though the number of male Asian professional violinists is dwarfed by the number of female Asian professional violinists. Part of that has to do with Asian males being raised to be steady wage earning professionals like lawyers and doctors and engineers.

June 23, 2006 at 09:56 PM · I wish I was asian.

White people have so much acne........ damn my heritage

June 23, 2006 at 10:05 PM · Why is this? I just realized... there are so many Asian female soloists...

June 23, 2006 at 10:12 PM · No jordan, you DON'T want to be an Asian male in classical violin!!!

If you knew what it was like to endure the insults and exclusions I go through, you'd either go crazy or become ME. Trust me, you don't want to do either.

Just the other day, I was refused service in a Phoenix restaurant known as "Majerle's". The waitstaff ignored me when I came in and then served 5 clients before I stormed out in an angry huff.

I've long studied the careers of Asian male soloists like Scott Yoo, and the thing they all had in common was that they got their starts OVERSEAS.

That's why I'm trying to arrange a short concert tour to Japan next year. Maybe I'll run into buri.

June 23, 2006 at 10:30 PM · best to run him over...



June 23, 2006 at 10:56 PM · Kevin, the descrimination you're talking about (at least in the general public) isn't so bad in major cities. Professionally, I wouldn't know, but I'm pretty sure that in 90% of North American cities you won't have a problem with racist people.

But what you say is true about job descrimination. I was close friends with a kid who was a violin prodigy... could play all the notes with scarry accuracy, rythym, everything perfect. Obviously he wasn't musically mature, but he had a surprising quality about his musicality that I think was pretty special. Even with all these wonderful qualities, I always heard people saying that because he's Asian, he's a robot and cold etc... that's a major stigma about oriental violinists in general, which is quite unfortunate. You'd think that after Stern's trip to china this would change...

He no longer plays the violin by the way.

June 24, 2006 at 02:26 AM · Well I don't know....try this one on for size:

A strings teacher at a university listened to me play violin in a lesson. She said to me 'when you play, I feel it here'. She grabbed her crotch.

Maybe I do have a future career in performing.

June 24, 2006 at 02:50 AM · Jon, that was rather creepy...


June 24, 2006 at 03:00 AM · Sometimes I think I'm a babe in the woods. These things happen to me and I have no idea whats going on.

June 24, 2006 at 03:31 AM · My 1st teacher, Harry Fratkin, an Auer pupil, used to say "you have to be at the same time, your own severest critic, AND your own greatest admirer."

I recently bade a tearful goodbye to a student of mine, who's going off to college, and who had been with me since age 11. I told her it would be OK, and to be open to future teachers, and that one day she'd form her own synthesis. By that point, I said, now quoting a source I can't recall, "if you remain with 50% of my teachings, that wil be quite a lot. If you remain with 75% - it won't be as good as 50%. And if you remain with 100% - God help you!"

BTW - someone made reference to the 'pudgy, bald' concertmaster of the NY Philharmonic. A little respect, please. Glenn Dicterow is one of the top violinists around (and yes, a former teacher, as well) - and I can't imagine anyone playing rings around him.

June 24, 2006 at 03:56 AM · Keith Hernandez... you've now made fun of both Zukerman and Glenn Dicterow... I hope you're one of the best violinists on the planet because you'd certainly have to be to keep talking like that.

June 24, 2006 at 04:09 AM · I sense a disturbance in the force; a feeling I've not felt since....

*Hhwwauh...hhwiigggh* (swirls away, vexed)

June 24, 2006 at 06:44 AM · Come on now there are better players than Glenn out there, not to say he isn't anything good. I however was referring to a completely different aspect of the business aside from ability, which Kevin thoughtfully brought up, which Glenn knows all too well. Would he be concertmaster in LA (without an audition) had his father not been a principal of the very same orchestra? Would he have become the concertmaster in NY had Zubin not been also the music director in LA? Just some food for thought, that's for you to decide. I just meant to remark earlier how he does appear to look as if he doesn't skip that many meals. Anyone disagree ?

