Write now

There is power in writing.  Pen to paper writing.  A heart and brain connection that goes beyond just pondering, meditating, or reading, or even typing.  I started keeping a practicing journal when I was working on my Master of Music degree, scrambling to capture the wisdom shared during my private and group lessons, and trying …

Paganini, Part 4 of 4

Paganini's influence on composers and performers was remarkable and decisive.  Upon hearing Paganini perform in Vienna, Joseph Bohm was convinced that Paganini was the greatest virtuoso that had ever lived.  Bohm's experience convinced him not to seek greater achievement, but to retire from performing all together.  This was not the decisive effect that Paganini had …

Paganini, Part 3 of 4

From 1810 on, Paganini worked as a free agent of sorts, travelling across Europe and gaining superstar status among concert-goers and the general public alike.  After a debut concert at La Scala, Milan, a music critic recorded: He is without question the foremost and greatest violinist in the world. His playing is truly inconceivable.  He …

I am a Magpie

"I am such a magpie", my British friend always says.  She isn't an obnoxious talker, as the phrase sometimes implies.  She is refined and careful in speech, but she does embody another definition of the phrase--one who collects indiscriminately.  She loves beautiful things: clothes, jewelry, flowers, scents, bags, decorating... She notices beauty and is quick to inquire about …

Paganini, Part 2 of 4

In continuation of one of my graduate papers, this is Part 2 of 4, Niccolò Paganini: The Virtuoso, and His Impact on Romantic Era Instrumentalists and Composers. In 1795, he spent a year studying in Parma with the concertmaster of the Royal Orchestra, Allesandro Rolla. He was still accompanied by his father at this point …

Paganini Tabloid Fodder

No doubt Paganini's astronomical fame spread like wildfire across Europe, fueled by outrageous suppositions and the eccentric and bizarre character that Paganini embodied.  It's the "fodder" that really drew the crowds, and the serious music critics, musicians, and composers followed in curiosity, and then fascination.  He inspired all to explore the limits of their instruments …

Paganini, Part 1

I was fascinated by Paganini, to say the least, as I delved into my Master of Music degree research.  He is a household name for any violinist, indeed any musician.  One look at his list of compositions and their frequency of performance is impressive enough.  And to look at the individual compositions provides a sense …

How to Progress as a Violinist

I was reading a great article from Strings Magazine a while back about what drives the violinist's “fascination” with Bach’s Sonatas and Partitas.  The writer interviewed and presented the expertise of some of my favorite violinists today.  I loved it.  One particular quote from violinist, Mark Kaplan, really resonated with me as I have been revisiting …

Henryk Szeryng

  There is so much depth in most simple teachings from Henryk Szeryng.  The meaning becomes increasingly profound as skill increases in playing.  I was gifted some papers several years ago by my violin teacher.  It was a gift he had received from his teacher many years earlier when he was taking lessons at the …