FOCUS

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

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...

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 ...

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...

Focus Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Is repetitive practice a good or a bad thing?

A prolonged, sickening and monotonous repetition of a section of music or the legitimate means of mastering a difficult passage? Joseph O'Doherty weighs up the two sides.

Should repetitive practice be abolished or should it be retained in pupils' home practice? One cannot not answer these questions properly unless it is clearly understood what exactly is meant by 'repetitive...

Focus Tuesday, 22 July 2014

From the Archive: The Strad responds to the declaration of World War I

A month after the beginning of the First World War, The Strad's editorial reflected on tough times ahead for classical music ― from reductions in funding to the folly of banning works by German composers

What effect the war will have upon the musical world remains to be seen. That things will suffer greatly can hardly be doubted; one has only to remember the early days of the South African campaign....

Focus Monday, 21 July 2014

Are modern instrument cleaners better than their past equivalents?

Turpentine, garlic and warm beer were all ingredients in instrument cleaners of the past. Are modern cleaners any better? Padraig ó Dubhlaoidh examines a far from spotless history

My dictionary defines ‘accessory’ in two ways: firstly, as ‘an additional or extra thing – contributing or aiding in a minor way – dispensable’ and secondly, as one...

Focus Thursday, 17 July 2014

How to balance physical, mental and emotional aspects of your playing

Playing an instrument is not just a physical feat – it requires a musician’s hands, head and heart to work together in perfect combination. Pedro de Alcantara explains how to achieve better coordination between the three

We tend to compartmentalise different aspects of our lives. Into one box we put things that we consider physical: the body, movement, posture, tension and relaxation. Into a second box goes all that...

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