June 24, 2006 at 09:09 AM · not to me but to a friend of mine,

"you sound about as interesting as a brown paper bag!"

June 24, 2006 at 05:26 PM · "Tone is important. If you have good tone, the audience will almost forgive bad intonation."

June 24, 2006 at 06:01 PM · Hi,

Another favourite... This from Mauricio Fuks to my comment "But I work hard!" - "DON'T WORK HARD, WORK EASY!"


June 24, 2006 at 06:06 PM · umm keith, you may not realize it but politics do not replace talent. mr. dicterow has finished in the top 10 at the tchaikovsky competition at the height of the cold war and led two of the most powerful orchestras in the world. he's also hands down one of the best violinists on the planet today. consider showing him some well-deserved respect.

June 24, 2006 at 06:39 PM · Keith, you're a moron. Do you insult players like Dicterow and Zukerman because it makes you feel better about your own catastrophic failures as a violin player? Zubin Mehta has access to the best musicians in the world, and getting paid a lot of money to direct those orchestras. You think there was some motive behind it too? Hell, Ivan Galamian thought Dicterow was the bomb too, so I guess he's also a moron? Go to a shrink and get some of that ***** envy sorted out... they might also find some other Freudian curiosities while scratching around in that vacant space.

June 24, 2006 at 07:16 PM · Victor Zak, who told you that? Someone told me the same thing a couple years ago!

Kelsey W.

June 24, 2006 at 09:01 PM · Kelsey:

My daughter's former violin instructor, Rudolf Sternadel -- was himeself trained in Toronto by an instructor whose name escapes me. Perhaps a connection through there. Or maybe just a coincidence.

June 24, 2006 at 09:12 PM · Pieter you have a very big mouth, why don't you shut it before you make a bigger fool of yourself on here. Did I ever say Glenn was not good eh? No, I never said Glenn wasn't any good at the violin Pieter, he's pretty good, there's always someone better though, let's put that argument to rest.. I just think he's a bit crooked from what I have heard in getting his students into his orchestra. Just because I don't have the highest respect for him, which I don't along with many other people, it does not mean I have mental problems and need help in your words.

June 24, 2006 at 09:20 PM · Keith... you're a fool among fools, so I suggest you listen to your own advice.

"pretty good"... who the hell are you? Seriously... tell me you're James Ehnes in disguise or something... seriously. You obviously know nothing about the violin to say what you've been saying.

June 24, 2006 at 09:32 PM · James has more class than to enter into either side of this argument.


June 24, 2006 at 09:39 PM · that's kind of beside the point... I just disagree with publically insulting great violinists in that manner... thoughtful criticism is always great, but calling Dicterow fat and casually tossing him aside like some average "he's ok" player is rediculous.

June 24, 2006 at 10:15 PM · This isnt an original quote of my teacher but he said this all the time (mostly when I was interested in wind instruments):

If you take a violin, you can make it sound 50 different ways. Not just pizzicato and played by the bow, but ponticello, and harmonics, and tremolos. If you take an oboe and play it, there's about one way you can make it sound: like an oboe.

- John Corigliano

I guess it makes sense :).

~*~Violins Make the World go Round

June 25, 2006 at 12:41 AM · "Its all very simple really. All you have to do is play exactly what is written there in front of you".

June 25, 2006 at 02:15 AM · Uh, guys (you know who you are), cool it. There are violinists present.

June 25, 2006 at 02:55 AM · Christian said:

"Another favourite... This from Mauricio Fuks to my comment "But I work hard!" - "DON'T WORK HARD, WORK EASY!"

Sounds familiar to James Loehr in his book, Mental Toughness Training for Sports.

"Don't work hard, work soft!"

June 25, 2006 at 03:58 AM · Richard Hellinger, that's cool!

Not so long ago, I posted the exact same thing you did in response to somebody who stated that the saxophone can do more than the violin in jazz.

