FOCUS

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

Focus Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Me and my teacher: Dan Styffe and Gary Karr

The double bass virtuoso taught Styffe how to control the pressures of the world outside the teaching studio

I started on the violin and the electric bass. I didn’t play the double bass until I was 17 and then it was by mistake. I went to music school to learn the electric bass and get into jazz and ...

Focus Tuesday, 12 August 2014

How to bow with absolute precision

Awareness of the movement of each right-hand finger is one of the great secrets of bowing, writes Rok Klopčič

There are at least two different concepts of right-hand hold in the violin literature. One is that of Galamian, who wrote that it is ‘based on a system of springs’; and the other is that...

Focus Friday, 08 August 2014

How to phrase feedback get the best from your student

Are the words teachers use helping or harming their students? Femke Colborne learns from psychologists and string instructors that the way feedback is phrased can dramatically affect a student’s progress

In the past few years, a number of studies have shown that praising a student’s effort helps them progress, whereas repeatedly telling a student how talented they are can make them arrogant and...

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...

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