June 1, 2008

Pulling Strings

Filed under: music — origamifreak @ 5:43 pm
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A son of some friends had a violin recital today. He’s in a community arts program which includes instruction in strings.

Today’s concert was an hour and a half, and included solos from 21 violinists and three cellists.

There was also a presentation of a Bach double concerto by a subset of the students and an instructor, as well as the requisite group finale “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.”

Most of the pieces were accompanied on piano. Although the accompanist was very good about following the variable tempo of the performers and careful to keep his instrument soft, I actually preferred the unaccompanied pieces, as the acoustics of the church were fantastic with a single cello or violin voice; adding a piano tended to muddy the sound.

There were three different violin teachers represented, and it was interesting to see that their proteges reflected differerent teaching styles; one group of students had fairly solid technique and intonation, while another group were more expressive. The teachers themselves have played or do play in the Rochester Philharmonic, or the Syracuse Symphony.

I could tell that Stephen had the benefit of additional outside instruction; he was one of the few students who faced forward rather than watching his left hand, and the amount of improvement over last year is a leap, rather than a step. His progress has accelerated. Best of all, he still looks like he enjoys it.

Although all the performers were more or less nervous, I was particularly impressed with the bravery of the adults. It is not easy to go in front of a group of other parents and children and earnestly play a simpler piece than the subsequent third or fourth grader.


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