in Oxford on the New Approach to string instruments, based on Kató
works, took place from Friday 31 August to Sunday 2 September 2012, in
the beautiful college St Edmund's Hall, run by my colleague and friend
Duffner and myself. This too was a great
with participants from as far as Japan, Italy, Spain, Austria, as well
as from nearer places such as London, Manchester and Gloucestershire,
from 22 to 82.
Thanks a lot to
As usual, like previous workshops, the workshop in Oxford on
Approach was open to everyone, in
particular violinists and violists, of all styles and levels so our
participants included students,
amateurs, teachers and professionals.
already said, many principles of
the New Approach can be
applied also to other instruments and indeed it's very useful to see
this, but this time we had all violinists, I
was the only viola player.
All participants already knew something about the New
Approach, having read one or more books, watched
the videos and the teaching DVD and one of
them had been at my previous workshop in Atina.
They came to Oxford to experiment it first hand and ask their
Another important aspect of this workshop was that they could see it
explained by two different players, Caroline and I, violin and viola.
Here you can see photos that illustrate some of the New Approach
the first is that of playing with the movements
originating not from the fingers but from
the centre of the person, from the
shoulders ("from inward outwards", as Kato Havas
It all starts with the
rhythmic pulse throughout the body, to eliminate the physical blockages. This alone releases a lot of
you can see the miming
the right arm and the left hand movements before playing,
saying the note names, very important to coordinate everything in one
Everybody had the opportunity to play and after some initial shyness,
as usual, everybody enjoyed it. Some players had never played for any
"audience", so this in itself was an accomplishment.
and clapping a piece of
music with the rhythmic pulse and the
playing it changes completely the way one plays it later in terms of
tone quality, expressivity and fluency of the music. As in all
workshops, everyone could experience on
himself and see in all other violin players the change from "before"
and "after" singing.
On Saturday night we went to an
Italian restaurant and at the end of the night one of the participants
entertained us and other
customers with a lovely solo,
much appreciated by everybody.
During the workshop breaks a couple of violin
players had been "fiddling about"
with the Double concerto
(concerto for two violins) by Bach, so toward
the end of the three days, in the afternoon we
played it all together, just for our own fun and to apply
some of the concepts just learnt: we sang and clapped before playing
movements, with the participants alternating in playing the solo parts.
at the workshop in Oxford
Again, having a mixed group of participants is very good, because
everyone can see that nearly everybody has the same
problems and that the application of the
New Approach principles can equally be of benefit
to more or less advanced violin players,
at all levels!
As Kato Havas says, the
New Approach concepts are incredibly simple: the use of
natural movements of
our body, not
forced ones, playing with our head,
not with the fingers. They can be
acquired, not in one week, by practicing very slowly,
being focused even for a short time, rather than practicing
mechanically for two hours. It takes some time to be able to put them
practice completely, but they can be learned in a short time. Surely it
takes less than the time most players have already spent learning the
violin, and with better results.
Caroline and I aim at repeating this summer workshop in Oxford and make
it bigger and bigger, we hope to see you next year!
the New Approach and Kató
Havas, with videos of a
Some students' answers to: What have you learnt that
you think you can apply?
singing notes, rhythmic
pulse, giving hand and thumb
Good for practice, ease of playing, good method.
right arm movement, shoulder joint, sing and clap exercise
left hand, singing notes, clapping, miming
See you on the next occasion!
You too can organize a
workshop, read here how to do
To learn more about the New Approach by Kato Havas:
Watch Kato Havas' workshop, with videos
causes and cures of physical injuries and anxiety
and viola books
Go from New Approach
Workshop in Oxford to Kató
|The workshop in
Oxford was hosted in the beautiful college St Edmund's Hall
Click on the pictures to
Showing the "no
violin hold" with a free left arm
Showing the "no
the giving hand, and
and clapping before playing
finale of the workshop in Oxford at
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