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Top stories from the string music world

Blogs Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Playing with less emotion can create more beautiful music

Putting in more effort does not necessarily mean greater improvement, writes violin professor and soloist Andrej Bielow

Our way of thinking about interpretation develops over time. One year you will play a piece with your coach in a certain way, and ten years later you might have very different ideas about it –...

Focus Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Stringed instrument myths exposed

So you’ve heard the one about the old masters using insect wings in their varnish, and the one where you can spit on your instrument to see if it’s cracked – but are the stories true? Vicky Hancock consults the experts

Myths, tales, received wisdom – whatever name you give the gems of information floating around in the string world, there’s always the question of whether they’re actually true or ...

News Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Former head of strings Malcolm Layfield charged with rape

The musician was formerly head of strings at the Royal Northern College of Music and taught at Chetham’s

Former Royal Northern College of Music head of strings, Malcolm Layfield, has been charged with one count of rape. The alleged offence – against a then 18-year-old – dates back to 1982, ...

Focus Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Ask the Experts: protecting your instrument in hot and humid temperatures

Strad readers submit their problems and queries about string playing, teaching or making to a panel of experts

In the eighth of the series, four luthiers and restorers advise a musician on how to care for her instrument during the hot summer months.Do you have a burning question about...

Debate Monday, 28 July 2014

The US ivory ban risks criminalising hard-working musicians

US restrictions on sales of ivory-tipped bows will place unreasonable demands on owners and strip essential music tools of their value, says violin maker and dealer Jay Ifshin

No one should underestimate how disturbing the Obama administration’s ivory ban order is for the world of classical music. Bows are already being seized from international musicians coming to ...

News Monday, 28 July 2014

Music competitions are rife with corruption, says cellist Julian Lloyd Webber

The British musician claims many competitions exist ‘only as a way for teachers to promote their own pupils’

Julian Lloyd Webber has hit out at classical music competitions in The Times, claiming that many are rife with bribery and dishonesty. ‘Almost all music competitions are corrupt and exist only...

News Monday, 28 July 2014

Violinist Frances Andrade ‘failed’ by mental health services, says coroner

The 48-year-old musician took her own life after giving evidence of sexual abuse against former Chetham’s School of Music teacher Michael Brewer

Violinist Frances Andrade, who died a week after giving evidence of sexual abuse at the trial of former chorus master Michael Brewer, was ‘failed’ by mental health services, according to...

Focus Friday, 25 July 2014

Record instrument prices of the past

The sale of the ‘Lady Blunt’ Stradivarius violin for £9.8m in 2011 broke all auction records, but high prices for instruments are nothing new, writes Benjamin Hebbert

The appraisal of instruments' values started early. Already at the beginning of the 17th century, musical instrument connoisseurs had begun to distinguish between the qualities of new...

Focus Friday, 25 July 2014

How to use creativity and logic to help your practice

Shelly Tramposh explains how you can practise more effectively by combining the interpretative flair of an artist with the problem-solving skills of an engineer

About ten years ago, I began to wonder if I could get more out of my practice time. I was very busy with teaching at the time, and I needed to make every second of practice count; I also felt disconnected...

Focus Friday, 25 July 2014

5 tips for viola teachers by Juilliard School professor Michael Tree

How can viola teachers help their students develop into good players? The former Guarneri Quartet violist outlines the most important areas to focus on

Playing both the violin and the viola is an advantage for students If you have studied the violin, you should continue playing it when you can. The technical demands of the violin are...

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