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Christian Howes on Soulful Violin Playing

My response to his great demonstration of soulful playing…

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5 thoughts on “Christian Howes on Soulful Violin Playing

  1. I loved what Christian had to say about bowing an breathing earlier. It reminds me of studying with Dr. Suzuki in Japan who was often saying to us “Bowing is Breathing and Balance”. If you are breathing unconsciously with your bow as naturally as possible your body will relax into your bow and it will find its balance on each note. What happens when you find that balance point is that the notes start to roll off the bow more effortlessly. You begin to feel as if you could play forever.
    You don’t have to practice the whole piece doing this. You could take just two of the most important or expressive up and down bow sequences in the piece and play them over and over like a tonalization. As you become more synchronized it will feel like a meditation or prayer.

    Dr. Suzuki would also say “Bowing is like walking” A motion that requires breathing and balance. In your case pedaling requires breathing and balance.

    • Ms. Cynthia, thank you for that definition! I never knew that putting your hat out for change had a name! And yes, I agree with the breathing. I’ve always told my students (and myself) “don’t forget to breathe!”

  2. Oh, I wanted to add that I love the jazz touches…but I’m not so good at playing them. 😉 Are you familiar with Regina Carter? She is AWESOME!!!! Love her stuff.

    And by the way, what does “busking” mean?

  3. I enjoyed both renditions! 🙂 My thoughts, if you’re interested, 😉 is that truly soulful playing comes from within. For example, think about what this song is about. The reason why it is revered throughout generations is because of it’s origin. The person who wrote it had a powerful encounter with the overwhelming grace of God. I know for me, as a believer and follower of Christ, when I play violin I am worshiping the Lord. Like David in the old testament and his harp, when he played it he brought great comfort to King Saul. It was the worship that made the difference. The technique is great if you have it, and even the Bible encourages us to “play skillfully” to the Lord…but the heart of worship, for me, is the most important aspect to my personal playing. I don’t know what your faith leanings are, but I encourage you to make your violin playing a spiritual experience…and your fingers will follow. 😉

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