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The Grossman Method© Newsletter

Happy 2015! It will be an exciting year ahead with new repertoire, concerts, and auditions.  And TheGrossmanMethod.com will be right there with you along the way!  Use it as your reference tool to keep you playing strong and relaxed. Need a specific stretch or pose video?  Please let me know!
 
I’m proud to announce the completion of the No Pain, ALL GAIN workshop booklet.  This gorgeous 60 page booklet is your illustrated companion to the stretches and breathing exercises from the workshop.  It includes original artwork on premium paper and is handbound! You can view and order HERE  You might want to consider owning a copy for your instrument case AND for your coffee table at home – it’s that stunning! 
 
It’s been a whirlwind this fall for the No Pain, ALL GAIN workshop and other Grossman Method© activities. My Google Hangout, as part of the Northwestern University online course, Teaching the Violin and Viola: Creating a Healthy Foundation, was very exciting and received more than 6,000 views worldwide. It was an honor to be included in this important course with such major pedagogues as the Vamos’, Mimi Zweig, Rebecca Henry, and Brenda Brenner. If you haven’t seen it yet, please check it out HERE. From that Google Hangout came many requests for teacher training workshops, with the first teaching session just after Thanksgiving in Oklahoma. I was thrilled that news reporter Galen Culver from News Channel 4 Oklahoma City came to film a feature of that session for the news, as seen HERE. We also hit another milestone this fall with 500 LIKES on Facebook! Workshop travels have taken me to New York City (Manhattan School of Music and Bloomingdale School of Music), University of Delaware, University of Nebraska at Lincoln, University of Wyoming, University of Missouri - St. Louis, and the South Carolina Governors School for the Arts and Humanities, reacquainting me with old friends and students and introducing me to many new ones. 
 
Here is wishing you all happy holidays
and healthy playing!
  Ask the Teacher
 
A student in Nebraska asks:
"My left hand gets so tight when I play fast or when I play double stops. Can you help?"
 
Answer from:
Dr. Kirsten Yon
Associate Professor of Violin
University of Houston

 
The first knuckle -
the
“silent bully” of the left hand
 
Often when we speed up difficult passagework, our left first base knuckle (the joint where the finger meets the palm) can tighten into the hand.  The first base knuckle can accidentally turn into the “silent bully” of your hand because it is the strongest finger in everyday use and it is the natural contact reference for the violin neck.  When it tightens, it creates a web of tension that engages the thumb as a v-shaped clamp on the opposite side of the neck and leads the first and second base knuckles to lock together as if magnetized, constricting all movements of the fingers, hand, and wrist, pulling them away from the fingerboard and holding your hand hostage.  It can be easy to miss, as the primary point of tension is hidden out of sight just under and to the side of the fingerboard.  Releasing this point allows your freed hand to feel and play double stops and lightning-fast passage work with ease!

Here are a few tips:
 
- Practice fast passagework with “ghost" notes, only using harmonic-weight in your fingertips.  Notice where your tension enters and look for any tension patterns (particular fingers, combinations, etc.).  Slowly add finger weight back until you reach the point of full-sounding notes.

- Let your first base knuckle joint enjoy a flexible connection to the neck, letting it “breathe” instead of cementing itself to the neck.  Allow your hand's weight to shift across all the knuckles as needed instead of being locked into the first finger.

- “What goes down must come up!”  We think so much about dropping our fingers into place but rarely give the same attention to their release.  This tension creates a constant battle!  Practice mindfully releasing your finger weight immediately after playing a note, letting it rest weightlessly on the string after its initial weighted articulation, to help your hand feel springy and loose.  This works especially well for double stops, as it enables your hand to move to each new chord without leftover tension baggage from the last chord.
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Upcoming Workshops & Events

Click on the links below for details!

Jan. 9-10, 2015
Violin Master Classes
Wichita, KS


Jan. 21, 2015
Patrick Henry High School Workshop
Roanoke, VA


Jan. 24, 2015
Concert with Kandinsky Trio
Salem, VA


Feb. 10, 2015
OU Violin Studio Recital
Art Museum


Feb. 24-25, 2015
Missouri State University
Springfield, MO


Mar. 4, 2015
University of Oklahoma
Norman, OK


Mar. 26, 2015
Emporia State University
Emporia, KS 


Apr. 25-27, 2015
South Suburban Youth Orchestra of Chicago
Concerto Soloist, Master Class & Workshop


June 16-26, 2015
Texas String Camp
Austin, TX


July 16-22, 2015
Aria International Summer Academy
Mt. Holyoke, MA


Jul.26-Aug.9, 2015
Marrowstone Music Festival
Bellingham, WA


Dates are subject to change. Please message me HERE to confirm!
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Washing Machine
 
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Video Disclaimer
Please consult with your physician before beginning this or any exercise program. Exercise at your own risk. If you feel any discomfort, please stop immediately and consult with your physician. The Grossman Method, LLC, accepts no liability for injuries from this or any of The Grossman Method© videos. The Grossman Method, LLC, makes no representations or warranties concerning any usage of the information offered here and will not be liable for any direct, indirect, consequential, special, exemplary, or other losses or damages that may result. Reliance on any information appearing on this site or from me is strictly at your own risk.