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How do you feel about improvising on a stringed instrument? While there are many musicians who specialise in this craft, you wouldn’t have to search far for string players where mention of the words ‘improv’ and ‘solo’ is enough to strike fear into their hearts.

Violist and composer Jessica Meyer spoke to online editor and cellist Davina about how the word ‘improvisation’ can be seemingly daunting for string players, and how it helps to approach it as ‘making choices’. She shares her story with incorporating improvisation in her warm-ups, and how the mind-body connection of music making inspires her and her students to create their own exercises to further enhance their playing.

Jessica’s new composer/performer portrait album I long and seek after will be released on 22 March on New Focus Recordings.

‘O elegant giant’ from Space in Chains for soprano and viola

Viola and composer – Jessica Meyer

Soprano – Melissa Wimbish

Photo credit: Bill Struhs

Best of Technique

In The Best of Technique you’ll discover the top playing tips of the world’s leading string players and teachers. It’s packed full of exercises for students, plus examples from the standard repertoire to show you how to integrate the technique into your playing.


The Strad’s Masterclass series brings together the finest string players with some of the greatest string works ever written. Always one of our most popular sections, Masterclass has been an invaluable aid to aspiring soloists, chamber musicians and string teachers since the 1990s.


American collector David L. Fulton amassed one of the 20th century’s finest collections of stringed instruments. This year’s calendar pays tribute to some of these priceless treasures, including Yehudi Menuhin’s celebrated ‘Lord Wilton’ Guarneri, the Carlo Bergonzi once played by Fritz Kreisler, and four instruments by Antonio Stradivari.