LATEST DEBATE

We discuss the essential issues in today's string music world

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 ...

Debate Friday, 27 June 2014

Too few conductors understand their double bass section

Double bass soloist Gary Karr on the need for conductors' attitudes to change towards his instrument

During my 40 years of soloing with orchestras around the world, I have never ceased to be amazed by the lack of knowledge and respect demonstrated by some conductors towards the double...

Debate Wednesday, 28 May 2014

String players can make the best orchestral conductors

There’s a growing trend of string players turning to conducting – and as Andrew Mellor argues, it’s the orchestras that stand to reap the benefits

A few years ago I had a fascinating conversation with the Finnish violinist and conductor John Storgårds. He told me how, one summer, he and a few friends had got together to play some chamber...

Debate Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Why do so few string players start out learning the viola?

The UK may be producing some talented viola players, but violist Louise Lansdown cannot understand how, when the instrument is under-supported at grass-roots level

Why do so few string players start out learning the viola rather than opting for the violin or the cello instead? It cannot be due to a lack of opportunity: small and reasonably priced violas are readily...

Debate Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Historically informed performance on modern instruments is misguided

Historically informed performance is all well and good, argues Julian Haylock, but continuing to play on modern instruments just results in the worst of both worlds

We take historical performance practice so much for granted these days that it is easy to forget just how fundamental the changes were as the movement began gathering pace during the 1960s and 70s. ...

Debate Friday, 18 April 2014

An interesting and well-written biography is key to promoting yourself as a musician

String players shouldn’t put up with badly written, out-of-date biographies put together by agents, argues Helen Michetschläger. Do it yourself and reap the rewards

Musicians often complain that their work is not valued. There are concerns that audiences are getting older, particularly in areas such as chamber music. Press coverage of classical music has dwindled...

Debate Wednesday, 02 April 2014

Should music tuition revolve around passing exams?

Toby Deller argues that young players should be inspired by fulfilling experiences

There’s a story about a boy who has just finished his instrumental exam and begs to know whether he has passed. Unfortunately, replies the examiner, he’s not allowed to say, but the results...

Debate Monday, 31 March 2014

The skills we learn as musicians can counteract today's short attention spans

Are apps, tweets and status updates killing our minds? Ariane Todes argues that string players are uniquely placed to rise above the dangers of modern technology

Is the internet and mobile technology changing the way we think? It’s a big question these days, one discussed in panicked tones in the various media forms whose existence is threatened by the...

Debate Monday, 24 March 2014

Why can’t players get vibrato right?

Vibrating need not compromise purity of tone if it’s done tastefully, says Tully Potter, who takes to task those who overplay, misplay or completely disown it

We live in an age of too many certainties, and string playing has not escaped the attentions of the fundamentalists. If I had a pound for every word of nonsense that has been vented on the subject of...

Debate Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Museums must be allowed to display historic instruments to the public

Suggestions that instrumental care is too delicate a task for museums are dangerously wide of the mark, and pay scant regard to their educational objectives, argues Alex Robinson

Among the basic purposes of any museum are the preservation of historic artefacts and the education of visitors. Applied to musical instruments, these goals can seem at odds. On one hand, most instruments...

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