Viola – Repertoire of Technique (Musicians)(Psychology)(Pain)(Strain)(Injuries)(Posture)(Alexander Technique)(Albuquerque)

by ethankind on January 1, 2014

This ebook, An Alexander Technique Approach to Viola Technique, is published on this website in a PDF format. It is very detailed and practical, and it will give you the physical tools you need to take the limits off of your ability to create the accurate viola technique you want without sacrificing your body.
This ebook is also for sale on all AMAZON websites in a KINDLE format.
Located in Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S.A.

I’d like to use the word REPERTOIRE in a very different sense here, to have it be those applied physical habits that define your technique and posture, conscious and unconscious, when you play the viola.

I also want to treat your posture on the viola and your viola technique as one and the same, inseparable in creating fine viola playing.

If I were to ask you to sit down and write a book on viola technique, what would you say? My experience as an Alexander Technique teacher is that if I ask a violist to tell me what makes and defines his or her viola technique, the viola player CAN give me specifics.

An aside here: If I ask the violist or dancer to describe the mechanics of walking or sitting down in a chair, they have no clue. This means performers have acquired some very specific rules about what makes for great technique in their art form, but have no idea as to how they move or inhabit space on a daily basis.

One of the best gifts you can give to yourself as a violist is to sit down and write out in detail what you live by as you play the viola. I’M CALLING THIS THIS YOUR “VIOLA TECHNIQUE REPERTOIRE”.

You can never be too specific about the rules you live by on the viola. This is probably a brand new concept for you, because over your playing lifetime, you may have moved from viola teacher to viola teacher, attempting to find a new teacher, each surpassing the previous teacher, to help you move closer and closer to an amazing viola technique. And you probably have never listed what you came to define as your rules of fine viola playing, and checked to see if these rules worked.

The only way to test if this has been so, is for you write the viola technique method you would write if a publisher asked you to write such a book.

Here’s what I think you’ll find. You will find that if you analyze, observe, and put into words everything you do in your body from head to toe as you play the viola, you will find how much you do as you play that you LEFT UP TO YOUR BODY.

Let me say that again. THE ODDS ARE THAT MUCH OF WHAT YOU DO ON THE VIOLA WITH YOUR WHOLE BODY AND HANDS TO MAKE MUSIC HAS BEEN LEFT UP TO THE BODY TO FIGURE OUT, WHICH IS A PRETTY HAPHAZARD WAY OF GOING ABOUT BECOMING A FINE VIOLIST. There are a couple of reasons for this.

First, posturally, when you started as a young viola player, the viola teacher said sit or stand up straight, and that was it for the body. Think about it. SIT OR STAND UP STRAIGHT IS AS CLEAR AS IF THE TEACHER HAD SAID SLOUCH. There truly are no specifics as to what “sit or stand up straight” means. “Sit or stand up straight” is NOT a definition of good posture!

Second, your specific viola technique, how you used your hands and arms, was demonstrated/explained in terms of position, when playing the viola requires the hands and arms to be in constant motion.

It is only through observing and listing all you do with your whole body as you play the viola, that you will discover your REPERTOIRE OF VIOLA TECHNIQUE.

Once done, this list will give you the ability to keep what works, let go of what doesn’t work, and search for technique and postural solutions to what has been setting limits on your talent.

If you do what I just described with an Alexander Technique teacher, the Alexander teacher will give you a whole new vocabulary that will dramatically help you to define what it is you do on the viola, and what you would possibly like to change.

After I went to an Alexander Technique teacher to solve a carpal tunnel problem on the classical guitar, it wasn’t long before I was inspired to put into words what makes for great guitar technique and posture. This is because I finally had a clear vocabulary for what it was I did when I played the guitar, and how to go about changing what wasn’t clear to me, or to simply let go of wasn’t working.

IT IS ALWAYS A GOOD TIME TO BECOME YOUR OWN MASTER TEACHER AND PERFORMER.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post:

© 2011 All Rights Reserved