Until your post, I didn't know that anybody, let alone Corigliano, had said that exact same thing years ago.

Some years ago, I told somebody that Joseph Szigeti sounded to me as if he were a violinist of the modern day. Then Itzhak Perlman came out a few years later on "Art of the Violin" and said the exact same thing. Perlman and I had come to our same conclusion independently.

By the way, I definitely love Glenn Dicterow's violin playing. I have a video of his performance of the Waxman Carmen Fantasy with the Philharmonic when Mehta was conducting. Margaret Pardee was at the performance, and she was so impressed by Dicterow's playing. I even tried to imitate Dicterow for a while, so impressed I was by his organic and highly individualistic style.

Oh yeah. Given the number of top violin teachers that post on, I've been absolutely intrigued and impressed by the quotes people from our forum are posting.

June 25, 2006 at 04:25 AM · Kevin it was I you were commenting about violin vs. sax to.

How many different sounds or "colors" an instrument can produce is irrelevant here.

There are instruments capable of producing an infinitely larger number of sounds than a violin, but aren't suited to symphonic music, for example, just because it isn't part of the idiom.

Likewise you aren't going to replace the banjo in bluegrass with a French horn, because it's not part of the idiom.

Likewise an opera singer singing field hollers. Theoretically much more expressive to somebody, maybe, but it wouldn't fly.

Following your logic, why would we need any instrument other than violin? Or any instrument other than synths, since they're better than violins, using your critera.

But if you just personally like violin in jazz better than sax, that's fine.

June 25, 2006 at 04:26 AM · Im sorry but I've never heard a good application of violin in rock... everything I've heard is kind of cheesy... violinists don't understand guitar playing... that's one genre in which I really think the guitar is a far, far better sound.

June 25, 2006 at 04:43 AM · I never said he was fat Pieter, I just said he looks as if he doesn’t skip his meals :) It's okay to say that about a hockey player, I don't get what the issue is you have. Yes he’s a good orchestral violinist, but so are many others too. Hilary Hahn , Zukerman, or James Ehnes are in a completely different league. The only “rediculous” (sp?) person on this thread is you to blow this out of proportion and call me a “moron“ because I don't like two violinists you adore, and yes I have the right to “publically” (sp?) critique Glenn and his rise to your “Violin Hall of Fame”.

June 25, 2006 at 04:41 AM · A sax has a sort of fat, deep sound that suits jazz phrasing. A player can do things with the sound that a violinist can't really do in my opinion. Jazz violin often (to me) sounds too thin and wizzes and zips all over the place trying to make up for it, but doesn't really manage the job well (not compared to a sax). Violin is best for classical and folk to my ears.

June 25, 2006 at 04:45 AM · Man we're all over the place with this thread.

June 25, 2006 at 04:52 AM · Jon, that's why classical music has slow movements; to let you get the whizzes and zips out of your head:)

June 25, 2006 at 05:04 AM · I asked Milstein many years ago, 'Mr. Milstein how much do time do you spend practicting on scales?" He said, ' I don't practice on scales; there are plenty of scales in the music."

June 25, 2006 at 05:08 AM · My point here was not to insist that my view was correct, Jim. It was only to show that somebody from the past was saying what I was saying in the present day even though we came to our conclusions independently.

June 25, 2006 at 05:37 AM · Ah, sorry. I misunderstood. Do me a favor if you would. If you ever hear of anybody else saying classical music has slow movements to let you get the whizzes and zips out of your head, let me know:)

June 25, 2006 at 07:02 AM · Often I'll write something here, go away, and then think of exceptions to whatever I just dogmatically stated. Well, no one's flamed me yet so I can't be doing too badly.

That's interesting about Milstein. I wonder if he did lots of scales when he was young.

The whizzing and zipping in classical to me makes musical sense; not so for me in jazz. I guess I just am not a jazz man.

June 25, 2006 at 01:35 PM · Hi,

William - that is very interesting! Could you let me know the title of that book? I am curious...


