logo for monicacuneo.com
leftimage for monicacuneo.com

A New Approach to violin
and string instruments

by Kato Havas

Come to the workshops on the New Approach by Kato Havas. Where? When?

Bookmark and Share
A New Approach to violin is the title of the first book written by the violin player and teacher Kato Havas, first published in 1961, when nobody talked about physical injuries caused by playing an instrument. Nowadays everybody is well aware of this issue, there are even clinics for musicians' injuries.

It was published with a preface by Yehudi Menuhin saying:

A new approach to violin playing, by Kató Havas

Here you can see the book cover: A New Approach to violin


It is a sad comment on man's perennial ignorance that the rare and the original are usually the obvious. Miss Havas is original in her approach to violin playing because she insists that violin technique must be reducible to basic motions involving more than just the fingertips. … It is also heartening and equally ‘original’ to find a kindred spirit who holds the whole body to be engaged, thus offering non resistance anywhere - only support - and who realizes that of all things - the state of continual balance, the equilibrium of all parts, fingers against thumb, arms against shoulder-blades, etc., is the object of all training…”
Yehudi Menuhin

The books and other teaching material by Kato Havas have been published over many years, since 1961 and they are still selling! (published in this order: A new approach, 1961; The twelve lesson course, 1964; Stage fright - Causes and cures, 1973; the teaching DVD, 1989, videos on the Internet, 2008). By studying them in chronological order you'll notice some slight differences. As Kato Havas herself says in Stage fright, these changes, in the terms used and in the indications, were based on teaching experience, became necessary in order to simplify more, eliminate those terms, exercises, movements that could cause physical and mental tensions. Therefore each book/video is a widening of the previous ones, so it's highly advisable to read in this website the pages about the various books, then the books, watch the teaching DVD and the workshop videos available with subtitles.

Indeed the New Approach to violin (which applies to the viola too) proposes a way of playing based on the use of our body's natural and fundamental balances instead of the use of a lot of force and pressure that, sooner or later, will cause many physical problems and difficulties in playing.

So as when we walk all our body takes part in the movement and, in particular, our arms naturally move back and forward to keep the balance, similarly when playing there should be that same suppleness and naturality of movement, with the whole body elastic the contributes to the movements. On the contrary, in the great majority of cases, we focus on what is more evident as a movement (the left hand fingers and the right hand) ignoring all the rest.

Book's Contents


When you use this book, bear in mind that some indications are slightly different from what is in Stage fright, written years later. Kato Havas herself in Stage fright explains the reason for this. One example is about the left hand. In The twelve lesson course she says that the wrist has to be straight, but in Stage fright she coined the expression the "giving hand", with the left wrist slightly bent, in a natural way, toward you. It's because she realised that some things needed to be changed, in order to eliminate even the possibility of the slightest tension.

Another example is about the "violin hold" and "bow hold" mentioned in the previous books and the "no violin hold" and "no bow hold" mentioned in Stage fright.

So, if you notice differences, follow what's written in Stage fright. Apart form these details, the Twelve lesson course is a very useful book, because of the many practical exercises.

The book A new approach opens explaining the concept that balance is more powerful than force itself, analyzing what a good tone is, what is composed of, to get to illustrate how to achieve it, providing real explanations. Here are the chapters titles:

1) THE SEARCH OF THE TONE PRODUCTION

2) THE VIOLIN HOLD

Shoulder rest
The stance
The
violin hold
The left arm position
The left hand position

3) THE BOWING ARM

The bow hold
The thumb
The upper arm, the elbow and the forearm
The bow stroke and the bow change

4) THE TONE PRODUCTION

Regular and irregular sound vibrations
The fundamental note and its harmonics
The tone quality
The
finger base joints
Intonation
The ear training
The anticipation of the note
The control and preparation of the finger base joints

The fourth finger
The string change

5) THE TONE PRODUCTION APPLIED TO SHIFTS AND DOUBLE STOPS

The order of learning of positions
The shift
The shift with the same finger
The shift to a different finger
The intermediate notes
The fourth position and higher positions
Double stops

6) THE TONE PRODUCTION APPLIED TO STACCATO, DETACHÉ, MARTELÉ, ETC.

The staccato
The springing staccato (sautillé)
Detaché
Martelé
The legato bowing

7) THE TEACHING OF TONE PRODUCTION

8) THE TONE PRODUCTION APPLIED TO SIGHT READING, MEMORIZING AND TO STAGE FRIGHT

Memorizing
Stage fright



Buy A New Approach to violin in English or German or in Italian

Buy Kato Havas' teaching DVD

Organize a workshop on the New Approach


Other books by Kató Havas:

Stage fright
Causes and cures for physical and mental tensions caused by playing, that afflict the majority of players. How to eliminate them and play with more agility and pleasure (for listeners too)

The 12 lesson course in A New Approach to Violin Playing
The New Approach organised in 12 lessons, with practical exercises and pieces to play as a pupil-teacher duo. For beginners and advanced players as well.

The Violin and I
Kató Havas' autobiography, with the story of how the New Approach came to life and the correspondence, which went on for years, among readers on The Strad magazine





Book a twelve lesson course with me

Buy Kato Havas books
Buy the teaching DVD
Go to Kato Havas (with videos of a workshop)
Go to Violin and viola books
Go to Violin and viola teacher
Go to Home