Master class with Simon James at the Colburn School's Sounding Point Academy border=0 align=

Master class with Simon James at the Colburn School's Sounding Point Academy

July 6, 2022, 4:27 PM · In mid-June, about 75 young violinists from around the U.S. gathered at the Colburn School - in person - for several weeks of intense study at Sounding Point Academy, a pre-college program founded by Robert Lipsett and Fabiola Kim.

After two years of pandemic-era summer programs that often involved Zoom gatherings, participants seemed happy for the opportunity to spend several weeks living in dorms together, practicing and making new friends.

"It's been the perfect combination of hanging out and practicing for hours," was the consensus of a group of students from The Gifted Music School in Salt Lake City who had traveled from Utah to participate.

I dropped in toward the end of the program to catch a few master classes, including one given by a well-known teacher that I've been wanting to observe - Sounding Point faculty member Simon James.

Based in Seattle, James teaches on faculty at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and is well-known for his skill in training solid number of young violinists who have won top prizes in international competitions. He also brings varied experience as a player to his teaching, having been a member of the Seattle Symphony, the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, and Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Orchestra; a recording artist; having performed with pop music artists such as Pearl Jam, Elton John, Billy Joel, and A R Rahman; and having made classical recordings as a soloist.

In addition to his encouraging words and ideas for students, James shared a lot of interesting concepts that would be a revelation to any violinist. Keep reading...

The Week in Reviews, Op. 360: Chad Hoopes; Aisslinn Nosky

July 5, 2022, 11:59 AM · In an effort to promote the coverage of live violin performance, each week presents links to reviews of notable concerts and recitals around the world.

Chad Hoopes performed Vivaldi’s "The Four Seasons" with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra at the Newport Classical Music Festival.

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Comments (2) weekend vote: Are you taking a vacation this summer? With fiddle or no?

July 3, 2022, 6:01 PM · With the last few years being a pandemic roller coaster, it's been a long time since I've taken a vacation and truly let go of everything.

This summer I finally got to do that. Thanks to my husband Robert, who runs the website we had the almost surreal opportunity to go on the Inaugural Cruise of the new "Disney Wish" ship last week. Of course, he spent the entire time writing articles, recording panels and doing interviews, but for my two grown kids and me, it was time off and time away from normal life. Without my violin or even an Internet connection, I truly disconnected for the first time in years! It felt good to simply put the brain and body in a different place for a week.

Have you been able to take a good vacation in the last few years? Do you have a getaway planned for this year? If so, will you be taking your violin, or not? Is your idea to get away from your fiddle, or actually take it with you and make it the focus of your "away" time? Please participate in the vote and then tell us all about it in the comments - and it’s okay to vote if your vacation already happened! For those of us readers in the U.S., happy Independence Day!

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Comments (18)

Finding, Not Forcing, the Bow’s Path

July 2, 2022, 6:02 PM · When it comes to guiding the movement of the bow, it's not necessary to exaggerate the bending of the wrist to allow the bow to travel freely.

Teachers often advise violin students to turn the wrist out on the down-bow and in on the up-bow. That can be good advice, but it also can easily be overdone. I’ve noticed that students who concentrate on the stick instead of the hand will do a better job of keeping the bow straight. Advice such as the wrist turning in and out should be used only to modify the more natural approach.

So how can you learn to keep your mind on the bow, without looking at it? Keep reading...

Comments (3)

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