musicality

Conversation with János Starker (1)

János Starker is known throughout the world as a soloist, recording artist, and teacher. Born in Budapest in 1924, Janos Starker came to the United States in 1948, where he subsequently held the principal cellist chair in three American orchestras, including the Chicago Symphony under Fritz Reiner. Starker then resumed his international performing career in 1958. Since then he has performed thousands of concerts with orchestras and in recitals throughout the world. When not touring, János Starker holds the title of Distinguished Professor at Indiana University in Bloomington, where his classes have attracted talented string players from around the world.   TJ: Is there such a thing as a student with no talent for an instrument? JS: I wouldn't say that a person has no talent, I would rather say [...]

Turning on Your Musicality — by Gregory Beaver

“You can teach how to play the cello, but you can’t teach musicality!” I can’t tell you how many times I have heard this old chestnut espoused, both by teachers and by students. For many years, I believed it. But is it really true? Let’s start by asking the unasked question: what is musicality? Can we even agree on which performances are musical as opposed to “technical?” After years of performing, teaching, and carefully observing both my own playing and that of others, I’ve noticed a curious phenomenon: everybody sucks at answering this question. Many times I have been upset at myself for playing a wooden performance, and then upon hearing a recording of that performance, was moved by what I heard. Many more times, the opposite was true. Very [...]

By |2019-05-16T19:15:06+00:00October 30th, 2017|Categories: In the Practice Room, Self Discovery, Teaching|Tags: , , , |

The Swan — by Arnold Steinhardt

When I was eleven years old, my violin teacher assigned me The Swan by Camille Saint-Saëns. I had no idea that The Swan was a famous cello solo or that it was part of a much larger work, “The Carnival of the Animals.” I had never even heard of its composer, Saint-Saëns, or seen his name in print before. I wondered why there was a funny line between his two-word last name and what could be the purpose of those strange dots perched on top. And was Saint-Saëns actually a saint? I thought that The Swan was very pretty and probably associated the music’s title with its general mood in some vague way. As a child, I often saw swans gliding regally through the water on the lake near where [...]

Exploring Beethoven 5th, Variation One — by Jonathan Pegis

Continuing our discussion of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony, let us examine the first variation. As I did with the theme, I will first talk about the technical challenges of this excerpt and then look at the musical challenges.  First of all, it is very important that you play this excerpt in the exact same tempo that you played the theme.  A common mistake is to play this variation much faster than the theme simply because of that long first down bow.  One trick that helps is when you finish the theme keep counting the quarter note rests at the end of measure  10, and then count off the two quarter note rests in measure 49.  (Almost like you were making a cut!)  You can do the same thing at the end [...]