First of all I would like to transmit to Prof. Shonert my most sincere gratitude for the publication of his book. Its reading has turned out to be very interesting and useful to me both: as a musician and as a teacher. I consider it a “must have” in the library of any teacher or student that invites reflection on fundamental aspects of the profession and of life itself… This book made many important changes in my manner of play and understanding the violin and Life.
Prof. A. Shonert has discovered a new technique or a new way to execute the bow stroke firm staccato. Most experts are saying that playing the violin is a closed art, that nothing new can be discovered. They are wrong and Shonert has demonstrated why.
It is never too late to learn this amazing staccato bowing technique. I have played violin for many years but could not play continuous fast and firm staccato using one bow direction only. Finally at 50 years old, Alexander Shonert has taught me how to do it effortlessly, both up and down bow.
The most surprising thing to me was how easy it was. The key is finding the smallest amount of energy needed to start the process, combined with absolute relaxation and suppleness (not stiffness). This causes the staccato to move on its own momentum, without tension, fatigue or pain. Remarkably, Alexander’s teaching is effective because of his ability to discern (even remotely) where your tension spots are, and where you are wasting your energy, then giving you just the right exercises to solve them.
Indeed, this is a rare opportunity for anyone desiring to learn advanced violin from the accomplished master violinist, Alexander Shonert.
Shonert’s book provides a unique insight into the physical and mental approach to good string playing. He has a unique way of breaking down the complex mechanism of string playing into easily understandable parts. As a long time amateur violist, I knew I had a lot to learn, but I had no idea that it would be possible to learn so much so quickly. This book and his lessons have changed a lifetime of habits and resulted in an enjoyment of playing I had not experience before. As a violist I am keenly aware of the physical challenges of playing such an unwieldy instrument. Shonert’s book and instruction have made it possible for me to play more easily and without the pain I had experience previously.
Prof. A. Shonert has shown me a completely new world – a joy of the sound and the beauty of the tone that I had not been aware of before.
Practice is now easy and joyful, simply because the results are achieved quickly and without too much effort. The point is to get relaxed, and then the instrument shows me how to get the best sound. I only must not prevent the instrument from sounding beautifully, and then the violin with the bow do the job themselves. I only have to tell them what music to play.
For any technical problem Prof. A. Shonert quickly suggests one or two simple exercises which perfectly suit the individual, so that after a while the issue is usually resolved. He also compliments my achievements so that I am confident I got the point. When I do exercises at home I know exactly what I need to achieve, because I have already achieved it in the class.
I play in a prestigious string quartet – Pavel Haas Quartet. Despite intensive work with the Quartet, I took lessons with Alexander Shonert. Step by step I learned his method and the way of violin playing. His method is based on naturality and relaxation, which comes from the correct use of physical and psychological laws of playing the violin.
His pedagogical talent helped and still is helping me to meet the natural resonance of the violin by relaxation of each individual muscle of the right hand, muscles which become part of a tone resonance. Vibrato in left hand then follows and underlines the natural curve of sound and by relaxing the wrist joint I am receiving the maximum from my violin.
In this way, the spectrum of sound which I achieve satisfies me and is excellent in the Quartet performance. Even my solo practice becomes a search for the perfect sound of my instrument.
Techniques, explained to me by Alexander Shonert, help me to achieve a very good sound. Separate bowing methods: detaché, spiccato, sautillé – methods, which are normal standards of each violinist, especially one who plays in a Quartet. The theory that all methods started with a quality detaché, which is the father of all methods, is applicable for quartet and as well for solo parts of the whole violin repertoire such as Beethoven’s quartets and for Paganini Caprices’.
For many violinist, difficult and almost impossible bowing techniques such as regular firm staccato of the whole bow in both directions and generally believed to require supernatural talent, can now be easily accomplished after several lessons with Alexander Shonert. I appreciate his amazing ability to explain things intelligibly, his talent to work with imagination and his music sensibility for each detail of music, phrase and sound. Especially I appreciate his human dimension, willingness to help and his sincere joy with results and successes of students. From my personal experience I can acknowledge that the universal violin philosophy which he taught me, has worked. I sincerely recommend Alexander Shonert as a violin teacher. He will lead his students well.
This technique is revolutionary! People who have trouble with this finally have a new method to execute it and have the control to do so at any speed. It is well known that it is difficult to perform this type of staccato but now there is a way to not only perform it but to have full control of it. It is amazing how Professor Alexander Shonert developed his method to achieve this.
It’s great! Thank you Alexander that you share your method! It works and gives good results.