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Jaime - Orlando , Fl
Congratulations once more to all participants of the 2017 workshop! Truly the experience of a lifetime! Hope I can have the privilege to become part of VL workshop someday!

Currently working with local teacher on "cleaning up my act" ! hehe

He wants me to be more crisp, less accidental double stops when theres none, more "precise" intonation. He wants me to be more confident in the performance, as good as he thinks I should be to my level, to move on to the next... (whichever he thinks that is...maybe level 2? - I seriously have to go back to Beth's Hierarchical Rubric Guide! hehe) He is referring to start playing more complete pieces (rather than exercises) and to introduce more "feeling" to the pieces... he wants me to start working soon on developing my "own style".... like he says if someone hears my violin.... that they can recognize ...its me! hehe

Here's one exercise we have been trying recently.... from Wohlfahrt Op. 45 - etude #5 ...
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4 Responses
Posted: May 23, 2017

Elke Meier
Benslow Final Concert
Welcome, dear VL community, to the performance we had at Benslow last night :). You get a front seat to enjoy our final concert.


Carrickfergus (Irish trad., arranged by Patrick Roszell)
Variazioni La Follia (Robert D. McCashin)
Romance (Dmitri Shostakovitch, trans. Kreitman/Reglin, ed. Wermuth)
Fantasy on Simple Gifts (Trad., arranged by Robert Kerr)
Canon in D (Johann Pachelbel)

We as VL students had some very high quality reinforcement: Stephen and Carolyn joined the group for the concert as well as four professional musicians from London (piano, violin, viola and cello).

This is not a very professional recording, and it has one flaw that made me so, so sad when I discovered it last night. We had originally planned to record from two angles, but we hadn't tested the second camera and when it came to recording we ran into problems with it. So all is done from one camera - which cut of the second row of the violin 2 section! So please imagine Jane, Katja, and Zee on the very right. It had slipped our attention to double check the angle. I was so sorry to discover it! 

We wished you all could have been with us in person, but at least you can share in it now. It was such fun to prepare this together and to experience Beth shaping this group of people (some of whom had never played in an ensemble and most of whom had never even seen each other a week ago) into feeling like a real ensemble.
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12 Responses
Posted: May 19, 2017

Beth Blackerby
To all of the Benslow folks: I am still basking in the afterglow of such a special and wonderful violin workshop. Thank you for your generous enthusiasm. Each and everyone of you were a joy to get to know. I can't believe I finally met some of you who I've known now for many years on Violin Lab. That was truly special. And thank you Lily for securing that amazing venue! 

To those of you couldn't be there: we felt your support and thought of you as our audience during the performance. I do hope that I have the opportunity to meet every single one of you someday. I'll be back in Austin tomorrow to prepare for the Austin workshop. How lucky am I!? We're going to have a blast!

5 Responses
Posted: May 22, 2017

VLAB workshop experience
It has truly been the most wonderful experience attending the England ViolinLab workshop! You can read my experience on my recent blogpost here

I've just been reading some of the posts and smiling to myself as Lily describes perfectly what went on during the workshop. It was a real pleasure to meet all of you and I will never forget how amazing you all are! Special thanks to Elke who tirelessly uploaded the masterclass/concert footage during practice hours and any spare moment she could! I already watched the concert with my family and they were absolutely delighted =)

Shortly after coming home, I have decided to change the strings of my violin which I am currently 'breaking in'. (Thank you so much Robyn for the Pirastro gold E string. It sounds amazing! you'll hear my violin soon on my next video ;-) 

I wish everyone had a safe trip back home and getting lots of rest after a full week of playing! Special thanks to Beth, Carolyn and Stephen for bringing the workshop to England (Hope there will be another one not too long from now.. )



7 Responses
Posted: May 21, 2017

Anh Tuan Nguyen
The Thickness of Violin String

I'm a beginner violin player and I have a question about the thickness of violin strings. That is i though that the thickness of violin strings increase from E string to G string but I've just purchased a set of pirastro tonica string and find that its A string even thicker than D string, almost the same thickness with G string. Is this impossible?

16 Responses
Posted: May 20, 2017

Barb Wimmer
Counting help?
Help appreciated I have a lesson tomorrow. My assignment is to count as I play. Very challenging. Suggestions appreciated, if I could at least do one staff line or so.  Thanks
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8 Responses
Posted: May 22, 2017

Elke Meier
Faculty Recital at Benslow
One afternoon during the workshop our teachers (plus Anne in the last piece) put on a recital for us. What a treat to be able to watch these fabulous musicians from up close! The room in which we practiced had such a wonderful acoustic and wrapped us just up in sound. It was quite unbelievable!

Here is the program:

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8 Responses
Posted: May 19, 2017

Lily Mo
Those things I should have said at Benslow

I think over the week, I have had every member of Team Benslow (as I now think of you all) come and thank me for coming up with the idea and organising the venue. Some of you, most kindly, were sweet enough to bring small tokens of gratitude which, however unnecessary, are most happily accepted. 

It has truly been a marvellous week and you all have demonstrated your gratitude most in the sheer enthusiasm of participating. It's fair to say that everyone squeezed as much as they could from every single minute there. We did twelve hour days of classes, rehearsing and practice and some continued until 11pm either rehearsing, or sight reading with new and old friends, and, later still, after curfew, discussing all things violin and viola at the bar. 

The residential element was special to me and despite being made hugely fat in the tummy (and developing a Pavlovian response to ringing bells) I also gained a lot of emotional goodwill from your quiet exuberance, compassion for the wrong notes, and focus for each and every player of whatever standard and stage. I, who have a stone-cold English heart, was moved by the courage it took to play solos in the masterclass and make ourselves truly vulnerable on the long journey to artistic expression. We were each other's teachers and pupils. 

And, of course, our inspiration; Beth, Stephen and Carolyn. I applaud your kindness, intelligence and energy; keeping up a relentless pace despite oodles of jet lag and non existent air conditioning.  I'd have said this an the end of the concert but I was so exhausted by your whip-cracking ways I didn't have time to conceive never mind write and deliver this. Hence, the impromptu lie in during the Classical class. I am either destined never to play Mozart properly or my transformation to the dark side of being a forgetful violist is complete. Thanks Deirdre for all the pointers in that direction. 

The gauntlet is truly down, Austin. Team Benslow killed it. 

7 Responses
Posted: May 21, 2017

Jaime - Orlando , Fl
Thank you Michael and Katja! Didn't want to bring the post up again, since you both answered my question. Playing it the way you say does make musical sense too! :0)

0 Responses
Posted: May 21, 2017

Jaime - Orlando , Fl
Hello VL family! Question about etude 6 from Wohlfahrt Op. 45 book 
This etude is in Fmajor scale, so B note is played flat.

That being said, measure 16 have the B note with a "natural" symbol, so of course, we go for B natural, but measure 17 immediately follows with a B note - again with the natural symbol next to it. Does that mean we go back to play it flat (cancelling the prior "natural" in measure 16) or do we play it B natural again? thanks in advance.

My confusion arises from the fact that I thought that once a note changes to a sharp, or flat , or natural, it remains that way for the rest of the song, unless indicated otherwise. Thank you! :0)

2 Responses
Posted: May 21, 2017

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