Masterclass Tuesday, Feb. 28th, 2012

“You know, in violin playing, everything that looks pretty is good, and everything that looks ugly is bad.”

The voice you hear from the beginning of this video is of the great pedagogue and mentor of my grad school professor, Mr. Ivan Galamian. The student, if you can believe it, is a young Joshua Bell.

Ivan Galamian wrote the book on violin playing. Literally. I use his scale/bowing book as technique practice on an almost daily basis. And it’s rare that I’ll flip through his famous publication of “Principles of Violin Playing and Teaching” without having at least one moment of awe in how clear he’s able to make things. Even through this masterclass, it’s his simplicity which is most staggering. Violinists have a tendency to over think pretty much everything. The amount of time I’ve spent getting straight bows on my students seems to come so naturally and effortlessly to Galamian’s teaching.

Plus, it’s always nice to see superstars like Joshua Bell at their starting points. Even he struggled every now and then. It helps to think about.

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