Today, the FSO violin soloist for this concert, Benjamin Beilman, paid a visit to the Frost MS Advanced Strings Class. Frost Strings teacher, Kathy Thompson, secured the Lecture Hall at Frost for this event, which was the perfect venue. This event was sponsored jointly by the Fairfax Symphony, the Virginia String Teachers Association (VASTA) and The Potter Violin Co. I was one of a handful of area private teachers who attended, along with some parents and siblings of students from the class.
The session started with 3 separate soloists, all violinists from this class at Frost. Each played for Mr. Beilman and the audience. Afterwards, Mr. Beilman gave some helpful hints on how to improve their performance. My student, Daniel, was one of the soloists, playing the 1st movement of Mozart’s Violin Concerto in G. I was very proud of Daniel. He played well, and responded well to the coaching Mr. Beilman gave. I was also very happy to hear Mr. Beilman give similar advice to what I had been saying. It’s always good to have positive reinforcement! I tried to video record Daniel’s playing and coaching, but my device crashed and I only got 12 seconds! I guess I’ll just have to rely on my memory!
After the mini-masterclass, Mr. Beilman took questions from the audience. Questions included:
“How much should I practice a day?” [enough to make a difference in your playing, and be consistent - daily practice for a short time is better than 4 hours one day and nothing for the next month]
“How much do you practice a day?” [4-6 hours/day]
“What kind of violin do you play?” [200-year-old Gagliano]
After the Q&A session, Mr. Beilman treated everyone to a performance of all 3 movements of the Prokofiev Solo Violin Sonata. He played beautifully. The students were clearly inspired!
When the event was over, students crowded around Mr. Beilman to talk to him and get his autograph. I stayed to thank him for coming. Then I asked him about the Beethoven cadenzas he is playing on the FSO concert. He said they were Beethoven’s own cadenzas for the re-scored piano version of the Violin Concerto. It is not well known that Beethoven rewrote this concerto for piano. I have heard it on the radio before, and it always makes me pause, and say…”that’s just not right!” Ha! Anyway, Mr. Beilman re-scored the piano cadenzas for violin! Back at ya, Ludwig!
After that, I went home to have lunch and practice, then teach, before tonight’s dress rehearsal.