At least, I think, for people who were not raised in concert halls. I have seen a significant number of violin students who only go to a few concerts a year, with each concert only lasting about half an hour. When I say half an hour, I mean that it takes about seven minutes of playing. And they have to take note of that.
If you could choose, what would you say the greatest obstacle to an instrumentist becoming a violinist is?
I’m a firm believer in musical education. I say that because I believe in educational education. It is a good thing to teach people how to play. But not just the students — but the teachers should also be aware of what they teach. When you tell someone they are not good enough, they are going to think you are stupid. But the teacher must also be aware that he is teaching an instrument.
The violin teacher of yours is an exception.
I would like to think it would seem that way. Because you just never know what’s going to happen. But there were one to two, three or four students that I was working with who did indeed become proficient. And most of those students began to play well enough to get into the concert halls.
The one thing that the players that were very good — and those that seemed almost impossible — had in common was that they had excellent teachers. I remember that one day there was one violinist who had played for four or five years, was very good, had good teachers, had been playing professionally for about eight years, had not been playing professionally for 10 years. And yet, she could not have become proficient because the best of her instructors were also very good.
What do you think it takes to become a violinist, and also to get a proper instrument such as a violin or viola?
I believe the only way to become competent is to learn the instrument as well as you can. You have to learn it as a beginner. The second level, on top of that, is to get the teacher of the violin, with whom you have an intimate relationship, and who can show you the way to develop your skills. But when he first sees you, he should not say, “This is the way it is done.” Let me be clear on that. He should say: “This is how it is done. To become proficient, you have to practice and learn this way to the point where it is natural.” The second level comes
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