Fundamental and Noteworthy from Studio Class Part 2

This is a continuation of last week’s post about studio class.

Misha Amory on:

Sarabande of the 6th Bach Suite

First try playing the melody alone without the chords.  In doing so the melodic tension is no longer interrupted.  Next, when playing with the full chords, the note before the chord can help keep the melodic tension going through the gap introduced by the chord.  Keep your bow speed greatest at the top of the chord.


Brahms Eb Sonata, 1st Movement

Think of the opening as a singer would vocalize it.  In the notes which appear before a rest, let them trail off with no definite point of ceasing.  Don’t feel rushed during rests, even small ones.


Franck Sonata, 4th Movement

In the canon at the beginning of the movement, follow the piano’s line.  The quiet and loud moments won’t line up, and that’s a good thing.  It’s a game of tag between two people in love.


Hsin-yun Huang on:

Walton Concerto, 2nd Movement

Think and play and big gestures. What does this actually mean?? – Communicate toward the audience, but also retain a huge awareness of what’s behind you (100 people!).

When do people usually rush? When they want more direction, but the sound is ’empty’ or lifeless. How do you fix this? Put characters into the arrival notes in order to give life and interest to the sound.

Enjoy those yummy Walton moments that we are all wanting to hear! The distance between you and the music should be like skin and blood.

Use the bow to your advantage in showing rhythmic vitality; there’s more POWER at the frog – and you definitely need power when the orchestra is so huge.


Steven Tenenbom on:

Bruch Romanze

In romantic music like this, bow distribution is the key to bringing out emotive phrasing.  Use bow speed as the main element to convey leading towards and coming away from a phrase, as opposed to pressure.


Arvo Pärt Fratres

The viola is a commentary on the piano.  Use a bow stroke comprised of only small wrist motion (as opposed to upper arm motion) in the beginning arpeggios to keep the viola from breaking the spell of the piece.


Heidi Castleman on:

Walton Concerto, 2nd Movement

Practice ‘body percussion’: clap everything with the desired sound and depth of each note played on the instrument. Bring your arms closer to your torso, use your back, and release and relax to help with resonance. It also helps to realize that your arms start at the collar bones – actually all the way at the middle of your chest. Use this exercise to help your body find how to produce the articulations needed between each note in running 16ths.

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