Magazine article Strings

HILARY Hahn: Be YOURSELF

Magazine article Strings

HILARY Hahn: Be YOURSELF

Article excerpt

Violinist Hilary Hahn, featured on our cover last month, shares some wisdom acquired on the road to the top.

CHOOSE YOUR TEACHER FOR YOU. It doesn't matter if your teacher is famous or not; it doesn't matter if other people say you should study with your teacher or not. If you're not comfortable with a teacher, nothing is going to go well. Find someone who will work with you individually, in a very personal way. I've never had luck taking lessons from people who use an all-purpose "method." I don't like the cookie-cutter approach.

ACCEPT THE CHALLENGE. Find a teacher you feel safe with, but one who can still challenge you, because if you're not being challenged, you're not going to make much progress. Try to do whatever he or she suggests, even if you don't think it's the right thing at the time. This will teach you how to make things work that you think you can't do. Figure out what your teacher is aiming for, and if you strongly object to the suggested process, see if you can get the same result through a different technique. Often you can get the sound or phrasing they want in your own way.

PRACTICE CONSISTENTLY. It's not a matter of how many hours of practice you can squeeze into a day; it's a matter of how many days you can keep the same schedule. If you're busy one day and skip practicing, or work for only half an hour, then the next day you try to practice four hours, you'll get too tired, and so you'll feel like taking the next day off. …

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