FOCUS

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

Focus 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...

Focus 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...

Focus 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...

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...

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