FOCUS

Ariane Todes selects her favourite stories and interviews from The Strad website and beyond

Focus Monday, 18 August 2014

Studying the violin with Jascha Heifetz

Sherry Kloss, Heifetz's assistant at the University of Southern California, and the recipient of his Tononi violin, shares some memories of her teacher and mentor

My association with the Master began in 1974 in Palm Springs California, where I had just been chosen a winner of a major competition. The Dean of the University of Southern California asked me if I...

Focus Friday, 15 August 2014

How to develop left-hand finger strength

Up and down movement is the basis of left-hand technique and many pedagogues have invented fiendish exercises to improve it. Rok Klopčič takes a look at some of them

To play even the most simple melody we must stop the string in order to define pitch, making vertical finger motion the central element of left-hand technique. As a result it has received much attention...

Focus Thursday, 14 August 2014

6 tips for smooth bow changes

Advice on smooth and inaudible bow changes at the tip and the heel from The Strad’s archives

The problem of effecting a smooth and inaudible change of bow at the nut (most players do it well at the point) is one that long occupied the thoughts of our greatest teachers. The consensus seems to...

Focus Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Me and my teacher: Dan Styffe and Gary Karr

The double bass virtuoso taught Styffe how to control the pressures of the world outside the teaching studio

I started on the violin and the electric bass. I didn’t play the double bass until I was 17 and then it was by mistake. I went to music school to learn the electric bass and get into jazz and ...

Focus Tuesday, 12 August 2014

How to bow with absolute precision

Awareness of the movement of each right-hand finger is one of the great secrets of bowing, writes Rok Klopčič

There are at least two different concepts of right-hand hold in the violin literature. One is that of Galamian, who wrote that it is ‘based on a system of springs’; and the other is that...

Focus Friday, 08 August 2014

How to phrase feedback get the best from your student

Are the words teachers use helping or harming their students? Femke Colborne learns from psychologists and string instructors that the way feedback is phrased can dramatically affect a student’s progress

In the past few years, a number of studies have shown that praising a student’s effort helps them progress, whereas repeatedly telling a student how talented they are can make them arrogant and...

Focus Thursday, 07 August 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 Wednesday, 06 August 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 Tuesday, 05 August 2014

Me and my teacher: Levon Chilingirian and Manoug Parikian

When Chilingirian began taking violin lessons with his uncle, he was forced to re-examine every aspect of his playing, writes Joanna Pieters

I spent a year studying with Manoug Parikian after I finished at the Royal College of Music in 1969. I had just won the BBC Beethoven duo competition with Clifford Benson and I wanted to find out more...

Focus Monday, 04 August 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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