? is the single most important thing a new player should be practicing?

Posted: 11/18/2009 2:28:38 PM

From: Kansas City, Mo.

Joined: 8/23/2005

Hi again...

the reason I suggested DVDs is that to find a theremin teacher is difficult.

Here is how you might want to proceed:

1) listen to the music of various thereminists and determine the repertoire and basic "sound" that you want. The sound of a thereminist has much to do with their approach to intonation, vibrato, phrasing, and dynamics. Identify the thereminist that plays closest to the sound that you want.

2) simply contact the thereminist -- most thereminists are not inundated with millions of fans (imagine that!) -- and find out how he/she learned, who gave them lessons, or perhaps if he/she gives lessons.

Theremin festivals often include the opportunity for private lessons, group lessons, and master classes with one or more presenters. In the USA, such events (such as the Moog Ethermusic festivals) only occur every three years and one is not sure when there will be another. The festivals in the UK and Europe (such as the "Hands Off" festival) occur every year.

Hope this helps.
Posted: 11/18/2009 3:09:25 PM

From: Colmar, France

Joined: 12/31/2007

In Europe there is also the music school in Lippstadt (Northern Germany) whose Director Wolfgang Streblow is a theremin player and teacher and who organizes annual theremin workshops http://theremin.musikschule-lippstadt.de. Then there are often workshops held by Lydia Kavina at the University of Oxford and sometimes at other locations: http://www.lydiakavina.com. Barbara Buchholz teaches in Berlin and holds summer classes on several Spanish Islands http://www.barbarabuchholz.com. This year in December there will be a Swiss theremin festival for the first time (http://www.myspace.com/nodefestival and http://theremin.tfrenkel.com/news/nodefestival) with lessons held by Pamelia Kurstin. If it will be successful annual repetition (with changing teachers) will be planned.

The easiest way to get actual info is to have a daily look in this forum via the "recent posts" function.
Posted: 11/18/2009 5:52:11 PM

From: Croxley Green, Hertfordshire, UK

Joined: 10/5/2005

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Posted: 11/19/2009 8:19:59 AM

From: Canada

Joined: 8/1/2008

btl wrote:

i would prefer to have personal instruction over a dvd for sure. as long as the teacher was good lol.


A beginner on an instrument has no way to know whether or not a teacher is any good.

I have been asked on several occasions to teach theremin, along with other professional thereminists, as part of some conference or convention of thereminists and I have always refused because I would only end up making people mad and getting into trouble.

In a situation where thereminists are getting lessons from all the teachers at an event, and with each instructor teaching a different technique and approach to the instrument, there is going to be conflict. Inevitably someone is going to say, "Ms So-and-so says that we should play with our hands like THIS, but you say we should play holding our hands like THAT. How come?"

It's at that point that the fecal matter would hit the air circulation device.

"Well, people, let me tell you what I think of Ms So-and-so's theremin playing, and WHY her technique is a bad idea. How many of you heard her shockingly bad performance at the concert last night?.........."

It's sort of like inviting an imam, a rabbi and a Catholic priest to teach at a religious convention. They may smile sweetly, shake hands, pose dutifully for photo ops and all worship the god of Abraham, but deep down each is convinced that the other two are not only wrong but potentially dangerous as well.

To echo Groucho, I wouldn't want to be part of any theremin event that would have someone like me as a participant!


Posted: 11/19/2009 11:46:43 AM

From: Croxley Green, Hertfordshire, UK

Joined: 10/5/2005

Or you could say, "I think Ms So-and-so could explain the theory underlying her technique better than me. It is best to choose a technique according to the results (*). You heard us both play at the concert last night, now you have a choice to make."

(*) True of many things. For instance, I chose not to attend the Genghis Khan School of Diplomacy.
Posted: 11/19/2009 7:07:51 PM

From: Canada

Joined: 8/1/2008

I prefer non-participation to prevarication. Just me.... Sorry.
Posted: 11/20/2009 2:13:52 PM

From: Kansas City, Mo.

Joined: 8/23/2005

My comment --

[i]"Theremin festivals often include the opportunity for private lessons, group lessons, and master classes with one or more presenters."[/i]

-- was purposely neutral.

If you pursue the theremin and decide to attend festivals, then you will have an occasional "brush with celebrity". It is great fun and, indeed, one can always leave with new-found knowledge.

However, I wouldn't count on such events as one's primary learning tool.

If you have a trusted friend that plays another instrument or sings then you might ask them to listen to your playing and provide feedback to you. Such friends won't cut you slack for poor intonation. You will end up choosing music that you can play well rather than attempting music that is too difficult.

The theremin is a big distractor to listeners. The sound is novel and the spectacle of playing an instrument without touching it is compelling. I think the biggest complement that I can recieve, as a thereminist, is that the listener forgot they were hearing a theremin and, instead, just heard great music.

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