Welcome to my site, about all things violin and viola. Here you will find interesting tips and pointers, and thoughts about playing these beautiful instruments.

9 Sep 2012

Michael Rabin

Michael Rabin (1936 - 1972) was an American violinist, considered one of the best of the 20th Century.  He started studying violin at the age of 7, and had his Carnegie Hall debut at the age of 13.  Studying with the famous teacher Ivan Galamian at the Meadowmount School of Music, he was renowned for the perfection of his recitals.  Here is a wonderful video of Rabin playing Kreisler's Tambourin Chinois at the age of 15.

There is a lovely story about Rabin at Meadowmount.  Galamian put a challenge to his students playing a particular study  that he would "give a dollar to any student who could play that etude from beginning to end at the lesson without a single note out of tune."  The only student who got that dollar was Rabin.

So how did Rabin create such consistent accuracy in his playing?

When he was a child, Rabin had a little bowl with 6 marbles with him while he practised.  Each time he played through a specific section of his music perfectly, he would put a marble in the bowl.  If he made any error in a play through, all the marbles would come out, and he would start again.  The goal was to have all 6 marbles in the bowl from 6 perfect run-throughs in a row.

It's a great way to prepare yourself for a concert!  If you can perform a difficult section of music 6 times in a row... perfectly... you know you can get it perfect in concert.

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