November 2011

Teacher Talk

A series of teaching-articles in the Strad Magazine

I have a student playing the Bruch Concerto next January with the school orchestra and it’s the first time he’s ever played solo with an orchestra. He’s exited but quite nervous. What advice should I give him about preparing for this new step?
Gordon Fraser, Edinburgh, UK
Boris Kuschnir: The student should take the orchestral score of the Bruch and follow it while listening to recordings by various players. It is important to concentrate not on the soloist but on the orchestra, and on which instruments are central at any given moment. You should be able to guide the student in this. It’s also helpful to play along with the soloist, not too loudly; while still focusing on the orchestral part. The student shouldn’t play along with only one soloist but pick different players so that they don’t lose their individual approach. It would also help them to play first violin in quartets, sextets or octets and to perform solo concerto pieces by Vivaldi or Bach with a quartet or smaller chamber orchestra.