Musical timing and closure, hearing and thinking for ourselves – just some of the things that teaching often fails to help us with, according to Burton Kaplan This summer I spent two weeks at the Magic Mountain Music Farm Practice Retreat, run by Burton Kaplan. My article about the experience is out now in the September issue of The Strad, and I've written a blog about the experience of being offered such a learning opportunity as an amateur. But in the two weeks of twice-dai
If you've been trying to notch up 10,000 hours of practice in the hope of being deemed talented, spurred on by Malcolm Gladwell's rule formluated in his book Outliers, then wait up a moment. According to new research reported on today in the New York Times, 'practice time explains about 20 percent to 25 percent of the difference in performance in music, sports and games like chess'. This doesn't surprise me. As ever, there's so much more context required in understanding tale
I discovered My Viola and I, the autobiography of Lionel Tertis, in the library at Magic Mountain. It's a charming read with great anecdotes of musical life in the last century and including sections on the design of his own model and his physical problems that led him to stop playing. And there's a whole section at the end with playing advice: 'Long hair and locks over the right or left eyebrow are nauseating to look at and utterly useless in furthering musical capability.'
I've been raiding the library of the Magic Mountain library and came across The Memoirs of Carl Flesch. He's not the most compelling story teller, but he does have interesting insights into the great players. For example he explains one of the fundamental truths of profound performance, one from which music students would learn well from: 'Unlike so many others, Kreisler lost none of his essential qualities in the course of the years, because the most valuable ingredients of