There are lots of really great resources online for classical musicians. None of them is perhaps as valuable as an extra hour of practice every week, but nevertheless, there is some good stuff out there.

I came across this very timely and relevant resource a couple of days ago. The Sydney Symphony Orchestra has quite an active online presence and as part of this they have posted a whole series of masterclasses on YouTube. I was particularly interested in this video. It shows the concertmaster of the orchestra (we would call him the leader of the orchestra in the UK) giving a young violinist some constructive criticism about his performance of a section from the first movement of Rachmaninov’s Symphonic Dances, which the orchestra of Ormskirk Music Society is playing in our concert on 23 April 2016.

The section in question is a very magical moment in the piece and is definitely one of those passages we string players look forward to. Lots of passion, maximum vibrato, Rachmaninov at his passionate best. If you watch the video you will learn that the section was actually bowed and edited at Rachmaninov’s request by the great Fritz Kreisler. There’s some star quality for you!

After I had watched the video, I picked up my violin and it really did sound better than it did before. Let’s hope we can take some inspiration from Maestro Kreisler right here in West Lancashire.