Ariane Todes selects her favourite stories and interviews from The Strad website and beyond
Tuesday, 24 June 2014
Survival tips for touring musicians
International tours bring a wealth of opportunities for discovering new cultures and audiences – along with less pleasant experiences such as jet lag and homesickness. Sarah Mnatzaganian asks string players for their travel tips
Travel has always been an inescapable dimension of musical life, from the wanderings of medieval minstrels to the jet-setting of today’s soloists. When your manager mentions your next tour, does...
Monday, 23 June 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...
Friday, 20 June 2014
10 useful business skills for musicians
You need flexibility and business acumen as well as talent to stand out from the crowd in today’s rapidly changing music world, argues double bassist-turned-agent Corrado Canonici
There are few who would claim that it’s easy to make a living in classical music. More and more well-qualified musicians enter the business every day, at the same time that orchestras, promoters...
Thursday, 19 June 2014
Cellist Pablo Casals on expressive intonation
The great artist believed that 50 per cent of a player's total dramatic power lay in exaggerated intonation, writes former pupil Pamela Hind O'Malley
Casals has long been accepted as the greatest of all string players. His playing was marked by a unique fusion of musicality and technique. But, while many of his technical innovations have now passed...
Tuesday, 17 June 2014
How to develop an expressive vibrato
Just one beautiful note is all we need as a starter for a gorgeous vibrato, writes Phyllis Young
The fascinating technique of vibrato is actually based on something very ordinary and common, so we should never be afraid of it. After all, we have been shaking things since we spotted the rattle in...
Monday, 16 June 2014
Tips for proper bow maintenance
There’s more to looking after your bow than simply replacing the hair. Peg Baumgartel gives advice on everything from monitoring straightness to identifying cracks
Maintaining your bow is as important as maintaining your instrument, yet many players do not know what this entails beyond replacing the hair. Your bow can bring you countless hours of enjoyment and...
Friday, 13 June 2014
Teaching a stringed instrument you have never played before
What do you do if you’re asked to teach a stringed instrument that isn’t the one you play? ‘Don’t panic!’ That’s the first rule, according to the experts that Ariane Todes asked
There’s a scene in Evelyn Waugh’s Decline and Fall where the hapless hero, sent down from Oxford and taking up employment at a minor public school, is faced with giving organ lessons for...
Thursday, 12 June 2014
7 mental techniques to boost your practice
Effective practice without the frustration and drudgery? Piet Koornhot looks at ways to direct your imagination.
We all know the joke about the lost tourist who asks a passer-by in New York, 'How do I get to Carnegie Hall?' and gets the reply, 'Practise, practise!'
Many musicians have resigned themselves...
Wednesday, 11 June 2014
Harnessing breathing to improve your string playing
Breathing naturally is one of the first principles of Alexander teaching - and it's a must for anyone who suffers from stage fright, says Joseph Sanders
These days most musicians have some knowledge of the Alexander Technique. Many have had Alexander lessons at school or college, or have at least heard about it from friends or teachers. When people ...
Tuesday, 10 June 2014
How to breathe freely when playing a stringed instrument
Ruth Phillips describes how she persuades musicians to rediscover their body and their instrument through the gentle art of inhaling
The in-breath followed by the out-breath is a form of expansion and contraction, which is the essence of bowing; it is receiving and giving inspiration, which is the essence of performance; it is tension...