Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

  • Author: Pedro de Alcantara

Going back to instrumental lessons

Three existential questions are useful to all of us: “Who am I? Where do I come from? Where am I going?” The publication of The Integrated String Player got me thinking about these questions in regards to my trajectory as a cellist. I decided to go back to school, so to speak. This is my report.

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In praise of teaching with Skype

For the past six or seven years I’ve been giving music lessons online, using Skype or FaceTime (Apple’s proprietary alternative to Skype). My students include children, college students, adult amateurs, and concert artists. Some of them take occasional lessons, others hew to the traditional once-a-week lesson schedule. I’ve had face-to-face encounters with some of them, but not all of them.

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In praise of SoundCloud

When you’re a musician, you’re constantly passing between the private and the public spheres. Practicing by yourself in a soundproof room is a private activity. Playing an audition is a public act. Reading a score silently is private; releasing a CD is public.

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Good health is a creative act

Musicians lead demanding lives. Practicing, sight-reading, rehearsing, and auditioning all can be stressful and, at times, actually painful. How to stay healthy and free from pain? I think the answer lies in realizing that your health is completely tied in with your creative efforts, or the way you respond to music itself. In brief, good health is a creative act. Here are seven tips to get you started.

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