I woke up early and went to a diner in my neighborhood to have breakfast. I brought with me "Violin Playing as I teach it" by Leopold Auer, and read a chapter about left hand technique as well as the first chapter "How I studied the violin" over coffee. I was so inspired that I rushed home and grabbed my violin and headed to a practice room at a college near where I live. I stayed there for three hours playing through scales, and Suzuki pieces. It felt really good to have that intensive time. After getting home and resting I practiced for another 30 minutes.
I'm thinking that if I keep up this regiment that I will be done with Suzuki Book 2 by end of the summer and will also have worked on a multitude of technique issues.
The other thing I'd like to do is to join the 92nd street Y and swim 3-4 times a week.
I finished the book “Heifetz as I remembered him” and enjoyed that very much. I did feel a little sad at the end. A great violinist dies all alone. Family and friends are important. I can live on music but friends and family are also important.
I am reading now “Indivisible by Four” by Arnold Steinhardt. This is a book about the Guarneri String Quartet. It is a wonderful read, and Mr. Steinhardt describes eloquently his journey first as a violin student at Curtis, then fledging soloist, and finally a string quartet player. I did not know before reading the book that there used to be a stigma attached to playing in a quartet professionally. People used to think that quartet musicians were failed soloists. I certainly do not see it that way and think that Guarneri, Emerson, Shanghai, and all the other wonderful quartets add tremendously to musical life.
A funny story about the Guarneri Quartet and how I started playing the violin. In a small way I owe a small debt to the second violinist of the Guarneri String Quartet. About two and a half years ago, I was sitting in church service, and at the end of service I turned to the couple to the left of me and introduced myself as is customary. It turned out that the gentleman sitting to my left was the second violinist for Guarneri Quartet – John Dalley! Actually, to be honest, I did not know much about Guarneri. I knew the name because Arnold Steinhardt made a small appearance in a film call “Music of the Heart” about a violin teacher in East Harlem in New York City. However, at that time, I was thinking about taking up the violin. Mr. Dalley was so encouraging and told me to do it, and that with hard work I would make progress very quickly. That cinched it and I bought myself a violin that fall.
Yesterday I stopped off at Tower Records downtown on 4th street and Broadway and bought a bunch of CDs. I bought the complete Mozart violin concertos performed by Arthur Grumiaux. I also bought the two CD set of the Guarneri quartet performing the early cycle of the Beethoven string quartets and also their recording of the Dvorak and Schumann recording with pianist Arthur Rubinstein. I also bought an Isaac Stern recording of the music of Fritz Kreisler because his piece “Praeludium and Allegro” has been on my mind lately.
More entries: August 2006 June 2006
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