FOCUS

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

Focus Friday, 05 September 2014

How to develop fourth finger strength

String students often suffer from weakness in the little finger, but this can be overcome, writes James Winram in the Strad’s July 1913 issue

A well-developed fourth finger is of paramount importance in the successful working of the left hand. The third finger is the trying one for pianists, and the fourth is similarly so for violinists. ...

Focus Thursday, 04 September 2014

Can bowing-wrist suppleness improve intonation?

Juan Krakenberger has made a number of interesting connections between good tuning and loosening the bowing wrist in his teaching

What would you say if I stated that right-wrist suppleness has an important role to play in achieving sensitive intonation with the left-hand fingers? These two matters may seem to have no connection...

Focus Wednesday, 03 September 2014

7 ways to play perfect chords

Advice on unforced and resonant chord playing from The Strad’s archives

One of the greatest difficulties experienced by the student consists in making the chords resonant and yet free from impurity of tone. They are apt to sound scratchy. The best way to correct this fault...

Focus Tuesday, 02 September 2014

From the Archive: Why do so many musicians have long hair?

Whether as a mark of distinction or genius, the trend is embodied by Eugène Ysaÿe, according to The Strad's June 1897 issue

London Truth discussing the question of hirsute eccentricities to which the majority of musicians are given, wonders why things are as they are. 'Is long hair an unfailing mark of genius?' ...

Focus Monday, 01 September 2014

Scales and exercises are essential for all string players, says Heinrich Schiff

Not all players regard exercises as important, but without a sound technical basis you cannot achieve your expressive potential, writes the cellist

Some 25 years of teaching have taught me that we players must always define what each of our motions at the cello represents - this is essential in order for us to be efficient artists capable of technical...

Focus Thursday, 28 August 2014

Why do so many orchestras lag behind the beat?

Even under the best conductors and in the finest orchestras, players tend to drag behind the baton. Evan Johnson looks at the reasons for this universal phenomenon

Conductors often urge orchestras not to play behind their beat, but players, though they may respond by looking more attentive, often continue to lag. Some conductors interpret this as incompetence ...

Focus Friday, 22 August 2014

Ask the Experts: how to deal with a young problem pupil

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

In the ninth of the series, four teachers give their thoughts on helping an errant seven-year-old focus on her lessons.

Do you have a burning question about string playing...

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...

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