Monday, June 17, 2013

Strings Adjudicator Words of Wisdom

Every year I try to attend as much strings adjudication in our local music festival as possible, in addition to that of my own students.  The adjudicators are usually highly qualified teachers, and there is a lot my students and I can learn from them.  This year we had William van der Sloot at our festival.  I will share here some bits from my notes.  I have extensive notes, so I thought I would break them up into several blog posts.

Perform every chance you get.
Play WITH and listen to your accompanist.
Always be thinking and listening at least one note ahead, know where you are going.
The adjudicator's scores and comments are only an opinion of how you played THAT DAY.

"The greatest enemy of art in music is tension."  Yehudi Menuhin
Looking out at the audience can cause loss of focus.  Watching the bow is a better alternative.
Do more than just play everything in the score ("honest" playing); bring the music to life. The bow needs to reflect the music.  Find moments of tension and release.

Watch You Tube.  Have heroes.  Know the stars of the day as well as the historic ones.
Use GOOD speakers for listening to music on computer.
We can base our movement and sound on our stars.

Always sing your music.  Notice your breathing and transfer that to your playing.
Be careful to develop good vibrato habits right from the start of learning to vibrato.
Pull rather than push the sound.
Support the sound and stay strong with either more bow or more weight, even when playing more quietly.
The bow hand should be soft and like the springs (shock absorbers?) of a car.

If we play beautifully, even little accidents don't matter too much.  Beautiful is better than correct.

Part 2

Characteristics of Advanced Students: List 1

Here is a list developed by violinist, David Strom.
I have been putting these nuggets up in small sets weekly or so on my studio announcements for the beginners and intermediates to learn to think and act and eventually become like advanced students!  I thought I would include them on my blog as well.
  1. Practice slowly - never faster than easy.
  2. Get ready carefully.
  3. Never give up.
  4. Don't whine or complain.
  5. Practice in small nuggets - then put into context.
  6. Practice to make easy, practice to make clear.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Not your mother's orthotics!

Growing up, I knew a few kids who had to have special shoes.  They were for correcting something about the way they stood or walked and usually they hated them.  I didn't pay a lot of attention, but I know they weren't always the most stylish thing out there.

I finally decided to do something about my back issues and went to see a physical therapist to see how I can improve my posture and strengthen my back to support my crooked spine as it ages.  Well, one of the first places she looked was my feet!  She noted a fallen arch resulting in over-pronation of one foot.  This compounded the effect of a slightly shorter leg which might be part of my back problem. The prescription was "stability running shoes".  Didn't even know such a thing existed!  So out with the old runners and in with this pair of Asics which have firm arches (different material in the arch section which is more dense) and a heel counter which doesn't give much side-to-side.  As it happens these are a great fit for my narrow feet which like a wide toe box, as well.
As much as I like these shoes, they aren't always appropriate for every occasion.  I've been keeping my eye out for new sandals for a while.  I saw some in a store a few weeks ago which caught my eye.  It wasn't the fashion that caught my eye, but the shape of the sole.
These are Orthaheel Porto III slides.  The arch and heel cup in these also are meant to counter over-pronation!  And bonus to that, having all three straps velcro adjustable means a perfect fit!  Check out the video HERE. Interestingly, after wearing them full time (indoors and out) for a few weeks, I have the impression that my leg/foot is learning to stand with less pronation even after I take them off.  Is that possible?

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Big changes

Moving in with Dad's help...

Moving out with Dad's help...