PEOPLE

Sylvia Rosenberg

Monday, 02 December 2013

Teaching insights from the pedagogue, a former student of Ivan Galamian and Szymon Goldberg

The aim is focused energy. Gravity is your friend.

The violin is physically an uncomfortable instrument that requires countless hours of practice from an early age. A knowledge of the basic mechanics of holding it is essential.

Young people’s bodies are very flexible and can sometimes survive and temporarily overcome bad habits of posture and tension. But for a long life as a violinist, concepts such as the Alexander Technique, working on releasing tension, standing and sitting in a well-balanced way, are vital.

A violinist should be well balanced and upright and then everything else should feel as if it’s going down – the bow goes down into the string, the left fingers go down, the head goes down slightly into the chin rest. The aim is focused energy. Gravity is your friend.

In practising, students always should aim for musical goals. Scales and etudes should be played in a musical way with a good sound – they are the ingredients for great music. They give violinists the precious tools they need for making music.

Young artists should learn and listen to as much music as possible, not just that of their own instrument. A Mozart opera will help you understand his work better. Listening to Bach’s St John and St Matthew Passions offers profound experiences. To learn something about the life and times of the composer, including contemporary ones, is inspiring and helps us to become cultured artists. 

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