teaches and teachers
For some reason quite unknown to me I have started taking golf lessons. I am struck by how similar many aspects of golf tuition are to those I have endured
over the past 30 years of violin lessons. My Golf teacher is absolutely insistent on
me observing a number of rigid principles, in his words to install " an absolute consistency". I am making a great deal of progress.
Now what about violin teachers?? I have had many, perhaps 9 or 10 in the past. Just like golf there are a number of technical aspects of playing that apply to all styles, and periods. Now I have no doubt that these teachers, agreeable and pleasant as they all were meant well. But why did they fail to establish the absolute consistency that my golf coach requires? They all differed by missing some absolutely important part of technique or not following up on it ad nauseam..
I was a late starter having hitherto played the flute, so I needed the "goods"
so why did they not insist for example on keeping fingers down as much as possible, or keeping the bow down as much as possible at all times....arguably two of the most fundamental issues in violin or string playing. Why wasn't I shown that from the beginning and had it beaten into me. Instead I find that it took me at least 15 years to put everything together they way it should.
Is this the result of mediocre violin teaching talent, or just me as a hopeless student? Good violin playing has always meant the world to me. Maybe be the competent orchestral and soloist players were fortunate enough to have the best of teaching as a sine qua non of their success, and over a realistic period of time.
Many of my previous teachers were pre-occupied with the musicality of the piece
rather than the technical means of achieving it. A bit like art school teaching
"creativity" without teaching draughtsmanship at all.
Is learning the violin outside of a formal college environment just too much of
The best tip I ever had was to watch The Sassmanhaus videos on the internet, I would reccomend any starter violinist watching those vids time after time. I reckon that man could teach me golf as well!
I'm a little perplexed.
I've had teachers ranging from abysmal to great. I think the main factor is confidence; my worst teacher ever was a student herself and for some reason felt it would be impolite to correct me. My favourite teacher of all time had no qualms about nagging me for details! She was also untrained, but had years of experience both as a music teacher and a school teacher. She was tough as nails.
Indeed, there are many bad violin teachers. Perhaps you lucked-out with a really good golf teacher, and perhaps your golf teacher would be a bad teacher for a different kind of student.
Technique is what you need a teacher to teach you. If the teacher hasn't been drilled in technique, they won't be any good for you.
Christian, my best teacher also insisted that I keep the bow on the strings at all times, unless a lift is needed. I suppose some shy children (like I was, and some other players I've met) sort of developed the habit of bowing lightly and lifting the bow off the string prematurely, which results in a really wishy washy sound and poor martele. Keeping the bow down remedies that, and also cuts off any unwanted ring.
I can't answer your questions on why for the 9-10 teachers you've had, because it could be a number of reasons.
While you may consider it vital to have a good teacher, think about: What are the qualities of a good student? Focus, keen apprehension of significant detail, goal-oriented practice. Even with the best teacher, some students will go on to far exceed the teacher's playing ability, and become violin stars, e.g Heifetz, Perlman. How does THAT happen? A question to ponder. What is actually the most important factor in successful learning--the teacher or the student?
Grateful for replies received. I would light to reset the discussion very slightly. I agree with the contributor
No, no rock climbing on the fingerboard. APPLY ONLY THE MINIMUM NECESSARY PRESSURE to sound the note clearly. Unlike rock climbing, travelling the violin fingerboard requires relaxed speed and agility. (P.S.: Mountainscapes do not go into motor memory. Fingerboard landmarks eventually do.) Have you looked at Nathan Cole videos? on hand frame?
"I have gotten a very strong impression that much of violin technique has be known to the violin teacher for so long that they simply fail to communicate the basics well enough to the adult late starter."
The video referenced above is Joshua Bell's masterclass with Galamian. The comment about bow stroke comes early, around 1:20.
For many years, I have been an avid violinist and golfer.
That Joshua Bell video is really interesting, for the simple reason that Bell is really not a fantastic unbelievable prodigy in that video. He sounds like any serious 12-year old violin pupil but nothing more!! Totally unlike the prodigies you find on YouTube these days. Yet he grew in less than 6 years into an absolute top artist. That is the more amazing.
If you had the opportunity to view the entire series of Galamian's teaching (him sitting in a chair smoking, etc.) you would have seen that young Bell was the only one showing any promise at all.
I came to the violin as an adult, though I was classically trained on piano. My first teacher also did not focus very much on those fundamentals; just a very occasional and ad hoc type of reminder. I later found out that she considered any student who wasn't entering competitions to be just a hobbyist and not worth her best teaching (though she did tell me clearly that she taught adult students).
@Richard Jackson, I agree wholeheartedly, but I also surmise that many teachers have had countless adult students who didn't respond well to detailed technical advice and just wanted to learn Amazing Grace as soon as humanly possible. And with an adult student, there's no parent the teacher can turn to and say, "Your kid needs to slow down and focus on his sound point."
I thought the video of Joshua Bell’s 12-year-old lesson was with Gingold, not Galamian.
The Gingold video was 1982, Tchaikovsky 3rd movement.
I thought so, too, Mary Ellen, but that sure looks like Galamian in the video that Sue linked, and that's the one I was thinking of.
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