I spent February of 2014 in India, and the highlight of this trip, even above performing, was teaching students, young and old.
In Mumbai, I taught a workshop to the violin students of Milind Raikar, helping them with the basic, essential economy of movement and muscle use, changing strings with the bow with relaxed arms and shoulders.
In Delhi, I taught a master class for students of the Delhi Music Society, emphasizing relaxation of the fingers of the bow, and of the left hand while shifting (changing position).
In Kalimpong, in northern Bengal, I gave an all-day workshop to the violin, viola and cello students of the Gandhi Ashram School, coaching early school age to high school children. They then joined me in two concerts, in Kalimpong and Darjeeling, playing a Nepalese song, and then joining me in a Celtic jig I composed from a raga, with call and response both with me and each other. It was satisfying to see them play with such grace.
Sound and Health through Music Workshops
In the fall, I gave the fourth music and meditation session at the Park Slope Food Coop, each time with people who desired inner aliveness and peace. Comments from participants included “relaxed my body and mind” and “I feel more aware”. In response to the question, “What will you take away with you from this experience?”, a singer-songwriter wrote, “a more calm, meditative state; the inspiration to practice singing and playing my scales more.”
Playing in Hospitals
This Christmas, I visited the sister-in-law of a friend in the hospital and played violin for her. I played Celtic tunes, solo Bach, Indian ragas, Christmas carols and hymns. Occasionally tears came to her eyes as she listened, talked and smiled. Watching her joy as her niece clogged to a Celtic jig brought smiles to all our faces
From the Ganga to the Tay Concert Reading of Poetry with Music in Scotland
At the Gorky Parrish Church in Edinburgh, Scotland on August 9, 2011, I accompanied two readers on the epic poem From the Ganga to the Tay by Bashabi Fraser. The concert reading was magical for performers and audience, and the audience gave warm reception. Reading were Chrys Salt as the Ganga, Donald Smith as the Tay, and Michael Braudy on violin wove together ragas and Scottish tunes. Videos by Kenny Munro, co-author of the book, were projected above on a screen. I enjoy this kind of spontaneous work.
While in Edinburgh, I had the opportunity to see the daughter of a friend who is a classical singer studying Gaelic and Scottish traditional music, and meet a pipe maker and cittern player whose home and studio I later visited in Pathhead, where we played with a bodran player in a pub. Neil and Bashabi Fraser were wonderful hosts for the week.