Joshua Bell came in to the studio and we put your violin questions to him

7 September 2015, 12:53

When the superstar violinist popped in to our studio, we couldn’t let the opportunity go by without asking him to tackle some of your trickier violin questions. From how to encourage children to practise to improving the sound of your double-stopping: here are six pieces of advice from one of the world's greatest violin virtuosos.

Joshua Bell is one of the greatest violinists alive today, his name is recognised the world-over – he’s even made an appearance on Sesame Street. And what's more, he's Classic FM's Artist in Residence, along with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, where he's music director.

We were given access to one of the group's rehearsals and filmed a run-through of part of Piazzolla's The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires:

Spring in Buenos Aires - rehearsal

Our amazing Artists in Residence, Joshua Bell and the Academy of St Martin in the Fields are taking to the stage in London on 11th Nov playing Prokofiev, Tchaikovsky & Mozart: couple months ago they popped into Classic FM for a rehearsal of their summer tour - this is Piazzolla's The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires. Just stunning.

Posted by Classic FM on Monday, 26 October 2015


And while he was in the studio, we knew we just had to put your questions to him. Here are the six questions he tackled.

How do you keep youngsters interested in practising when it’s mostly about scales?

Nancy Foster wrote to Joshua saying: “My daughter is 12 and she has been playing the violin for 5 years now. What advice do you have for a pre-teen to keep motivation?”

This was what Joshua suggested:

Joshua Bell Q&A practising with children

Joshua Bell on encouraging young children to practise



How do you get a great sound when double stopping?

Beth got in touch to ask: “Hi Joshua, do you have any tips for double stopping and getting a “clean” sound?”

Here were his tips (complete with a some rather impressive Bach as a demonstration).

Joshu Bell on sound and double stopping

Joshua Bell plays Bach


Which is the most difficult violin concerto?

Wayne Brown got in touch to ask “Which is your favourite violin concerto? And which is the most difficult to perform?”

Here’s what Joshua had to say:

Joshua Bell on the most difficult concertos

Joshua Bell talks about the most difficult violin concertos



How important is the bow?

Via Facebook, Laureen Di Bisceglie asked: “How many bows do you have and do you have a preference of one over another?”

Joshua said…

Joshua Bell on the bow

Joshua Bell talks about the importance of a good bow



How do you make the most of limited practice time?

Rachel Thomas sent in this question: “I am starting my first year of college in the autumn, where I’ll be majoring in zoology and minoring in violin performance. I want to use my limited practise time wisely. Can you please give me some advice?”

And Joshua obliged:

Joshua Bell on practising

Joshua Bell on how to make the most of your practise sessions



Is a Stradivarius violin necessary for a great sound?

On this very page, James Kellinger posted this question: “Is a Strad necessary to your sound? What was it like the first time you played a Strad?”

Here’s what Joshua said (while holding his own Stradivarius. Altogether now: oooooh):

Joshua Bell on his Stradivarius

Joshua Bell on his Stradivarius


Joshua Bell is Artist in Residence, along with the Academy of St Marin in the Fields. He’ll be presenting a special series to be broadcast on Classic FM later in the year – watch this space for more details nearer the time.

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