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

Debate Thursday, 23 January 2014

Why we should take Chinese players seriously

Using the lazy assumption that string players from China have ‘great technique but no musicality’ ignores the talent that they bring to Western music, says Nancy Pellegrini

It has been three decades since Isaac Stern took a film crew to China and made the Academy Award-winning documentary From Mao to Mozart. Stern spoke to teachers, gave masterclasses and held...

Debate Friday, 17 January 2014

Get rid of histrionics in quartet playing

Over-the-top emoting by individual players ruins the whole point of chamber music, says David Kettle

I recently went to six concerts at London’s Southbank Centre where ten different string quartets – some well established, others just starting out – gave performances of Peter Maxwell...

Debate Friday, 03 January 2014

Are the achievements of El Sistema the tip of the iceberg?

The results of Sistema-based social programmes are almost impossible to quantify – but as Jonathan Govias argues, the potential of ‘the system’ is boundless

With the British government investing millions of pounds into the development of a national El Sistema network while simultaneously enforcing a policy of austerity, the new question emerging about El...

Debate Monday, 09 December 2013

Must all orchestral string sections sound the same?

Orchestras once boasted unmistakable musical identities, but an emotionally sanitised age has brought about a lamentable universality of sound, says Julian Haylock

The encroaching universality of orchestral sound over the last quarter of a century, including the sad loss of all those intoxicating Franco–Russian string, brass and woodwind timbres, is one ...

Debate Thursday, 05 December 2013

Do top ten lists miss the whole point of music?

The compulsion to rank performers by number denies the subtlety and diversity of their craft, argues Ariane Todes

Top ten this; top forty that. Barely a week goes by without a three-hour television programme compiling the top hundred films, comedians, adverts – whatever – ever. Or magazines whose covers...

Debate Wednesday, 04 December 2013

Too much too young

Competition juries are too easily swayed by young talent, argues Tully Potter. True string playing greatness comes from experience

The worst result that can emerge from a musical competition is for the jury to give the first prize to a teenager. I have seen it happen so many times, and I would like to know where all those young...

Debate Friday, 27 September 2013

Sounds good, in theory

Instead of simply focusing on technical prowess, performers should have as profound an understanding of music theory as composers do, argues cellist David Watkin, since it can only serve to develop their skills

In the last few pages of his final book, Structural Functions of Harmony, composer Arnold Schoenberg draws attention to the passing of a significant watershed in performance history: ‘Listening...

Debate Wednesday, 11 September 2013

String players should give credit where credit is due

Philippa Bunting asks why string teachers and players are so reluctant to acknowledge the people who have influenced them

For a variety of reasons, my thoughts have recently turned to the issue of heritage, and specifically to the ways in which we, as players and teachers, go about acknowledging what we might call our ...

Debate Thursday, 01 August 2013

Demanding the best

String teachers in America are accentuating the positive at the expense of the negative, argues Stephen Shipps. Are pedagogues failing in their duties by being too nice?

We have arrived at a point at which exacting teaching is a rarity in the US. This trend is not exclusive to string teaching, but is one that permeates our entire educational system. The cost of education...

Debate Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Secret commissions: the dark side of teaching

Teachers must be open about any commission they get when a student buys an instrument, argues Ariane Todes

There are surprisingly few aspects of this business that truly make me angry and about which I can categorically say, ‘This is a bad thing’. But one came up in conversation recently and ...

serene violin solo pre-1917
Hi folks. For a story I'm writing I'd like suggestions for the most serene and...
I want to try some new strings on my violin. It's English, 1875, and has quite...
violin left hand position
I have a new student , quite advanced, who has a 'double jointed' left thumb...
Electric violin and bows stolen in London
My friend John Garner's asking for help regarding his electric violin. Please...
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