What question would you ask a famous violinist?

July 9, 2019, 4:37 PM · What would you ask a famous violinist, mostly about playing/practice and performance technique? Just curious :)

Replies (14)

July 9, 2019, 5:07 PM · The problem here is I already know the answers I would get. There is no "magic" trick to practicing better, except the basic values that any good teacher tells us from a young age.

Slow practice. Mindful practice. Focus on the basics, like intonation, rhythm, and written dynamics/articulations. Listen to recordings of good players, but don't just copy them. Be aware of where your bow is and where you want it to be. Stay relaxed.

If you watch masterclasses on youtube, you'll find that most of them are just spent on the above concepts.

July 9, 2019, 5:12 PM · "Do you offer lessons?"
July 9, 2019, 9:23 PM · Did you actually have to sell your soul to play like that? So what's the process for that?
July 9, 2019, 9:34 PM · I like to know Hilary Hahn's secret to tone production and a totally seamless change of bow.
Edited: July 11, 2019, 7:59 AM · "do you want to play some violin duets?"
July 11, 2019, 7:58 AM · I'd ask...
about their warmup routine, for practicing and performance.
how they break down a new piece musically and technically.
how they program their recitals.
how much they listen to other artists and what they're listening for.
what kinds of yoga, stretching, or other physical activity they do to stay in top form.

July 11, 2019, 1:15 PM · "Do you still enjoy it?"
July 11, 2019, 2:32 PM · I once asked James Ehnes how much trouble he had switching back and forth between violin and viola. "Not much..."
July 11, 2019, 3:09 PM · I've actually met a few in my day. I usually ask about what they like to do when they aren't practicing and performing. More than a few actually "light up" and I have discovered that, behind all the prestige, they are pretty normal people. Some are sports fans, a lot are very good cooks, others are fellow bicyclists, walkers, joggers, swimmers. When I got to meet Yehudi Menuhin after a concert, I got a treatise on yoga as a response. I've had really warm answers because I'm interested in them as people as much as a famous performer.
July 11, 2019, 3:26 PM · Great point, George - I've observed something similar when talking to performers. They don't tend to want to "talk shop" or discuss tonight's show, but they will talk about things that interest them.

I also like Adrian's question!

July 11, 2019, 5:34 PM · George, you're great!
Edited: July 11, 2019, 5:58 PM · My questions would be along the lines of how they survived the practicalities of touring soloists - the constant travel, spending most of their lives in planes, airports, and hotel rooms, worrying about schedules and travel connections going smoothly - and how they handled glitches in the same. How did they get in the necessary practice? I'd want to know what tricks they developed to make all of the above and more, easier and more efficient.

I'd also want to know how much different repertoire they played in an average given season - how many different concertos, how many different recital programs? If, as I suspect, the answer in many cases is just 2-3 concertos and 1-2 recital programs, how to they keep fresh and inspired? How and when did they prepare new repertoire for the next season. And yes, what they did for fun and relaxation - when they had the time?

Edited: July 14, 2019, 3:05 PM · well, if I could really ask anything, my question would be: Can I have a try on your Strad (or Guarneri of course)

Besides that I often wonder what music they listen to themself just to enjoy.

July 14, 2019, 3:21 PM · How much d'you charge for an autograph? :)

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