Simon Fischer's Visit to Oregon, USA
On Oct 5th and 6th 2019, string teachers in Oregon (yes, all string teachers, not just violin teachers and not just private teachers, but also school teachers) had the privilege to participate in two events that featured the legendary violin pedagogue/teacher and violinist, Mr. Simon Fischer. The first event was ASTA Oregon Biennial Conference and at that event, Simon gave us a thorough overview of his insights in tone-production that teachers on all four bowed string instruments could understand and easily translate into their own teachings. After that, we observed Simon teaching a public-private lesson to a college student and masterclass to two advanced middle school students. The most amazing aspect of observing him teaching these students was how quickly he was able to determine what these students needed and how quickly the students responded to his proposed instructions! Another amazing aspect of his masterclasses was hearing his amazing playing! First-rate!
(As we know, there are many outstanding violinists who are not outstanding teachers at the same time, and there are many outstanding teachers who are not outstanding violinists at the same time. Simon appears to be both!)
Second event was titled, Ten Hours of Training with Simon Fischer. During these ten hours, Simon covered many of his well-known concepts but also some completely new and fresh insights. One of the propositions I have not heard before was with the regard to the placement of the middle finger on the bow stick (more to the right and closer to the ring finger) in order to establish perfectly balanced leverage of 2+2.
The most wonderful and unique aspect of each presentation was him constantly crediting other people for his insights (e.g., Miss DeLay, Galamian, Flesch), but also clearly and proudly stating the insights that are originally his. Teachers who attended these events left equipped with new knowledge and skills that they will be applying with their students in the years and decades to come, and they remain being inspired by many interesting musical stories that Simon shared along the way.
I so enjoyed this training by Simon Fischer. I am the middle school orchestra in the humble Forest Grove where Mr. Fischer visited. I had learned about contact point or "highway lanes" before, but never with the important point about ratios. This blew my mind! The lower the string or the shorter the string, the farther you must be from the bridge to find the "magic spot" as I have been calling it with my students. This magic spot gives you the most consistent oscillation and sensitivity to where on the string you are it helps tremendously with tone. I have been using this information daily with great success.
Dijana, Thank you so much for your report. The whole event was an enormous pleasure, due of course to your meticulous organisation, and I very much enjoyed meeting everyone. It was too short! The participants were so concentrated, so still, so unfidgety, for thirteen hours, it felt like it could have gone on all week!
I agree, this was a brilliant event. As a cellist, I find Simon's work translates easily to cello, and it's been a huge influence for many years. What a pleasure it was to meet him in person and have the chance to ask questions! His explanations take the mystery out of string technique, and I think everyone at the event found it a transformative experience. We were so lucky to have him visit the Pacific NW. Thank you, Dijana, for making this happen.