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

Focus Tuesday, 04 March 2014

Your desk or mine? The pleasures and pitfalls of having an orchestral desk-partner

Classical music agony aunt Alice McVeigh offers some tips for a harmonious relationship

As an online agony aunt for classical musicians, I’m often asked how to cope with erring desk-partners. Oddly enough, it isn’t players in full-time orchestras who generally write about this...

Focus Tuesday, 04 March 2014

8 views on intonation

Tips and tricks on playing in tune – or giving the impression of playing in tune – from 100 years of The Strad

‘De Beriot, in his violin school, very wisely wrote: “True intonation in double strings requires an exquisite sense of harmony. In order to acquire this precious quality, the pupil must ...

Focus Friday, 28 February 2014

Violinist Heime Müller on his search to cure his focal dystonia

In this Health Matters interview from 2009, the German violinist tells how a loss of full finger motion was the first sign of the movement disorder, musician's dystonia

You have had to reduce your playing due to focal dystonia. What were the first signs?

It was in 2003 that I began to notice tiny things. I had a problem with the pattern that...

Focus Monday, 24 February 2014

How to use 'flow' to make the most of your practice

Andreas Burzik offers four principles that will minimise the effort and maximise the effects of practising

Every musician knows that blissful feeling of being totally lost to the world, absorbed and effortlessly involved with one’s instrument. All steps of the activity run seamlessly into each other...

Focus Friday, 21 February 2014

Faking it – the great unmentionable of orchestral playing

Given today’s high standards of musicianship, you might think top orchestral string players can play anything, but there are times when the best they can do is give the impression of playing every note as written, as cellist Alice McVeigh discovers

Faking, smudging, flying, putting the orchestral pedal down – there are so many ways to describe not being able to nail every last note. Yet it is, to some degree, the great unmentionable of orchestral...

Focus Friday, 21 February 2014

How to make a five-string viola

The five-stringed viola represents a creative and technical challenge for both players and luthiers. Ariane Todes talks to some of the people who are exploring its exciting possibilities

There’s something thrilling about the current rise of the five-stringed viola. In a world where violin makers work to regular specifications, often trying to recreate classic ...

Focus Friday, 21 February 2014

Violinist Elizabeth Wallfisch on how she overcame chronic RSI

In the second of our Health Matters interviews from 2009, the Australian violinist explains how sessions at the gym helped her overcome pain

Have you had any physical problems with playing?

I started having playing injuries in my teens. The first thing was tennis elbow in my right elbow. As the years progressed I ...

Focus Thursday, 20 February 2014

Bringing singing to violin technique: Charles-Auguste de Bériot

The Belgian pedagogue, who was born on this day in 1802, combined elements of the human voice with the virtuosity of Paganini in his violin treatise. Robin Stowell considers his Méthode...

Focus Monday, 17 February 2014

9 perspectives on spiccato

Like riding a bicycle, mastering spiccato is all about striking the perfect balance between control and release, as these excerpts from 100 years of The Strad demonstrate

‘As soon as we hold the bow lightly and make up our minds to obey its own sweet will, confining ourselves to readily follow the swing of its own weight – we gain confidence, we notice that...

Focus Friday, 14 February 2014

How a skiing injury changed the way I play, by Matthew Barley

In the first of our Health Matters series of interviews from 2009, the British cellist reveals how he overcame the shoulder complaint that threatened his career

Have you had any injuries and if so, how did you deal with them?

Over the last five or ten years my left shoulder was slowly getting stiffer, to the point that it was affecting...

serene violin solo pre-1917
Hi folks. For a story I'm writing I'd like suggestions for the most serene and...
I want to try some new strings on my violin. It's English, 1875, and has quite...
violin left hand position
I have a new student , quite advanced, who has a 'double jointed' left thumb...
Electric violin and bows stolen in London
My friend John Garner's asking for help regarding his electric violin. Please...
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