P.S. Took me a decade to understand that one comment from Mr. Fuks, but it shapes my concept of playing more and more every time I pick up the instrument.


June 25, 2006 at 01:47 PM · Hi, Christian:

Here is the link for this outstanding book that changed my life:

He has written books since, but this is his best, imo.

June 25, 2006 at 05:12 PM · My freshman violin teacher said: "Someday you'll play in tune."

My freshman piano teacher: "There's still music to play." (When I had "stopped singing" in the middle of a performance because of a mistake I had made)

My first violin teacher: "Never say you can't until you've tried" "Never say 'that's easy'"

Talk about a classic understatement: "There's just an elegance when you play a piece in a consistent tonality" (or something like that)

June 25, 2006 at 05:27 PM · After a performance of some Wienawski Caprices, I walked out of stage and my teacher came to me and asked "which pieces did you play???because it's strange I have never heard them in my life!!Anyway you had a nice dress"!!!!

June 25, 2006 at 07:33 PM · My current teacher: "That's an incredible moment in this movement, and you just played it like you're going to buy some groceries".

June 25, 2006 at 08:31 PM · My Russian violin teacher used to admonish me to play "in tuner."

June 25, 2006 at 09:59 PM · "That's the best I ever heard you play?"

He's only said it about four times in seven months.

June 25, 2006 at 10:22 PM · Mr. Hou:

"You play like gypsie."

And when I really didn't have it together:

"ahh... amateur".

June 25, 2006 at 10:33 PM · Oh, some very very funny ones here! Thanks for starting this thread, Saidjah!

June 25, 2006 at 11:06 PM · Greetings,

I have a new adult student who had a perpetual habit of not bothering to take care of the last note of pieces. Instead they wpuld keep turnign to me like a happy puppy for approval. I think I was feeling a little grumpy last week so the last time she did it I said `Please have some respect for the space music lives in.` Not sure where thta comment came from but it worked.

For now...



June 26, 2006 at 03:47 PM · From my teacher, Bayla Keyes:


And then, in the same lesson:

"Don't forget the smile!"

I started smiling.

"No, I mean with your arm!"

June 27, 2006 at 02:14 PM · This is a fun thread, and although I dislike posting links, I've already written down a bunch of short stories involving my teacher at Curtis, Felix Galimir. Visiting this page will give you many laughs, not because I'm a good writer, but because Galimir was a 4'10" riot!

June 27, 2006 at 04:31 PM · Nathan,

I am reading your stories about Mr. Galimir... I can't stop laughing. How did you concentrate??? Everything he says is absolutely hilarious. I cannot begin to tell you how much I envy your experiences.

June 27, 2006 at 06:01 PM · Thanks for sharing those, Nathan! That first lesson kind of reminds me of my first lesson and experience with my current teacher. :)! Glad to see I'm not the only one in your shoes.

June 28, 2006 at 03:47 AM · Nice.

June 28, 2006 at 04:21 AM · Nathan,

those are incredible stories. Well written, too.

Did you by any chance know Lisa-Beth Lambert or Nick Kendall during your time at Curtis?

June 28, 2006 at 05:00 AM · My teacher told me about one of her old friend's lessons...the teacher was deciding which etude he/she wanted to hear.

"Sitt. No, Dont."

June 28, 2006 at 05:01 AM · I was in school (same year, in fact) with Nick Kendall but only knew Lisa-Beth through mutual friends. Nick and I had adventures of many kinds through the years... Thanks to those who have read my Galimir stories. I will always remember that playing is not a requirement for teaching. However, if I can ask the almighty for one thing in my violin playing, please let me play in tune when I'm 85 as Mr. Galimir did! I wish you all great lessons.

June 28, 2006 at 11:03 PM · Hey Nick, how are you? Winona this summer?

My favourite anecdotes from Leif Jørgensen:

"You have an intonation only a mother could love!!"

"Dag, I have to tell you, this wasn't first class. But my oh my how second!"

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