FOCUS

Ariane Todes selects her favourite stories and interviews from The Strad website and beyond

Focus Tuesday, 30 September 2014

8 ways to make music lessons interesting

Violinist Sid G Hedges gives advice to teachers on how to inspire enthusiasm in The Strad’s June 1923 issue

Recently a lady remarked to me: ‘My children are very naughty about their practice. Only this morning I found them together, for they have but one instrument, and one was saying to the other: ...

Focus Monday, 29 September 2014

How develop secure intonation, by cellist Maria Kliegel

The German artist explains how developing accurate intonation gives security and confidence to her playing

When performing I want to say something and make it convincing immediately, not at the third attempt. Each passage must be perfect every time, so I need the knowledge and training to back up my musical...

Focus Thursday, 25 September 2014

6 ways to improve your ensemble playing

Advice on rhythmic, intuitive and tuneful ensemble playing from The Strad’s archives

When once a quartet party is formed, intuitive playing together ought to be the main and definite idea to which the players should devote their attention, and which only comes by constant practice. ...

Focus Thursday, 25 September 2014

Ask the Experts: protecting your instrument from chips and nicks

Strad readers submit their problems and queries about string playing, teaching or making to a panel of experts

In the tenth of the series, four luthiers give their thoughts on some unusual marks that have appeared on the surface of a violinist's instrument over the course of his playing career.

Do...

Focus Monday, 22 September 2014

How to use bowing angle to vary articulation by cellist Colin Carr

The artist explains how he varies the attock and timbre of a note by modifying the angle of the bow to the string

Like singers or speakers forming words, string players have the ability to define the type of articulation we choose for each bow change. The principle behind bowing is, of course, pulling and pushing:...

Focus Friday, 19 September 2014

None of my teachers were any good at explaining technique ― Ruggiero Ricci

Celebrating his 90th birthday in July 2008, the legendary violinist looked back at his teaching influences and revealed that he was largely self-taught

The reason I started the violin was that I heard my father playing the Brahms Hungarian Dance no.5, badly. I liked the tune and said, ‘I wanna play the violin.’ If I had heard the piano ...

Focus Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Personality is no longer encouraged in musical performance

Not too long ago mass audiences and critics alike revered overtly personal performances, yet today superimposing one's personality over that of the composer is regarded as poor musicianship, writes Henry Roth

To what degree should personality play a role in string performance? Personality, in the broad sense, includes the idiosyncrasies or peculiarities of the individual as they pertain to his performance...

Focus Monday, 15 September 2014

How to play with a flexible bowing arm by cellist Gary Hoffman

The American musician explains how he developed a supple and varied bow arm motion, guided by his ear and musical instinct

János Starker, with whom I studied, introduced me to his concept of the bow-arm action, which he refers to as the ‘basic legato rule’. Starting with a down bow at the frog, you draw...

Focus Friday, 12 September 2014

11 views on teaching by Juilliard School violin professor Dorothy DeLay

During the Joseph Joachim International Violin Competition in Hannover in 1995, jury member Dorothy DeLay led a 90-minute discussion on teaching at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater. Evelyn Chadwick recorded some of her views.

Dorothy DeLay joined the Juilliard School in 1948 and taught violinists including Itzhak Perlman, Cho-Liang Lin, Shlomo Mintz, Nigel Kennedy, Sarah Chang, Midori and Gil Shaham. Up until her death in...

Focus Tuesday, 09 September 2014

From the Archive: How to memorise solos

The art of memorising can be mastered by even those who believe they have no apptitude in the area, writes Edwin H. Pierce.

Every violinist who makes any pretensions to being a soloist realises the advantages of playing without notes. The absence of the unsightly music-rack, the freedom from turning pages, the greater attention...

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