The book

The Creative Violinist

The Creative Violinist: Integrating Technique and Music through Improvisation is a new approach to studying the violin in order to become a well-rounded and creative musician. Written for violin and viola students-and their teachers-—this book is a hands-on, write-all-over-it, spill-coffee-on-it workbook for integrating musicianship and technique through improvisation.

“A wonderful guide that builds one principle on another to bring great technique to the creativity of improvisation. Highly recommended!”

This book will benefit beginners through advanced players, even professionals.The creative approach to musical elements and technique in the book can help improve facility and expression for written music; empower participation with musicians playing in improvisation-based approaches such as blues, country, or rock; and even provide a springboard to dive into the deep waters of jazz.

Play the Violin without a Shoulder Rest

Play the Violin without a Shoulder Rest (and save your neck) is A short, practical discussion of how to play the violin without using a shoulder rest, including illustrations and exercises.

I have also created a video on this subject.

Here is an overview:

  1. A short history of my struggle with the issue of holding the violin.
  2. Advantages and disadvantages of shoulder rest vs. no shoulder rest.
  3. How to deal with the violin sliding around (including product suggestions).
  4. Exercises, with photos, for holding the instrument in higher and lower positions.
  5. The all important issue of shifting downward into positions lower than the 4th. If you don’t address this one, you can’t do it without clutching with the neck. This section has several shifting exercises written out (using harmonics to encourage a light touch).

I do not believe that everyone must play the violin without a shoulder rest. However, I do believe that if certain issues are properly addressed, then there are tremendous advantages to playing without one.