Most of us violinists (as well as violists, cellists and bassists) are our most comfortable in an orchestra setting. Of course, the music is fantastic, and usually very challenging to learn and play. But learn and play we do, after woodshedding our parts carefully at home. Our teachers have been able to impart their technical and musical know-how to allow us to learn difficult pieces on our own. We take those skills, now finely honed, to the concert hall, where we deeply breathe in the joy of a beautiful performance, in amazing rhythm with our colleagues. If we’re lucky, our family and friends in the audience will enjoy our performance as much as we do.
Last month, writing for SHAR’s blog series, “The Lives of Artists . . . In Their Own Words”, Formosa Quartet violinist Jasmine Lin explained that being open to an unclear future is what enabled four individuals to coalesce into one ensemble fifteen years ago. Trusting their own intuitions, and each other’s, has allowed them to continually renew themselves artistically, engaging deeply with their audience in the process.
But sometimes a change is needed. Artists are explorers at heart, and since they trust their own intuitions, they develop the courage to venture out. This is not the same as fearlessness. It’s quite the opposite: It’s venturing into the unknown despite their fear. For violinist Rebecca Fischer, that meant giving up something that she still loves and that still brings her joy, as her beloved Chiara Quartet lovingly disbands after 25 years together. As Rebecca passionately puts it in her blog article, “What I want to do in this next stage of my life is both clear and completely open to me.” And that’s how “The Afield” was born . . .
As was mentioned in the first two parts of this series (featuring accessories for common left and right-hand problems), each student is different with different strengths and weaknesses, different commitment levels, and different motivations. For those students that need some special attention or have some challenges to overcome, where do you find the time to investigate the solution, find the right book or product, and apply it to their unique issue? At SHAR, we’ve discovered the answers from an obvious source: From other teachers! After all, teachers know best, and because they are teachers they love sharing what they know! Teachers know that most habits are learned during practice, not at the lesson, so motivating a student to practice the right way is as much a challenge as having them "get it" at the lesson. These books by other teachers can help your student make a breakthrough!