Ask the Teacher - Mark Knight
The violin and viola pedagogue reveals why Alexander technique and Carl Flesch form the foundation of everything he teaches
Do you focus more on the violin or viola?
I have more viola pupils than violin pupils, although for me the violin and the viola are basically the same instrument. They have their own voice and their own repertoire, but they’re played in exactly the same way.
Why do you encourage your students to study Alexander technique?
It’s extremely benefi cial for them – and for some students it’s vital, because they have physical problems. When I was a student in the early 1960s, the harder I worked, the worse my tension problems seemed to get. My teacher, Yfrah Neaman, had heard about Alexander technique and suggested that I seek out some lessons. I found it profoundly important in learning to understand how bodies work, and how to use them effectively when playing a stringed instrument. All the fundamental principles that I introduce students to and train them to carry out are based on a combination of Alexander technique and Carl Flesch.