Not even a single year is out of date. When you look at a baby’s violin it’s very clear, how she was taught. So it can’t be any different with any child, at any point.
What about children who are only learning violin?
Well the child probably doesn’t want to be there anymore. They want to be playing. So I think once the child is really good at playing guitar, they’ll continue with that, but if not, they’ll gradually go away and have no idea what I’ve been through in the process of teaching them. And there’s a lot of things that can happen once that happens, so I’m very conscious of, when that happens, how to support them and what they’ll do with their time.
How has the violin world changed over the decades now?
It’s gone through cycles of progress and improvement, then stagnation, and then rapid change. It’s just one of many areas; like other arts that were once very popular, they’ve fallen off the map because they’ve lost people through the ’90s onwards. But then in the late ’90s music found an audience at every level – it’s no longer just about musicians or music school graduates. And of course this is something that’s been happening in every other arts; music theory has been taught to children from kindergarten up – there’s something happening there, and so it’s not going away.
You also mentioned that you were a student of jazz. What made you choose it?
In the late ’60s I decided to take a break from music, after my friend, Miles Davis, had given up jazz and started making music. And I was a huge jazz connoisseur at that time. I always looked over the course of time at jazz recordings and other musicians to see how they played and the way things flowed. I took that and applied it to my own practice and I discovered that that was one of the most rewarding things I’d ever been able to do in my life, so I went on from there.
After doing all that research, which I did at a very young age – I only started in 1973 – I began to work out what kinds of jazz arrangements I liked to play. And then I started to study it and I became aware of this jazz tradition and how I loved it, and of course at the beginning I was looking at jazz because I love music, but I also enjoyed playing music and I did everything I could
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