Theremin Instructional DVD Recommendations?

Posted: 5/21/2014 10:21:57 PM

From: Burlington, Kentucky

Joined: 5/9/2014

Hey all,

I'll be getting my first theremin in a couple weeks and I want to do this right. Rather than just slog through the learning process and possibly develop bad habits, I'd like to buy an instructional DVD. Any recommendations on the best way to go? I've seen several online, but I'd like advice from seasoned theremin players.


- Dean -

Posted: 5/22/2014 12:09:23 AM

From: Scotland

Joined: 9/27/2012

Peter Pringle will say that it's important that you should take lessons if possible from people whose playing you like and I agree with this.

Given that, I would recommend Thomas Grillo's DVD as an instruction guide: there is more to it than first initially is obvious.


Posted: 5/22/2014 2:26:10 PM

From: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Joined: 1/1/2011

I have Thomas Grillo's lessons and it is very comprehensive .  Sometimes the editing is slightly distracting but he packs a lot into that DVD!  His style is not threating or overwhelming like other lessons I have sampled....the price is right also!

I would also recommend Kip Rosser on Youtube.  He gives excellent lessons and they are free!  Once you have a basic technique down watch other thereminist's styles and settle on the one that works best for you.  Eventually you will probably settle on a combination styles and have your own unique method of playing.  There are no hard fast rules for this instrument!

Posted: 5/22/2014 4:38:34 PM

From: Kansas City, Mo.

Joined: 8/23/2005

It helps to watch thereminists who are playing at least to the standard to which you aspire.  The video of Clara Rockmore was very helpful to me personally.  Though I will not play the same repertoire as Rockmore I strive to play to a high standard.

While instructional DVDs may be helpful, the problem with them is that everyone has different goals, abilities, and learning styles.

If I were to teach theremin (or music in-general) I would want to know something about the student: do you play another instrument, can you read music, have you had ear-training, what do you plan to do with the theremin (i.e., play for own enjoyment, play in a band, play classical-style with an orchestra, use it as a controller for electronic instruments, use it for performance-art, use it for sci-fi effects)?  A DVD can't do that and that is an inherent limitation. 

To find theremin teachers is difficult.  Thus, most of us are self-taught.

Onward through the fog!

Posted: 5/26/2014 6:28:08 PM

From: Burlington, Kentucky

Joined: 5/9/2014

Thank you all,

I will certainly take your suggestions into consideration. To answer your question kkissinger, I would be playing mostly for my own enjoyment. Possibly play for family members or the annual faculty talent show at the school I work for ~ when and if I ever GET talented!

I also play the baritone ukulele and the piano, both self taught. My father and both grandfathers played the piano as well. So I've been surrounded by that most of my life. I've had no formal training and can only determine the written note by knowing it's position on musical notation. Cannot read enough to play in real time. I use tablature from the Net and electronic chord calculators and charts to learn new music for the strings and keyboard.

I guess the biggest attraction to the theremin for me is it's uniqueness and potential for creating such beautiful music. I have always been a lover of music and singing and always excited about trying new things. And the theremin is such an unusual instrument. I just have to give it a shot.

I already have several favorite players I watch. Mr. Pringle comes to mind. Anethyste and Carolina are also very nice to listen to. I've also been watching vids of fingering techniques and have my opinions on which I like best ~ considering I've YET to even play a theremin.

Thank you all again VERY much. The more I learn and the more advice I get, the more excited I am about learning to play. And any additional advice you can provide, or artists you recommend I listen to, would be greatly appreciated.

- Dean -



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