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Jeffrey Howard Workshop, October 2009

The second MD/DC Studio Teachers Meeting of the 2009-2010 season took place at the home of President-elect Cathy Stewart on October 12, 2009, at 10:30 a.m.

The guest speaker was violinist Jeffrey Howard, who is MD/DC Chapter’s University Representative. Dr. Howard’s topic was “727’s and Ghosting: Finding Accuracy and Consistency in Shifting.”

He began by explaining why the basic setup of the left hand is so important, describing the basic ideal hand frames, the importance of the elbow hinge in the shifting movements, and the ideal thumb path.

He went on to explain that “727” is a descriptive term—each number signifying the relative amount of fingertip weight at the onset of the shift, during the movement of the shift, and the target pitch at the end of the shift. “Ghosting” is a term that describes the sound of the finger movement between the beginning and the ending pitches.

He demonstrated these concepts with examples of scales using various fingerings, and played examples of shifting exercises that one of his teachers, Joseph Gingold, taught him. He brought several fascinating books, including some out-of-print music by Ševčík, which described each and every shift in the Mendelssohn concerto and in the Wieniawski Scherzo Tarantella.

Nineteen members were present at the workshop. Lively discussion took place and interesting questions were posed during the workshop. Several people brought snacks, and everyone continued with their discussions while enjoying the light refreshments.

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