Viola – Striving for Perfect Technique (Musicians)(Psychology)(Pain)(Strain)(Injuries)(Posture)(Alexander Technique)

by ethankind on December 10, 2012

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.

As an Alexander Technique teacher who was also a concert classical guitarist, I strove for perfect technique as a concert guitarist. It was the Alexander Technique that saved me from permanently damaging my wrist on the guitar and took the limits off of my ability to play what I wanted on the guitar.

The holy grail of the performing violist is perfect technique. It is usually an unspoken goal that the viola player aspires to. Since striving for perfect viola technique is usually never really talked about, is it a sane reachable goal? Or is it what keeps the violist going, even though it makes no sense, like Sisyphus pushing the rock up the mountain forever, hoping one day the rock will not roll down the other side?

“PERFECT TECHNIQUE” IS ATTAINABLE WHEN THE RULES OF PERFORMANCE THAT THE VIOLIST IS APPLYING MAKES SENSE. THIS MEANS THAT THE POSTURE OF THE WHOLE BODY AND THE WAY THE HANDS AND ARMS ARE USED ON THE VIOLA, MAKE THE MOST DIFFICULT PASSAGES AND PIECES EASIER AND EASIER AND EASIER TO PLAY.

As obvious as this sounds, so many violists do the same things over and over that aren’t working, because these are the rules of good viola technique that they were taught. Again, another unspoken exchange between the viola student and the viola teacher is, “If you just work HARD ENOUGH, eventually you will be able to play anything. I promise!”

The unspoken hook that keeps you doing what the teacher asks is that it will work, because it is SUPPOSED TO WORK. (This is what your viola teacher was taught by his or her viola teacher.)

At what point do you pull the plug? What do I mean? At what point do you question what you’re been doing to perfect your viola technique? The sooner the better!

Understand that I’m asking you, the violist, to pull the plug on what is NOT working that you’ve been doing for years, instead of doing what you’ve been doing, because it is SUPPOSED TO WORK AND YOU WERE PROMISED WOULD WORK.

This is MAGICAL THINKING. What I mean is that you have combined two things to keep you striving the same way you have been for years. Magical thinking, in this circumstance, says that if you do what I ask you to do on the viola, combined with endless hours of practice, will magically make you a great violist.

So, at what point do you realize that the technique you are trying so diligently to make work is the problem, and that you’re not the problem? What do I mean that you’re not the problem? I mean that if you had been mastering a viola technique that wasn’t conflicted, that the promise of easeful fine viola playing would already be yours.

Since most of the thousands upon thousands of practicing endless hours violists out there are at best mediocre players, does that mean that these mediocre players lack the talent to be fine players, or are they trying to make work on the viola what will never work? I choose the latter.

I used the term conflicted viola technique two paragraphs ago. Let me define it. CONFLICTED VIOLA TECHNIQUE IS A VIOLA TECHNIQUE THAT IS A COMBINATION OF WHAT WORKS AND WHAT DOESN’T WORK. WHEN YOU COMBINE WHAT WORKS WITH DOESN’T WORK, THEN YOU WILL NEVER REACH THE GOAL OF EFFORTLESSLY PLAYING THE MOST DIFFICULT WORTHWHILE VIOLA REPERTOIRE.

The sooner you keep what works on the viola, release what doesn’t work, and add what else works, the sooner the rock will not roll down the other side of the mountain.

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