Teach how to think correctly about it. The skills I pass on to my students are useful in many aspects of life and concern working with energy. I have managed to combine Chi energy and the violin together in my program of studying to play on the violin and to use that energy to achieve more efficient technical skills, such as a firm staccato. This method helps to achieve a rich, deep sound without using force.
Originating from traditional Chinese culture as “qi”, Chi is frequently translated as “natural energy”, “life force” or “energy flow”. Using Chi energy as a technique is frequently employed when practicing martial arts. However in music, it’s more intuitive, but can be consciously developed and controlled. I believe that laws of physiology and energy remain the same in all circumstances. Chi energy follows the same rules whether a sword or a bow is used. The difference is only in goals, in outcomes. The sword is for battle and the bow is for playing the violin, for creating music.
There is energy cooperation between objects, as well as between a musician and their instrument. It is the basis of my violin study program. Each person and every object has their own energy. When the violinist’s energy is in harmony with the energy of the instrument, such energy cooperation delivers the best results and the violin plays with the minimum physical effort from the violinist. Physical cooperation enables the violinist to harness the natural vibration of the violin with his bow, rather than be something outside, something separate, something alien. There must be complete cooperation of energy and physicality between the musician and the instrument.
A good example of energy cooperation is the roundabout, or merry-go-round, at the local park. The spinning roundabout has energy. To cooperate with it and keep it spinning, it needs only to be pushed using a small amount of energy. More importantly, it needs to be pushed in the right direction. This is energy cooperation. To do otherwise would stop the roundabout spinning and possibly cause injury.
One of the secrets of my teaching style is that I use the laws of psychology. Information is more quickly absorbed if more than one study program is used. During my lessons I love to tell parables. Here is an example:
Three people were asked to break down a brick wall using their bare hands. The first person attacked it for an hour, bruised their hands and decided to stop. The second person attacked it for several hours and even managed to make some impact on the wall but after that lost consciousness. The third person spent time studying the wall carefully until the weakest point of the wall was discerned. At this point, they began to chip away at the wall and with the least effort, broke it down without injury.
My study program of playing on the violin uses the technique of the third person. Achieving a good violin technique needs not only time but also efficient lessons. My Professor A.V. Gvozdev used to say: “Playing the violin requires more work from the brain than from the hands”. Most important of all is helping the student to understand and achieve this knowledge. I would like the student to understand that this knowledge can be used and may be found in many spheres of life, not only in creating music. Perfect technique is only the first step. Playing the violin as well as martial arts is one of the ways to spiritual perfection. My teaching style is a philosophy, a way of life.
I am a teacher but sometimes I consider myself a doctor. My students come to me with all sorts of problems to solve. The most important quality in a doctor is the ability to make a timely and correct diagnosis and to suggest how to put the matter right. I am able to discern where the problem lies for the student and also the reason why the student is prevented from executing a particular technical skill or from playing a piece with sufficient expression. If professional staccato is causing problems, I am confident that I can help diagnose the origins of the problems and solve them.
If you are interested in my program of studying to play on the violin you can learn more about the form of the lessons in the section violin lessons in person and online. Here you can also enroll in the course. If you enjoy working with manuals for self-tuition you can also buy a printed or electronic version of the book Advanced Violin Techniques, Vol. I.