Thursday, October 25, 2007

Lessons with Alois Posch

Well, I officially got my butt kicked yesterday for the first time by my teacher here, Alois Posch. I have now had 3 lessons with him. Apparently, the introduction is over, and it is now down to business. The first two lessons dealt mainly with some of the major technical changes I would have to make, studying here in Vienna. This mainly involves the bow. Not only have I just recently switched to playing German bow, after having played French bow my entire life, but now I must adapt specifically to the Viennese style of German bow playing. This has actually been a much easier transition than I originally anticipated. I will go into more detail about this change in the future. Other changes have included some meticulous left hand refinement, and beginning with the Ludwig Streicher method books, which I have never used before, but seem to be treated like the Bible amongst bass players here in Vienna. It must work. The technical facility of all the players in the studio here is absolutely astounding.

Another big difference with my lessons out here is that they are open to the whole studio. Anyone can listen to anybody else's lesson. This was something I first experienced this last summer at the International Festival at Round Top in my lessons with Barry Lieberman. It really makes the lesson feel like more of a performance, or a master class, since there will often 5 to 8 people in the room. I think there are both advantages and disadvantages to this concept. The personal relationship between the student and teacher is somewhat sacrificed, it seems, but on the plus side... I basically get 6 lessons a week, being able to listen to other peoples. Being here for the limited amount of time that I am, that is definitely an opportunity for me to get the most out my time with Posch as possible. I will soon be posting some more thoughts about specific technical and conceptual adjustments that I have been making.

Mr. Posch is currently the principal bassist of the Vienna Philharmonic and the Vienna Staatsoper. He has been in the orchestra since 1977, and has been teaching at the Universität für Musk und Darstellende Kunst since 1993.

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