AUSTA News 2018

AUSTA Patron Richard Gill Honoured

August 8th, 2018 by Gina De Francesco

AUSTA patron Richard Gill has recently received an Arts Leadership Award. Angus McPherson’s article, recently published in Limelight  tells the story. Read the article


Conference Session Notes

August 3rd, 2018 by Gina De Francesco

Notes from the National Conference Sessions are being updated progressively. New today, session notes for the Violin Forums (1.5 & 2.5) and the Set UP For Success Forum (3.4). Go to the Interactive Program to link to the notes.


Australian Honours for Elizabeth Morgan AM

May 12th, 2015 by Brendan Joyce

AUSTA Founding Chair and Patron, Elizabeth Morgan has been recognised in the 2013 Australian Queen’s Birthday Australian Honours List with an AM (Member of the Order of Australia). Most ‘AUSTA-LIANS’ and others in the string community know Elizabeth Morgan as a highly respected trailblazer in the area of string playing and music education in Australia. In a career spanning half a century, she has also been a performer, conductor, clinician, adjudicator, editor and consultant. Elizabeth’s efforts have been a major influence in advancing musical culture in Australia. Not only has she spearheaded numerous campaigns that have improved the quality of…


How to improve String Technique and Musicianship

May 12th, 2015 by Emanuel E. Garcia, MD

(in just twenty minutes a day!) Music, perhaps more than any other human activity, enlists the synthetic cooperation of intellect, creativity and athleticism. As a physician and psychotherapist who spent nearly a decade working with students of classical music, I was deeply impressed by this inextricable interrelationship between mind and body. Eventually I devised a method of practice designed to enhance the technical and musical abilities of string players, and I am pleased to reintroduce it here for Stringendo readers. First, a few general observations. Listening closely to string players one can over time distinguish superior from inferior technical ability…


‘Let It Flow!’

May 11th, 2015 by Justine Marsden

Have you ever played your instrument and become so completely immersed in its sound that it becomes a purely sensory experience? This is essentially what happens when you are ‘practising-in-flow’, a skill developed by German violinist/psychologist Andreas Burzik to help musicians both practise and perform. Recently I spent a day with him in Bremen (Germany) learning this technique. By practising-in-flow you learn to not only ‘play’ your instrument but to ‘feel’ it. It is a way of practising based almost entirely on sensory input rather than mental instructions. You learn to trust your body to tell you what it needs….


How I Teach The Bass

May 11th, 2015 by David Heyes

My teaching methods have changed markedly over the years, partly through experience but also from my solo work and commissioning many new works for double bass. Three of my teachers (Laurence Gray, Bronwen Naish and František Posta) have had an important influence on my approach, each bringing different perspectives to the instrument and allowing me to develop my own style from their excellent examples. I began teaching whilst still a student at the Royal College of Music in London and have combined it with my career as a soloist, chamber musician and publisher. I quickly realised how much I enjoyed…


The Joys of Teaching Beginner Violinists

May 11th, 2015 by Ros Hurst

Teaching beginner violinists is an incomparable, stimulating and enjoyable occupation. Each child is uniquely individual; every day produces new challenges and rewards. The last four decades have seen great improvements in beginners’ material.The Paul Rolland project, Sheila Nelson, Phyllis Young, Suzuki and Colourstrings have produced a wealth of interesting and challenging ideas and materials. The teaching program for the young child should be fun, stimulating and highly organised by very experienced teachers or by comprehensively trained young teachers with access to mentoring. The first years are the most important in the violinist’s education process. Prior aural and rhythm training before…


The left hand – harnessing the power of the thumb

May 11th, 2015 by Keith Crellin

Professor Jan Sedivka, who had few peers in his knowledge of the workings of the left hand, left an important legacy of thought on the subject. Here are some of his ideas on tackling the problem of left hand asymmetry. Gleaned from my experience in teaching as his assistant for ten years and also from the video tapes he made in the early eighties, this brings together at least some of his ideas in what I hope will be an ongoing set of articles. In playing the instrument, we are required to reach a note or a group of notes…


I teach what I needed to learn

April 11th, 2015 by Ruth Bonetti

How would you make progress with this challenging student? Let’s call her Ruby. She appears to have no natural rhythm at all and doesn’t register much difference between crotchets, quavers and semiquavers, but hopes that a clomping foot tap will keep her on track. Never mind that the foot slows when passages look black. Intonation is a blur. Aural, harmony and theory? Blank looks. What would you do with Ruby? Pass her to another teacher? Suggest ballet instead? Not so hasty. She may have hidden depths – or blocks. She is a slow developer.I know. I was like that. My…


String Teaching in Groups

April 11th, 2015 by John Quaine

The teaching of stringed instruments in groups is both well established and widespread in Australian schools as in many other parts of the world. There are a number of reasons for choosing to teach strings in groups such as budgetary constraints, timetabling and staffing efficiency, integration into the school curriculum, as support and extension activities for individual tuition, ensemble experience and as broad based recruitment for orchestral programs to name but a few. However most compelling are the many benefits gained by the participants when group teaching is carried out efficiently by specialist staff. Instrumental music programs have burgeoned in…


My Pupil, My Friend

April 11th, 2015 by Christopher Wellington

“Hi, I’m your new Professor! Tell me all about yourself!” This is surely a daunting moment for a student (especially at Conservatoire level); he or she may well be living away from home for the very first time and struggling on the leading edge of adult life. The realization may have arrived that turning to fiddle and bow as one’s main avenue of expression and progress coincides with a change in learning. Now it is mainly the student who invests the effort to work and learn rather than receiving instruction from his teachers. This leads me to my main point….


Practice and Parents

April 11th, 2015 by Barbara J Gilby

The ideal of most parents of musical children is be involved with practice in ways that maximises usefulness and minimises interference. No one knows your child the way you do – this can be a help but also a hindrance when it comes to music practice. Most teachers agree that for children of primary school age, and sometimes older, parental attendance at lessons and assistance with practice makes a big difference to the child’s rate of development. The single best thing parents can do to help their child is to be genuinely interested in their child’s music lessons. Communicate the…


There’s more to it than notes and tunes

April 11th, 2015 by Elizabeth Morgan

Is there any value in learning a stringed instrument? As teachers we try to inspire, and make lessons enjoyable. So much time, effort and money is spent in learning to play. Surely there is more to it than simply learning notes and tunes? How may we help our students get the most out of learning and doing the best they can? The scope of this topic is extensive. However a few factors that are of musical and non musical benefit to the student bear special mention. It takes time to get to know our students. I have found that apart…


Do I feel like Practising?

April 11th, 2015 by Charmian Gadd

Practising is what we do for ourselves. It is solitary. It is where we work in harmony with ourselves and teach ourselves everything we will ever know. A good outside teacher is essential, and skills are learned in lessons. However it is that time on our own, where we make those skills our own, through our own brains and our own instincts – that makes the instrument our friend and the skills second nature; money in the bank to be drawn on at will. Practising is a luxury. Students often fail to realise this. In the full hormonal bloom of…


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