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Australian Violin Pedagogy Conference

Friday 22 September to Sunday September 24

The Open Academy is delighted to present the Australian Violin Pedagogy Conference 2017.

Convenors - Goetz Richter and Caron Chan

The Australian Violin Pedagogy Conference 2017 brings together acclaimed teachers, performers and researchers at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. Topics of the conference will cover artistic, technical and philosophical issues essential to the work of violin teachers in studios and schools. Participants will have the opportunity to network with colleagues and attend performance masterclasses.

The Conference will open on Friday September 22 with a recital by International violinist and SSO Concertmaster Andrew Haveron and acclaimed pianist Simon Tedeschi.


Conference Sessions

Amy Radford
The Power of Performance Coaching: empowering performers with the latest research in performance psychology & neuroscience to build the key psychological skills for performance excellence,

Turn performance anxiety to your advantage in auditions and performances and learn how to bounce back from disappointment, develop focus and concentration, master your self-talk, and regulate your energy for peak performance. Discover how performance coaching can empower and free you from extraneous pressures, leading to a more confident, capable and successful performance, and ultimately a more relaxed, enjoyable you!

Ole Böhn
Technical and musical purposes of violin fingering.

The violin has four strings and the player has four fingers to navigate on the fingerboard, in order to produce the desired notes. The way we use our left hand, choosing the right finger and how we move into various positions, has always been a topic for discussion. Various schools of violin playing have different opinions and methods, but also musical taste plays an important role

In this lecture I would like to draw attention to various form of fingering related to practical use and musical taste of yesterday and today.

Caron Chan
A practical session on Vibrato.

How to develop a supple and effortless vibrato. In this session we will explore approaches and exercises that develop a supple, effortless and consistent vibrato impulse and work to counteract common vibrato faults. Participants are encouraged to bring their instruments as this is a practical session.

Elizabeth Holowell
The Pedagogy of effective Reach and Stretch.

For players of shorter physical stature many technical issues may arise related to the challenges of reaching around their instruments and bows. Specific examples include difficulty reaching 4th finger in the lower positions, reaching multiple stopping and higher positions and bowing at the tip of the bow. Practical solutions will be discussed with reference to information gathered from the Alexander Technique and the related field of Bodymapping, and will be further illustrated by demonstrations on the violin.

Sheau-Fang Low
Approaches in teaching music reading to elementary level violinists.

The ability to read music is essential in the development of young musicians. In learning to decode
musical notation, the child needs to understand two elements of music: the pitch and the duration
of the note. Edwin Gordon infers that "Music notation is … intended to represent the sound of
music" (p.13). Therefore to read music successfully, the brain of the child must interpret the musical
symbols as seen by the eyes, then sends the messages for the hands to coordinate the fingers and
produces the sound on the instrument.

Goetz Richter
Rode’s 24 Caprices.

Pierre Rode’s 24 Caprices are an important milestone of artistic, stylistic and technical achievement. This session will discuss interpretative, stylistic and technical issues of these masterworks from the early 19th century and explore ideas how their study contributes comprehensively to the development of violin playing and artistry today.

Carol Chen
Incorporating Modern Technology in Violin Teaching – Zhang Violin Method.

In the last two decades, Prof Zhang has been refining his teaching method to incorporate the use of modern technology. He has recorded more than 6000 violin tutorial videos, which have provided effective practice aids and assisted in eliminating mistakes during students' practice. This teaching and learning method has proven to stimulate the children’s violin learning interest, as well as assisting them to learn more easily and in a methodical way. It has enabled more teachers to teach the fundamentals of violin playing to children in a systematic way, and empowered more parents to assist their child in their learning journey. This presentation will demonstrate to conference delegates the way modern technology can be incorporated to enhance the violin learning of children.

Janet Davies
Tension and relaxation in violin paying – Alexander Technique as 'bio-tensegrity'

The ability to be relaxed when playing is a valued goal at the centre of many violin schools. This presentation will shed new light on the very notion of relaxation by examining the violinist’s body as a bio-tensegrity system, reliant on a continuous network of tension for power and structural integrity.
Bio-tensegrity is a relatively new concept, yet it has many similarities to the principle that F.M. Alexander discovered in the 1890s, which has become known as the Alexander Technique.

