accuracy

Hit or Miss

“Under the ordinary teaching methods, the pupil gets nineteen wrong to one right experience. It ought to be the other way round.” –F.M. Alexander A young instrumentalist aiming for a professional life onstage puts in a staggering number of practice hours during their formative years.I heard the director of our Conservatoire recently state the figure of 8 to 10 hours a day for the 18-24 year olds at undergraduate and graduate levels. Does he think that’s what’s happening in the practice room or wish that it were so? […]

Holding on for Dear Life

“Doing in your case is so ‘overdoing’ that you are practically paralysing the parts you want to work.”      — FM Alexander As an Alexander Technique teacher, I work with many cellists who are in distress —the kind of distress that means they can’t play for the time being. Their conditions vary from tendinitis to De Quervain syndrome to back pain to focal dystonia. The list is long but one thing most of them share is the habit of ‘holding on to themselves.’  What do I mean by this ?  When they are in a position of rest on my teaching table— lying on their backs with their heads also resting on a small pillow—they remain gripped by tension in their necks, backs, arms and legs that may take us [...]

Bach Suites and You – by Robert Battey

“In a work of art the intellect asks questions; it does not answer them” -Friedrich Hebbel Few tasks are more daunting than attempting to discern and convey J.S. Bach’s precise intentions for his Cello Suites.  Just playing them is hard enough, but a true and meaningful interpretation of the Suites requires an entirely different heuristic model than that of our other repertoire.  This is because the autograph of the Suites has been lost, and we are left only with several flawed and inconsistent copies.  Since there is no original source, everything, from notes to rhythms to phrasings, must be questioned. With many pieces, one can rely on the fidelity and accuracy of a high-quality edition, prepared either from autographs or composer-supervised prints.  There, you have the simple choice of either [...]