Ask the Teacher - Rodney Friend


The former concertmaster of the London and New York Philharmonic orchestras discusses the importance of rhythm, sound and the natural shape of the hand

What’s the most important thing for teachers to remember?

The most important thing is to know what to leave alone. Players gifted enough to enter the profession will possess many natural ingredients that work. If you interfere with this, it will be confusing.

The most constructive way to help a player – particularly one who is advanced and has potential – is to look at the way their playing sings, dances and makes conversation, and to focus on how to acquire technical facility without using a definite technique or system. Each player’s conversation should be individual, because that’s what makes it art. You don’t want six violinists, or six painters, creating the same picture of the same thing. It simply wouldn’t be very interesting.

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