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The Grossman Method© Newsletter
Welcome to the Winter 2016 Newsletter!

Happy Holidays! I hope you had a really wonderful Thanksgiving.  I enjoyed a multi-cultural Thanksgiving celebration at my home with several of my students.  Most interesting food pairing?  Eastern European haroseth on Venezualan aprepas – delicious!


 
 
Video
 
The last few months have been fantastic for The Grossman Method.  Please keep a watch out for my Bare Naked Bravery podcast. Host Emily Ann Peterson and I had a probing interview and I’m excited for our soon-to-be-aired session in early 2017.  In other video news, check out my interview with the delightful Penny Kruse on her web series Penny For Your Thoughts.  And my Grossman Method informational interview is now up on ViolinPractice.com. This violin and viola pedagogy site is hosted by Peabody Conservatory Preparatory String Department Chair Rebecca Henry and Maryland Talent Education Center director Phyllis Freeman.

 
Violin and Viola Teacher Workshop and the
No Pain, ALL GAIN Workshop 

 
Score another successful Violin and Viola Teacher Workshop!  Nevada School of the Arts in Las Vegas hosted a wonderful week-long residency for me. Events included my performance as soloist
with the NSA Chamber Orchestra in the Haydn Concerto (great fun), a series of violin master classes, the
No Pain, ALL GAIN  workshops, and the Violin and Viola Teacher Workshop.  It was such a fantastic week! Special thanks to  Dean Shakeh Ghoukasian, Mary Straub, Christian Garcia and Dr. Charles Cushinery for their incredible work and hospitality. 
 
December Playing Means Lots of Stretching
 
As we move into December’s performances, juries, and recitals please know that The Grossman Method videos are free for your use. 
 
Looking for a holiday gift?  Remember to purchase a copy of the No Pain, ALL GAIN workshop booklet for your friends, students or for your own use.


Have a great December everyone!
 
Ask the Teacher

A viola student from Louisiana asks: 
"Is there a way to practice the different musical styles that are found in my solo repertoire?"


Answer from: 

Dr. John Fadial
Professor of Violin
University of Wyoming
 
 TANGO SCALES!
 
As the performing violinist’s handbook requires of all of us, I have spent the last several weeks preparing a pile of music for upcoming concerts, in a huge variety of styles. There are the Mahler 4 solos, the Haydn Seven Last Words, the tango program, and the Wieniawski concert (thanks Hal Grossman!). I began to consider how we approach style, in preparing the pieces we play. It can be a tricky subject for even an experienced player, but can be really confounding to a student, who simply hasn’t yet encountered a wide range of musical styles. How to practice?
 
I had a recent performance with a professional tango quartet from Denver (bandoneon, piano, bass, and myself…on violin). I am new to the group and at our first quartet rehearsal I was struck (thrilled!) with the intensity with which the group played. It took a little getting used to, but was incredibly liberating once I began to feel the spiky, taut rhythms in the truly visceral way that the group was. It was liberating for me as a player, but it was also the key to fitting with the ensemble.
 
 When the group joined our student chamber orchestra rehearsal, it took some real cajoling to get the students to let go of the fact that there might be a measure of 8th notes staring them in the face that, in order to be performed convincingly, needed to be played incredibly UN-evenly. It was no real surprise that once the students became less concerned with articulating every 8th identically, and began to aim for the same gestural high point in the measure, ensemble issues started to take care of themselves.
 
This got me thinking about the visceral (gestural), rhythmic element in all the styles of music that we play, and how sorting out the hierarchy of beats and articulations in a passage helps to make the passage not only more convincing, but usually easier to play. The same strength of intention, and interpretive game plan are absolutely essential to a great performance of Bach, Mozart, or Prokofiev, just in slightly varying proportions; and it takes very specific attention to these proportions and shapes in order to apply the idea of rhythmical hierarchy to passages in a classical piece as opposed to a modern one. So often, we apply the interpretive ideal of style (in lessons) to a given piece of music, and rarely use scales, for example, to practice our musical intentions. They are something separate, for isolating mechanics of getting form point A to B. We too often leave the blank canvas that scales provide…blank.
 
The tango rehearsal experience prompted a discussion in my studio class that resulted in some fun and creative practice ideas. We came up with some style-specific scales that include a “tango” scale, full of syncopations and varied articulations; Mozart scales in duple and triple patterns with various bowings (two slurred/two separate, etc.); and a Shostakovich scale with multiple repeated downs. All the scales can be played with various dynamic contours. My hope is that it will get students thinking about how they overcome technical hurdles within widely varied musical contexts. It is what we as players do every day, and I hope that this creative approach can help everyone identify different styles, learn music faster, and play more convincingly. 
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Upcoming Workshops & Events
Click on the links below for details!

December 15, 2016
Concerto Soloist
Edison High School Orchestra 
Tulsa, OK

January 14, 2017
Masterclass

Seattle Conservatory of Music
Seattle, WA

January 17, 2017
Chamber Music Recital

Fulton Street Chamber Players 
Seattle, WA

January 29, 2017
Concerto Soloist

Middletown Symphony 
Middletown, OH

February 10-11, 2017
Concert, Workshop, Masterclasses

Western Washington University
Bellingham, WA

March 26-27, 2017
Chamber Recital, Masterclass

Boston University 
Boston, MA

March 29, 2017
Masterclass, Workshop

​The Hartt School 
West Hartford, CT

April 8, 2017
Guest Concertmaster

Saginaw Bay Orchestra 
Saginaw, MI

April 28, 2017
Workshop

University of Oregon 
Eugene, OR

July 12-23, 2017
Faculty

Aria International Summer Academy
Hadley, MA

July 23 - August 6, 2017
Faculty

Marrowstone Music Festival 
Bellingham, WA


Dates are subject to change. Message me HERE to confirm!

 
Featured Stretch

Bend and Bow


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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 GrossmanMethod, LLC, accepts no liability for injuries from this or any of The Grossman Method© videos. TheGrossman 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






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