As well as relaxation, we will look at important aspects of violin playing such as posture, freedom of movement and tone production through the lens of bio-tensegrity.

Elizabeth Sellars
George Frederick Pinto’s violin music: Interpreting violin music by a British-born composer of the early nineteenth century.

George Frederick Pinto was a brilliant violinist, pianist and composer whose early death almost certainly deprived Great Britain of one of its potentially greatest composer-performers. Pinto’s creative genius was forged exclusively within London’s cosmopolitan environment at a time when Great Britain was a favoured destination for distinguished continental musicians of various performance styles. Remarkably for a native-born musician, Pinto secured roles as soloist, leader and chamber musician and collaborated with visiting musicians of international standing. In addition to other works for voice and piano, Pinto composed nine duets for two violin and three sonatas for keyboard and violin which have been only rarely performed. This presentation will discuss the set of performance principles developed by Sellars during the course of her Phd which she has used to edit, interpret and perform Pinto’s violin works.

Robin Wilson
A practical Session on optimal sound production.

Projecting a full, unforced tone is an essential component of violin playing. Drawing on various methods, including that of the great Russian pedagogue Yuri Yankelevich (1909-73), this session discusses ways to optimise resonance through positing and weight distribution. Participants are encouraged to bring their instruments as the sessions will include practical suggestions and exercises.

Loreta Fin
A beginner method for young mixed or individual classes designed to assist in building a school string program quickly.

Most American methods are designed for 10 year olds. This one is aimed at year 2/3 students and the philosophy for teaching beginner strings has been trialled with students aged between 7 and 9, over many years. Students learn tunes aurally in the first stage, singing the fingers, letters, solfa and later using the “hand-staff” to assist with note-reading in different clefs. They can play tunes quickly and experience success early on. Once the concepts are understood, the teacher can “think outside the box” adding other material from the classroom music program, or even from the child’s imagination. This session will include video clips of the program in action.

Lorraine Chai
Approaches of teaching Music Theory for strings in a fun interactive manner.

How can teachers assist their students to understand the foundations of music theory in a more engaging and interactive manner? This presentation aims to highlight different approaches to assist teachers in tailoring their teaching style which may help to effectively deliver the foundation of music theory to various age groups.

Evgeny Sorkin
The English publication of the iconic Russian book ‘The Legacy of Yuri Yankelevich’ has sparked a renewed interest in the Russian Violin School. In my talk I will explore the historic development of the Russian School from one of the earliest Russian virtuosos Ivan Khandoshkin to its present time.

I will discuss the development of the Pre-Russian Revolution school of Leopold Auer in St. Petersburg and Jan Hrimaly School in Moscow. The Soviet Violin School followed on with the influence of Pyotr Stolyarsky in Odessa (teacher of David Oistrakh and Nathan Milstein among others), and the Moscow professors Abram Yampolsky (teacher of Leonid Kogan and Yuri Yankelevich), Konstantin Mostras (teacher of Ivan Galamian) and Lev Tseitlin (teacher of Boris Belenky) who have established the new scientific approach to violin pedagogy based on new advances in acoustics and physiology.


Masterclases from Andrew Haveron and Susan Collins

For information on the presenters and performers please click on Presenter Information


Full Conference Pass - $225
includes a free ticket to the Andrew Haveron / Simon Tedeschi Recital on Friday September 22

Conference Day Pass - $125 per day

Concessions for students and University of Sydney Staff are available

Click on “Enrol Now” to register for the Conference


Andrew Haveron, violin and Simon Tedeschi, piano

Franz Schubert - Violin Sonata in A major, D547
Edvard Grieg - Violin Sonata No.3 in C minor, Op. 45
Fritz Kreisler - "Viennese Rhapsodic Fantasietta"

Friday September 22 at 7pm
Recital Hall East, Sydney Conservatorium of Music

Tickets $35 ($30 concession)

Recital Tickets

Single tickets can be purchased through the Sydney Conservatorium Box Office. To purchase tickets please click here

The Sydney Conservatorium of Music Box Office is open from one hour prior to concerts. Read more about our ticketing policies online here.


Please click here for information about getting to the Conference