FOCUS

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

Focus 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 ...

Focus 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...

Focus Monday, 09 June 2014

10 ways to maximise tone projection for string players

Tips on projecting your sound from over 120 years of The Strad

The first prerequisite to having a beautiful tone is to have the sound in your head. Just like we speak with the accent of the language we hear, we will want to produce a tone like those we hear from...

Focus Thursday, 05 June 2014

7 techniques to combat stage fright

How often has a potential performance of a lifetime turned into a performance from hell? Are you suffering from stage fright? Laurinel Owen gives advice on overcoming this common affliction

Performing has many rewards, yet stage fright may cause you to forget why you love music. In working out a programme for stress management don't lose sight of the reasons why you perform and bear in...

Focus Wednesday, 04 June 2014

From the Archive: advice for budding orchestral players

Chas J Rockwell compiled a list of handy rules for less experienced orchestral players in The Strad's July 1893 issue

1. Cultivate your sense of hearing. Insist on and see to it that your instrument is in proper tune with itself and the rest of the orchestra.

2. Accustom yourself...

Focus Tuesday, 03 June 2014

Guidance for music teachers: how to deal with difficult parents

Difficult pupils can be the least of some teachers’ worries. Sometimes parents can be more of a handful than their sons and daughters. Catherine Nelson provides essential tips for dealing with misguided parent power

Wouldn’t it be so much simpler if, as a teacher, you only had to deal with your pupils rather than with their parents as well? Supportive parents can make the teacher’s world a better place...

Focus Thursday, 29 May 2014

Ask the Experts: How to keep your instrument clean

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

In the sixth of the series, three instrument makers and restorers respond to a reader's query about how to keep her instrument clean of rosin.

Do you have a burning question...

Focus Tuesday, 27 May 2014

7 things to remember when buying a bow

Bows for so long seen as mere accessories, are increasingly attracting serious investors, writes Femke Colborne

Traditionally thought of merely as accessories, bows are becoming more and more important – not only to players, but also to investors. Bows by certain makers now regularly fetch upwards of $100...

Focus Thursday, 22 May 2014

How to nurture a musical prodigy

Early public exposure and adulation can overwhelm highly gifted youngsters. Catherine Nelson talks to expert teachers about how they help prodigies cope

What exactly defines a prodigy? Nicolas Chisholm, head of the Yehudi Menuhin School in Surrey, explains that it has some strange connotations: ‘Prodigy is a dangerous word – it derives from...

Focus Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Double Acts: Mstislav Rostropovich and Maxim Vengerov

Before he became friends with Mstislav Rostropovich, Maxim Vengerov had to learn how to drink

MSTISLAV ROSTROPOVICH I don't remember the first time I met Maxim, because now it is as if we have always been together. He has such a career, such a gift for making music, such gifts...

Cookie
viola stolen!
I had my viola stolen last week from Liverpool. Label has: Aubrey J. Tarr 1974...
violin blocks
I have an old unlabled violin and I have noticed 4 small blocks about5cm square...
violin left hand position
I have a new student , quite advanced, who has a 'double jointed' left thumb...
serene violin solo pre-1917
Hi folks. For a story I'm writing I'd like suggestions for the most serene and...
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