FOCUS

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

Focus Friday, 11 July 2014

Are quartets of matched instruments the way to perfect harmony?

Four instruments from the same tree, varnished from the same pot, played by a single quartet. Does this make a better ensemble? Katherine Millett investigates

Television cameras greeted the Miró Quartet’s arrival at Alice Tully Hall, New York, in February 2003. ABC News ran an evening feature about the concert and the New York Times raved about...

Focus Thursday, 10 July 2014

6 tips for teaching young violinists by Suzuki instructor Teri Einfeldt

The University of Hartford Suzuki Department chair shares her methods for teaching children

Encourage parental involvementI ask all potential students and their parents to observe six beginner-level lessons before they start. This way the child and the parents can see what...

Focus Wednesday, 09 July 2014

When should a child start learning a stringed instrument?

The age that a child should start learning a stringed instrument can be a tricky question for parents, and a tough decision for teachers. Tim Homfray asks teaching experts for their advice

It is a common belief that all great musicians began their glittering careers when they were scarcely out of nappies. Child prodigies have always been popular, the biographies of performers...

Focus Tuesday, 08 July 2014

8 ways to improve shifting for string players

Advice on how to shift smoothly and cleanly from 120 years of The Strad

I have always maintained that the acquirement of a good or a bad shift is largely a matter of mental outlook rather than one of mechanics; a psychological exercise rather than a technical one. I am ...

Focus Thursday, 03 July 2014

There is no such thing as a piano 'accompanist'

String players and pianists are uniting to end the perception of piano accompanists as lesser musicians. Elana Estrin delves into the emerging field of collaborative piano

There has long been a stereotype in the performance community that accompanists are inferior musicians. Not good enough for solo careers, they are hired to perform a service: to obey their musical partner&rsquo...

Focus Tuesday, 01 July 2014

6 pieces of advice for music teachers by cellist Anna Shuttleworth

The former Royal College of Music and Leeds University pedagogue explains why it's important to encourage students to relax

Structure your lessons carefullyI always plan ahead and know what I’m going to do. Whatever the level of the student I start with a scale, then move on to a study or at least ...

Focus Monday, 30 June 2014

7 views on dynamics

Advice on how to produce effective dynamic contrasts from 120 years of The Strad

Bow speed when considered alone seems to have a linear relationship to dynamics: faster = louder; slower= softer. But dynamic changes often imply colour changed and therefore unexpected solutions can...

Focus Thursday, 26 June 2014

Ask the Experts: How to make the best use of limited practice time

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

In the seventh of the series, four specialists in practice techniques advise a busy amateur musician how to make the most of his limited rehearsal time.

Do you have a...

Focus Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Survival tips for touring musicians

International tours bring a wealth of opportunities for discovering new cultures and audiences – along with less pleasant experiences such as jet lag and homesickness. Sarah Mnatzaganian asks string players for their travel tips

Travel has always been an inescapable dimension of musical life, from the wanderings of medieval minstrels to the jet-setting of today’s soloists. When your manager mentions your next tour, does...

Focus Friday, 20 June 2014

10 useful business skills for musicians

You need flexibility and business acumen as well as talent to stand out from the crowd in today’s rapidly changing music world, argues double bassist-turned-agent Corrado Canonici

There are few who would claim that it’s easy to make a living in classical music. More and more well-qualified musicians enter the business every day, at the same time that orchestras, promoters...

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