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String Section

  • What Makes an Orchestral Musician an Effective and Sensitive Section Player?

    Mike Lawson | June 6, 2019

    As I am a very moody individual (by anyone’s standards), ensemble rehearsals have always been both a challenging and a life-affirming environment - an environment very rich with potential.

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  • Bowing: ‘How Do I Play the Dot?’

    Mike Lawson | May 8, 2019

    I’m writing this article about what the “dot” means in music (and the many ways to play it).

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  • A Musician’s Guide to Recording Bowed Instruments

    Mike Lawson | April 10, 2019

    I would like to provide a general outline for how to go about recording the kinds of things string players, educators, composers, and ensembles find themselves wanting to have copies of to share and to evaluate, and to learn from and be proud of.

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  • Clicker Training: Exploring Non-Verbal Feedback in Private Instruction

    Mike Lawson | February 8, 2019

    I recently heard a fascinating piece on the radio in which the concept of “clicker training” (a proven method of training animals which has roots in the notorious “Pavlov” experiments) has been modified to teach muscle memory skills in aspiring surgeons.

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  • The Value of Auditions: Musician Wellness and Ensemble Health

    Mike Lawson | January 10, 2019

    Too often, this profession breeds unhealthy behavior cultivated by frustrations and factors outside of our control, coupled with inconsistencies in orchestral policy and structure.

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  • Muscle Memory and Marking Your Music

    Mike Lawson | December 4, 2018

    As many of my students know, I am quite fond of the phrase: “Your muscles don’t know wrong from right. They just remember what they do.”

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  • Why Do We Make Music?

    Mike Lawson | November 4, 2018

    Why do we make music? What motivates a person to invest so much time and energy in music (as musical activity/performance, or its creation/project?

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  • Disaster Avoidance/Prevention: Help Your Students Successfully Enter the Gigging Arena

    Mike Lawson | October 2, 2018

    I would like to thank my longtime friend and talented cellist for collaboration on this article; many of our growing pains happened together and we wish to do what we can to limit the necessity of such stories in the broader community of young professionals learning the trade.

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  • An Alternative Approach Guide for String Teachers

    Mike Lawson | August 30, 2018

    And in the beginning, there was safety in open strings. In whatever activity you prefer, use a progression in which the student can play an open string when they panic or don’t know what to do. They will not be as discouraged.

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  • Embracing Students Who Stop Practicing: An Alternative Approach

    Mike Lawson | August 4, 2018

    Not much about playing the violin came naturally to me - but music did, very much so. One of the things I have always been able to do well is what I call “playing in” – being able to intuitively hear-and play with any group by listening, reacting and adding my voice.

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  • Surviving the Slow Months: Summers and the Private Lesson Studio

    Mike Lawson | July 16, 2018

    Let’s address some of the most common reasons that student levels plummet during the summer months and discuss some tips on how to keep yours from doing so.

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  • How You Make A Difference: Orchestral Educators Focusing on the Individual

    Mike Lawson | June 8, 2018

    Education, whether of an institutional nature or otherwise, can take many forms.

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