Evan is a

  • University Violin teacher
  • Diploma Examiner
  • Eisteddfod Adjudicator
  • Internationally experienced Director of Strings
  • Celebrated Performer on TV, Recordings, Radio, Concerts
  • Specialist in talent research and development
  • Director of Elsley Ensembles P/L

 

 

VIOLIN TALENT

Talent can now be created!

 

"All Technique takes time. Organise time and you have technical talent!"

Evan Elsley

 

The historical problem of methods

 

When you go to a Violin teacher, you will be taught a method. Methods teach taped fingerboards, finger stretches, hitting the fingers on the string, years of repetitive practice, observing, copying, imitating, parroting videos, hand frames, muscle memory, coloured strings and even the use of rubber toys. They have a beginner up teaching approach that fulfills exam marking criteria. These type of methods  however are essentially illogical. The majority of students do not progress to Diploma levels.

  1. The Violin is not a stable instrument. This is because strings do not stay in tune and Violin makers use different body measurements. There is no security in practicing a repetitive muscle memory movement on something that is intrinsically unstable.
  2. Hitting a finger directly onto the string does not develop a secure intonation technique. There needs to be a more refined technical process that includes miniscule finger adjustment and listening control.
  3. It is not a logical thought process to play a note using a memorised physical movement of finger placement, then listen to the result and then think that more practice is required.
  4. There is no consideration of the time taken for physical movement around the instrument.
  5. Students are told to listen but they do not know how or when.
  6. Methods often create co-ordination insecurity. They encourage the concept that co-ordination is the start of multiple physical actions. In reality, co-ordination is when multiple physical actions come together at the same time. Method teachers believe that co-ordination is undefinable and a gift.
  7. Many method books on Violin technique are large and complicated. If something is complicated, then students often suffer the psychological effect of over thinking. This detracts from speed.

Any pedagogy that incorporates moments where a player thinks with their fingers introduces technical elements of luck and uncertainty.

In contrast, advanced Violin technique requires total security and control. To achieve this, students need to bring to their lessons what well known teachers search for. Traditionally, this has been the natural gift of talent.

Well known teachers also teach methods. The difference is their business model. 

  • They actively search for talented students who can solve their own technical problems.
  • They focus on teaching tone quality, rhythm, vibrato and interpretation.
  • They advertise being part of the teaching chain of a successful student.
  • They imply full pedagogical knowledge.

Students will have lessons from a long list of these teachers. Only a few of these students progress to a successful performing career. For many students, this educational stage can be a frustrating and expensive experience.

Famous performers demonstrate and focus on the musical meaning. They commonly use well known teachers as assistants when there are technical problems. 

 

Understanding the gift of talent

 

"Everything about Violin technique has one thing in common, everything takes time" Evan Elsley

 

All aspects of Violin playing need to occur in a time sequence where something must be done before an intended result can be obtained. The logic of talent is that there is only one way to link and sequence all Violin technique within a time line. For instance, if the finger is already on the string and in tune before each note is played, then intonation security is guaranteed.

By comparison, Violin technique that is not governed by the logic of time guarantees insecurity. For instance, consider the timing problem that occurs when a student holds their finger down on the fingerboard for the full note value. If a physical movement to play the next note commences at the exact moment when the player should already have started playing that note, then the timing will always be late. This is because the time it takes to move between the two notes has not been included in the technical process. The arrow of time does not include miracles. It is illogical to expect to be at opposite ends of the fingerboard at the exact same moment.

Once known Violin techniques are placed into a time line sequence, it is apparent that there are moments of time that are empty of any pedagogical knowledge. These missing moments are varied. They can be a physical movement, a thought process, a technique of listening, even postural facility. Many students do some of these naturally but rarely do students do all of them. The missing techniques that fill these gaps of time are the intuitive techniques of talent.

Talent is not a gift from God or Great Grandma, it is simply a word that describes a lack of professional teaching knowledge.

With knowledge, the whole enigma of talent is revealed as new disciplines of teaching.

  • A logical thought process using a time line
  • Specific pedagogical explanation of the intuitive techniques that were previously unknown.
  • Fundamentals of a physical facility based on talent. Facility that is time efficient, is derived from the Violin's construction and removes RSI
  • An ability to invent because everyone is built differently
  • Musical authority

Evan is a Diploma examiner and Violin teacher for University Performance degrees. The enigma of talent is now explainable to all students. Results are proven over many years.