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

Focus Monday, 19 May 2014

How to reduce tension when playing the violin or viola

Mary McGovern provides some advice on holding your instrument without unnecessary spine and shoulder discomfort

The relationship of the head, neck and back is of central importance to human balance, co-ordination and movement. Frederick Matthias Alexander (1869-1955), after whom the Alexander Technique is named...

Focus Friday, 16 May 2014

10 tips to improve your sight-reading

By violinist and professor Eugene Gratovich

On a string instrument, sight-reading depends on the relationship between visual, mental, aural, and physical skills. A performer's limited solo repertory may not provide a person with adequate fingerboald...

Focus Thursday, 15 May 2014

Should string section bowings always be synchronised?

It is generally accepted that string sections should bow as a collective, but could this uniform approach sacrifice the composer’s intended sound? Violist James Boyd argues in favour of greater freedom

Bowing choices tend to favour practicality over artistryGenerally bowing decisions are based in pragmatism, rather than any great artistic ideal. And the solutions tend to be quite ...

Focus Tuesday, 13 May 2014

11 stretching exercises for musicians

Do you feel tired and stiff after performing? Pilates instructor John Black explains how some simple stretching exercises can make all the difference

Musicians have the general problem of having to stay in one – often far from natural – position for long periods. Also, there is a lot of rotation involved, with extraordinary demands made...

Focus Monday, 12 May 2014

Leadership and diplomacy: how to be a good orchestral concertmaster

Former concertmaster John Georgiadis tells Julian Haylock his memories of the London Symphony Orchestra

What special qualities make a good concertmaster?To be aware of everything around you: first the violin section, then the string section and then the rest of the orchestra. Also to ...

Focus Friday, 09 May 2014

What does the future hold for English fiddling?

Jon Boden explains the difficulties of finding an authentic playing style for traditional English tunes

If you are a violinist living in Scotland, Ireland or Sweden – in fact in most Western countries and a fair few Eastern ones – you’re probably aware of the role that the violin plays...

Focus Friday, 09 May 2014

Quick exercises to improve string playing technique

Teacher Talk: your string teaching questions answered by our panel of experts

What is the most powerful exercise you ever use that brings the quickest, biggest change, in any area of technique? JAKE STRAUSS, NEW YORK, US


Focus Wednesday, 07 May 2014

Violinist Hilary Hahn on practice and interpretation

In June 2012 violinist Hilary Hahn was guest editor of The Strad’s ‘Conversations’ special. The following five quotations on performance and interpretation are extracted from that issue.

Practice and performing ritualsI used to have intentional rituals, but with the travelling I do, they went by the wayside. Every day is different, but I do things habitually without...

Focus Monday, 05 May 2014

Engaging uncommitted parents with their child's music lessons

Teacher Talk: your string teaching questions answered by our panel of experts

What do you do when parents of little beginners have no interest in the lessons or supporting the child’s learning at home? I really struggle with this at the private school where I teach....

Focus Friday, 02 May 2014

How to advise a student that music is not the right career

Just like anyone in a close working relationship, teachers and students sometimes have to have difficult conversations. Vicky Hancock finds out how pedagogues handle some of the trickiest topics

The continually evolving partnership between teacher and student is complex. It requires compromise and understanding – rather like a marriage or relationship. And during their time together, ...

viola stolen!
I had my viola stolen last week from Liverpool. Label has: Aubrey J. Tarr 1974...
violin blocks
I have an old unlabled violin and I have noticed 4 small blocks about5cm square...
violin left hand position
I have a new student , quite advanced, who has a 'double jointed' left thumb...
serene violin solo pre-1917
Hi folks. For a story I'm writing I'd like suggestions for the most serene and...
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