What are some excellent masterclasses and sources of advice for music and playing?

December 27, 2021, 2:25 AM · I'd be very grateful to receive any suggestions, whether well known or not, as I just want to benefit from the exceptional skill, talent and knowledge of the various masters of their crafts.

I play the violin, so that's best suited to me in terms of technique, but I'm happy to learn from other sources about music and playing.

Links to videos, interviews, articles, books, whatever. Anything.

Thank you!

Replies (12)

Edited: December 27, 2021, 6:17 AM · Greetings,
study the youtube videos of Daniel Kurganov in depth,
Read Simon Fischer’s books and the articles on his web site.
Also, videos, materials and masterclasses of Nathan Cole
December 27, 2021, 1:25 PM · I second Buri’s recommendation of Daniel Kurganov. That man has some really good stuff on his channel. It’s a goldmine. Also look up Julia Bushkova. Her videos are very informative as well and she’s a professor at UNT. Dr. Lynn Kuo has some good stuff on her channel as well. I’ve probably mostly watched the videos of Kurganov and Bushkova.
Edited: December 27, 2021, 1:42 PM · For a lesser focus on the violin and a strong focus on music* I'd recommend Benjamin Zander. He has a tendency to show off but he stays focussed on the work in question and has a knack for giving students** hints and help in a way that makes them improve very noticeably right there on stage with him. Plus he really has things to say about the music that is being worked on.

I remember one with a young quartet playing Beethoven op. 95. They opened the session with a very good rendition, clean, well phrased, etc. of the first movement and I was curious how Zander would be able to improve it. He made his suggestions, had them play a few measures here and there for illustration. Then they played the whole movement again and violà: Their playing was much more intense; the ferocity of this piece fully realized, just great.

He has numerous videos on youtube (search "Benjamin Zander masterclass"), the title always tells you which piece the session is about. I have also listened to masterclasses by Ida Handel, Zukerman and Heifetz. Zander is much better as a masterclass teacher than those three.

* I have learned a lot--several masterclasses worth--about music in orchestra rehearsals from stray remarks that conductors made. It is worth paying attention in rehearsal during segments where some players other than oneself are being put through their paces.

** of all levels, from little girls to finished professionals.

December 27, 2021, 2:01 PM · There are a lot of very good chamber music masterclasses. I think it's also helpful to attend/watch classes by a range of instrumentalists. Masterclasses led by Miriam Fried, Yo-Yo Ma, and James Galway are on YouTube.
December 27, 2021, 2:29 PM · Raymond,
Miriam Fried is a gem I think. Really underrated musician/ performer.
December 27, 2021, 5:56 PM · Paul Rolland’s book and/or DVD of “The Teaching of Action in String Playing” is amazing. The DVD is especially fantastic. Jascha Heifetz’s masterclass videos on YouTube from when he taught at USC. Mimi Zweig’s lesson videos of her teaching students of all ages on YouTube are amazingly helpful. Suzuki’s book and/or DVD of “Nurtured by Love.”
December 27, 2021, 6:30 PM · Greetings?
I agree with Albrecht, Zander is considerably better at getting results than the other three he mentions.
December 28, 2021, 9:22 AM · I have learned a lot about basic technique and practicing from the videos posted on Kurt Sassmannshaus's website at violinmasterclass.com. For interpretive ideas, I recommend the videos posted on YouTube by Roy Sonne. Roy's approach unites artistry with practicality. These are relatively elementary materials, but I don't know the current playing level of the individual who introduced this thread.

For pro-level masterclasses, I have really enjoyed watching Maxim Vengerov teaching at Mozarteum University. Many of these are available on YouTube.

I agree with Albrecht -- I have also gained a lot from comments made by orchestra conductors over the years. Some have even demonstrated the bow strokes they wanted on the violin.

December 28, 2021, 11:57 AM · I want to parrot what has been said already. For technique, Daniel Kurganov, Julia Bushkova (Violin Class), Violinmasterclass (Kurt Sassmannshaus), and Nathan Cole are the best you will find on youtube. For musicality, Maxim Vengerov and Benjamin Zander from Boston Phil have lots of violin masterclasses on youtube as well. Maxim goes into musicality and technique a bit, but Zander exclusively covers interpretation and musicality. I've recently also found two new channels that I enjoy a lot: Joy Lee and Jinny Lee Violin Studio on youtube.
Edited: January 10, 2022, 6:12 PM · Videos:
- Daniel Kurganov - Best Practice
- Julia Bushkova - All
- Nathan Cole - All
- Kerson Leong - The Art of Etude
- Augustin Hadelich - Ask Augustin
- Nicola Benedetti - With Nicky
- Ray Chen - Livestreams and masterclasses
- Maxim Vengerov - Masterclasses on youtube and his website
- Kurt Sassmannshaus - violinmasterclass.com
- Itzhak Perlman - Series on masterclass.com
- Simon Fischer - Tone + Warmup DVD
- Eddy Chen's personal channel
- Heifetz Masterclasses on Youtube

- Ivan Galamian - Principles of Violin Playing and Teaching
- Carl Flesch - The Art of Violin Playing
- Simon Fischer - All books
- Daniel Kurganov - 64 Practice Hacks

- Mind over Finger with Dr. Renée-Paule Gauthier, especially the one with Simon Fischer https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Jl57NAUER0
- The Violin Podcast
- The Strad Podcast

- The Strad Magazine
- Hilary Hahn - Slow Practice for String Players http://hilaryhahn.com/2004/01/slow-practice-for-string-players/
- Simon Fischer - https://www.simonfischeronline.com/articles.html https://www.simonfischeronline.com/basics-series.html

Edited: January 2, 2022, 2:20 PM · All good advices above, especially detailed list proved by Maka Li above. In addition to learning from these free YouTube lessons and podcast, I took both online bootcamps from Nathan Cole and Dr. Lynn Kuo last year. Highly recommended. Currently I am taking Dr. Lynn Kuo’s 2022 Winter Bootcamp, we will be tackling JSB Chaconne (https://lynnkuo.com/)

If you check them out on YouTube I believe you’ll get a clear sense how extraordinary these teachers are.

BTW, Juilliard faculty member Noa Kageyama has excellent podcast talking about the latest science behind violin practice:

Last but not least, Christine Tetzlaff masterclasses are incredible, I would say they are more violinist-specific than Zander is.

January 10, 2022, 12:56 PM · Many good recommendations that I look forward to checking.

I 2nd Perlman's masterclass series of videos on masterclass.com. Outstanding! Among other things, they can provide a big picture context of what goes into playing violin.

There's a series of six lessons by Yehudi Menuhin on YouTube that take a fundamental, elemental approach to playing violin. They look like copies of old 16mm film. They include some really worthwhile tips. In one of these lessons, Menuhin even stands on his head. (But not while playing.)

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