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Paperback Violin Playing as I Teach It Book

ISBN: 0486239179

ISBN13: 9780486239170

Violin Playing as I Teach It

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Book Overview

Leopold Auer (1845-1930) belonged to that select company of violin virtuosos who not only established the level of artistic excellence for the nineteenth century, but also trained many of the violinists who surpassed that level in the twentieth. Mischa Elman, Jascha Heifetz, and Efrem Zimbalist (Sr.) were among Auer's students. Himself a pupil of the great Joseph Joachim, Auer will always be regarded as one of the most important violin pedagogues...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings



Witty, opinionated, and insightful

This little gem of a book reads like a tip book, expose, soapbox, gossip column and memoir. Auer is witty and funny, sometimes he had me laughing in stitches. For example, his description of chronic vibrato, "this physical evil generally may be traced to a group of sick or ailing nerves, hitherto undiscovered." Another diatribe on the lack of standards for violin teachers: "Many are indeed desirous of doing their best, but alas, having themselves been ill-taught, they spread the poison of their own ignorance broadcast, a plague which carries off many hapless innocents, victims of their pernicious teaching methods."Auer was in the position to learn from, observe, and teach some of the best violinists of the last two centuries. He studied with Jacob Dont in Vienna and Joachim in Hanover, was a contemporary of Davidov, Wieniawski, Seidel, Wilhelmj, Sarasate, von Bulow, and taught Elman, Zimbalist, and Jascha Heifetz. Who would have known that Joachim had such stage fright, or that Mischa Elman almost died of coal-gas fumes the night before his debut? The book has nice tips on fingering, bowing and tone production. He also devotes a chapter to nuance, the soul of interpretation and phrasing and another chapter to Style, where he wisely suggests that each generation interprets the music to suit the style of that era. No one really knows how Bach played baroque music, and no one can claim to be authentic to a time period that has long since passed away. "The musical spirit of Bach transcends all narrow limitations of period, and the artist of today who truly enters into this spirit will play Bach as he should be played, and will play Bach better because he will play him in the interpretative spirit of our own generation, not that of 1720." He deplores the blind upholders of "tradition" and insists that the violinist must form his own style, not just copy that of another.On the famous shoulder-rest controversy, Auer comes down strictly on the "no-shoulder-rest" school claiming that it makes the player lose a third of the whole body of tone. One look at a picture of Auer playing the violin and you can see why his physique is suited to no-shoulder-rest. He has no neck, a protruding chin, and a squat frame upon which he can rest the violin on his chest, with relatively short arms, so he can hold the instrument directly in front of him. He also insists that you hold the violin as high as possible, especially when playing on the G string. You can see the results with Jascha Heifetz, who holds his violin up high and uses no shoulder rest. Of course, men of those days had padded shoulders on their suits and tuxedos, so the violin fit right up there.This book is of interest in learning about violin pedagogy as taught in the Russian conservatories at the turn of the last century. And has valuable tips and technical aids. However, it does not substitute for a good teacher. And Auer would wholeheartedly agree, especially for beginners: "There is

Amazing resource

I must say that Mr Auer is one of the supream violinists of our century. Disregarding his amazing student track record, he is an amazing teacher who's methods are still prized today. Above my commentary there are several reviews that bash the book. In no way did Mr. Auer ever intend this book to be for a begginer. His sole objective in writting this book was to set in words what he had taught his entire life. This book was a great help in answering some of my techincal problems that are never talked about. If you are a violinist, this book is a neccesity. It's content is spectacular and well disserves a 5 star rating.

Excellent resource for teachers and more advanced student

I find this book invaluable as a resource for serious violin students and teachers. Leopold Auer elaborates a lot of insights and perspectives on better techniques to play the violin. This book is not merely about performing certain violin techniques, but also about the logic behind better ways of executing them.I would agree, however, that this book is not for beginner level violin students. Auer does say that correct foundation should be built since the early stage, but many of the explanations are beyond the reach of those beginner who can't even produce the techniques way too difficult for their stage; say, vibrato, double-stops, spiccato, etc. However, this is a good resource for violin teachers to lay correct foundation step by step following the progress of their students. Also, this is a good book for more advanced students as a comparative reference on how well they have understood the techniques, at least as another perspective.Overall, this book is highly recommended for serious students and teachers of violin.

A Violinist's Treasure

Not only the technical and interpretation explanations are extremely valuable, but they also come directly from the tradition of Dont and Joachim who Auer studied with. It is an honor to be taught by such an exceptional violinist and to read about how Sarasate, Vieuxtemps, Wieniawski and other 19th-century masters played.
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