Teacher Talk: your string teaching questions answered by our panel of experts
Do you encourage viola students to bring chamber music parts to lessons, and if so, how do you work on them?
John Govey, Middlesbrough, UK
Bruno Giuranna: My students sometimes come to lessons with their chamber music group. If the players’ preparation has been limited to their respective parts and they do not know the score, ignoring what happens around them, the results are not good, even if those parts are decently performed. As studying the score is often considered a complicated business, I suggest they start by observing at its most basic grammatical level, understanding which instrument has the leading voice, or which instrument is playing the same rhythm or melody as the viola, so that they know with whom to synchronise. These are simple and basic details that can be lightly pencilled into the viola part. Of course, single parts must be performed impeccably, but when a student brings a chamber music part to a lesson I would mostly focus on an explanation of the full score.
Bruno Giuranna teaches viola at the Fondazione Stauffer in Cremona, the Conservatorio della Svizzera Italiana in Lugano and the University of Limerick in Ireland
Our Teacher Talk series was first published in The Strad in January 2011. Subscribe to The Strad and get the best in teaching tips every month, from Simon Fischer's long-running Basics column to advice from top string players in Masterclass. Or click here to find out about our digital edition.