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Toss the Carrot and Stick: Modern-Day Strategies for Motivating Musicians
By Martha Walvoord
What drives us and makes us unpack the instrument every day? Why do we pursue careers in music? In a society that, at times, seems to value STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) over STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math), why do we continue to come back to this creative art? Most of us would answer one or all of these questions by saying that we love music, we feel drawn to music, and we enjoy the creative endeavors involved in music-making and teaching. When the passion becomes the vocation, however, the transition can be difficult.
To Move or Not to Move: Balance and Movement in String Playing
By Kenneth L. Sarch
Some string players move profusely, some hardly move at all during their performances. Pop string players move and dance all over the place during their renditions and audience members remark that this shows how they “really get into their music!” These pop players are exaggerating the natural movements that string players employ to physically play their instrument. So, what movements do we teach our students? What movements do we encourage and what do we discourage?
Teaching Beyond the Staff: Creative and Tested Ideas to Implement in the Music Studio for Excellence and Success
By Michele Pinet
Studio teachers face a dilemma: how to maintain the rigor and discipline of a successful music studio while sparking creativity and enthusiasm in students, their families, and themselves. Simply hearing scales, arpeggios, and slow-to-progress solos can lead to boredom for the necessary triangle of motivation that astute students, their families, and their teachers comprise. There are ways to blend the structure of older school core components with fresh and festive learning opportunities.
Concepts of the Alexander Technique and Practical Ideas for Musicians
By Tomas Cotik
My intent with this article is to speak about my understanding of some concepts and ideas that were inspired by my years of studying the Alexander Technique and putting the work into daily practice. I first became interested in the Alexander Technique as a violin student of Professor Nicolas Chumachenco at the Musikhochsuchule Freiburg. The Alexander Technique lessons I took during those years helped me develop as a violinist and became the groundwork of my technical approach to the instrument. Fast-forward many years—these concepts are now a central aspect of my violin teaching.
The Targeted Mini-Etude: Conquering Problems before They Arise
By William Herzog
From a young age, most musicians have three main categories of material that they practice on a regular basis: repertoire, etudes, and scales. It is part of the teacher’s job to ensure that the regimen of scales and etudes helps to build a solid technical foundation for the student. It is even better if teachers choose etudes and scales that prepare a student for the specific musical challenges in their repertoire. However, while this general model works well, even the most fastidious teachers will occasionally fall short of adequately preparing a student for all the challenges in new pieces of music.