Gwendolyn Masin, Violin Teaching in the New Millennium, In Search of the Lost Instructions of Great Masters — An Examination of Similarities and Differences Between Schools of Playing and How These Have Evolved — or — Remembering the Future of Violin Perf

These details defined Thu Jan 12 10:47:35 2012, last updated Mon Apr 1 11:54:04 2019  edit
 Author:  Masin, Gwendolyn 
 Title:  Violin Teaching in the New Millennium, In Search of the Lost Instructions of Great Masters — An Examination of Similarities and Differences Between Schools of Playing and How These Have Evolved — or — Remembering the Future of Violin Performance 
 Degree, institution:  PhD, Trinity College Dublin 
 Status, year:  accepted, 2011 (30 September 2011) 
 Volumes, pp., etc.:  1 (208 pp.), 78500 words 
 Supervisor(s):  Dr Martin Adams 
 Repository:  http://www.tara.tcd.ie/handle/2262/64557 
 General specialism:  Musicology: Performance Studies 
 Content, key terms:  Genres, instruments:  Violin, String Instruments
 Abstract: 

This thesis is primarily concerned with addressing issues that have arisen in violin pedagogy over the last sixty years or so. In particular, it addresses some challenges to the artistic and technical heritage of violin pedagogy and playing — challenges that threaten the ability of young players to develop as well-informed musicians whose technical and artistic decisions are rooted in the accumulated wisdom of centuries of violin playing. Although a number of these issues have been discussed in isolation by other authors, this is probably the first attempt to present them in a broad historical and cultural context, and to make specific recommendations about how their consequences might be ameliorated.

The thesis is in two parts. Part 1 identifies transnationality as a primary cause of the dislocation between modern pedagogy and the artistic heritage on which such pedagogy has, until recently at least, rested. It examines some of the consequences of transnationality for the practice of violin pedagogy, and compares contemporary practice with that which prevailed prior to World War II. It finds that two particular developments are of concern. The first is the lack of comprehensive written treatises by distinguished pedagogues of the last fifty years or so. The second is the competitive pressure on teachers and students alike, which has led to serious difficulties in giving professional students the amount of individual attention that they need, and has also led, especially at preliminary levels, to a striking increase in the amount of group-teaching, as distinct from individual lessons.

Part 1 compares this situation with that which prevailed from the middle of the 18th century until the years immediately after World War II. It considers the lives and ideals of many of the greatest violin pedagogues of that two-hundred-year period, and places these teachers in the context of specific schools of playing and pedagogy that arose in that time. It also considers the extent to which the distinctiveness of such schools has diminished over time, and discusses the largely undesirable consequences of young players becoming uninformed by being unaware of the richness that this diversity of schools offers when making interpretative, artistic or technical choices. This part of the thesis is also deeply concerned with the genealogy of teaching, with how ideas developed by one teacher might be adapted by another, and how some concepts of good playing have endured in the two-hundred-years since the middle of the 18th century.

Part 2 is an account of the various technical approaches that the author has encountered in lessons with a number of the great pedagogues of the last twenty years or so. It celebrates the differences of opinion on specific topics, emphasises the similarities in approach and thinking to various elements of playing, and discusses controversial or unorthodox methods concerning an array of technical challenges or techniques.