Developing Musicianship

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Classical Violin By: Please log in to see tutor details
Subject: Violin » Classical Violin
Last updated: 17/08/2009
Tags: advice (intermediate), violin

When playing any musical instrument (such as the violin or viola) it is good to start developing the active musical imagination right from the beginning. So often, this doesn't happen and we reach a stage where we feel technical competent but don't really feel as if we are connecting properly with the music itself. The very reason we started started learning an instrument in the first place was for self expression and the joy of giving music to other people - as such, we need to develop the ability to allow as much of our energy as possible to flow outwardly and into the music.

On the violin, there are many elements that can stop the connection with the music and the feeling of 'giving' or sharing it with others - many of these elements are physical. In the left hand, the vertical 'pressing' of the notes with a rigid hand and often accompanying shoulder tension and with the bowing the feeling of 'holding' the bow combined with too much emphasis on the bow hand itself can all hinder the natural flow of playing. On an expressive level, we can too often find the left hand doing one thing and the bowing arm doing another, with ourselves stuck in the middle trying to make sense of it all - all of this can lead to anxiety or embarassment when playing in front of others and a lack of ease when playing alone.

A good tutor will always start with the music itself so that even the most simple gestures such as clapping or singing can be done with the rhythmic pulse at the centre of everything. The development of singing will not only benefit tuning and phrasing but will allow the pupil to discover self expression and the feeling of living & creating in the moment. Approaching a piece of music without picking up the instrument can allow us to become fully immersed in the atmosphere of the piece before all the demands of co-ordinating complicated movements takes over and dominates our thinking. When opening a new piece for the first time, try clapping the rhythmic pulse whilst bending the knees in time - try to become fully absorbed in the era and country of the composer whilst building up a picture of how this music could have been played when it was first written. We can then develop this by starting to become fluent at naming and singing the notes of a particular phrase - once this begins to flow, we can then begin to look at the physical movements which can be translated onto the instrument.

Vaughan Jones Classical Violin Teacher (Luton)

About The Author

I am a friendly and experienced teacher of the violin, viola and piano and work with children and adults, from beginners up to Grade 8 and beyond. I focus on a tension free approach to playing, allowing students to fulfill their musical potential.

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