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Heard the one about the good viola player? No? Hardly surprising. This Cinderella of the string family is the butt of most instrumentalists’ jokes. But unfairly so, as Rebecca Franks finds out
According to spotlight-hungry violinists, violas are only good for filling in a bit of middle-part harmony and should never be trusted with a good tune. And really, argue the cellists, seeing as the viola has the same strings as the cello, just an octave higher, what’s the point?
And that’s before you even get people onto the viola players themselves. ‘Viola players were always taken from among the refuse of violinists,’ wrote Berlioz well over a century ago, a sentiment often still wheeled out today.
Well, it’s time to think again about the unfairly maligned viola, and to help here’s a round-up of the six best violists past and present. Yes, they really do exist.
from Today’s Parent by Kate Winn Updated Dec 20, 2016 Does your child get butterflies before ballet recitals, school concerts or class presentations? Performance anxiety is common in kids. We asked experts how to cope. Tears, tantrums and tummy aches: all … Continue reading →
The orchestra students at Bunker Hill Elementary School plucked and bowed their violins, violas and cellos one afternoon this week as they performed Duke Ellington’s “C Jam Blues” for classmates at an assembly.
But this was no ordinary concert. Two special guests joined in: violinist Joshua Bell and cellist Yo-Yo Ma.
The world-famous musicians spent Tuesday afternoon swaying to the rhythmic sounds of first-graders beating sangba drums. They watched students act out stories. And the orchestra students learned how Bell and Ma get rid of nerves during performances: Ma pretends it’s his birthday party. Bell imagines everyone in the audience sitting on toilets.
“You played so well,” Ma told about 20 orchestra students during rehearsal for the assembly. “I love the energy. It was great.”
Ma and Bell visited the Northeast D.C. school through a program known as Turnaround Arts, which aims to give underperforming schools more resources for arts and music.
Violinist Joshua Bell, left, and DC Youth Orchestra’s Philip Espe, right, before they play a song together at Bunker Hill Elementary School. (Linda Davidson/The Washington Post)
When faced with financial pressures, schools often cut arts and music funding to focus resources on math and reading. But Turnaround Arts, in about 70 schools around the country, was founded on the idea that every student, not just those in wealthy neighborhoods, should have access to the arts. Experts say the arts are essential for a well-rounded education and can help students succeed in other academic areas.
Reposted from http://www.musicparentsguide.com/2015/02/17/students-really-quit-musical-instrument-parents-can-prevent/#comment-5774 by Toni Mazzocchi Every year almost 100% of public school students begin an instrument through their school’s music program (if a program exists). One or two years later, more than 50% of students quit; unable to enjoy all … Continue reading →
Pauline Harding investigates why singers and instrumentalists can benefit hugely from listening to and working with each other February 23, 2016 The following is an extract from The Strad’s feature on strings and the voice, published in the March 2016 … Continue reading →