Nancy Zhou

T E A C H I N G

As a violinist, one strives to be a musician. As a musician, one strives to be an artist. And what of, "as a human being, one strives to be a violinist"? This last thought is one that I have been mulling over during most of 2020, a year in which we bore the brunt of standstill, reshuffling, turbulence. That which we cherish has hopefully all but emboldened - the tonic of music & art continues to reinvigorate and uplift; to strengthen and extend a compassionate embrace.

The impact of this form of creativity and imagination is beautifully resounding. To be able to exercise creativity and imagination with the violin is a privilege, one that I have gradually felt obligated to share with individuals who are in search of their own solace, comfort, and self-realization, channeled through music. To this end, my teaching approach is rooted in a mindful, three-way connection between: 1) the body, our one and only arsenal for realizing our artistic essence; 2) our mind, the residence of our artistic essence; and 3) the violin - the intermediary between body and mind which, in itself, is a construction marrying concepts of physics and biomechanics. 

 

The question of how to transition from human being to violinist and then to musician prompts us to acutely experience and learn about our own body. The body is the other "instrument" that must feel at one with the violin - just as the bow is commonly known as an extension of the arm, the violin is an extension of the heart (literally and figuratively!), protected by the torso. To make music that speaks for the inner crevices of our soul, we must make intimate acquaintance with our physicality and learn how to actually execute our creative intentions in the most ergonomic and mindful way. Quality of movement directly relates to quality of sound. This is to me the essence of embodying the music.

At the heart of my approach is what the visionary Demetrius Constantine Dounis termed expressive technique - we as learners strive to minimize technical limitations to achieve, ideally, inexhaustible expressive potential. The path guided by this principle is endless, and there is certainly no perfection. However, it is the journey that impacts. The journey is a meditative and fruitful one - in a time where pure technical control is at times blindly exalted, technique in the service of limitless expression shines curiously bright.

 

From my father, who guided me during my youth up until my collegiate years, to cherished pedagogues at the New England Conservatory and to such beloved mentors as David Nadien, Weigang Li, Anne-Sophie Mutter, and Augustin Dumay, my journey consistently unfolds with fresh insights and experimentation. Day by day, art and science interweave, and the mind and body grow lovingly closer. In turn, my inspirations- my students- have prompted me to construct a customized and methodical system of fundamental exercises, scales, and etudes that helps recalibrate their body and explores the cognitive aspect of their distinct physical habits. As such, there are no strict rules. There is only mindful training and application. Broadening individual expression is the ultimate goal; while repertoire is indeed the ultimate application, my approach underscores the mutual dependence between technique and expression - the art of technique and the technique of art. I look forward to welcoming others on a path towards self-discovery, evaluation, and acceptance.

Technique to me is a mental and not a manual thing. [It] is dependent on the state of the artist's nervous system. Yet it is the one and only kind of technique that can completely express the musician's every instinct, wish and emotion.

"

Fritz Kreisler

A PERSONAL NOTE

Nancy Zhou violin lessons

As a violinist, one strives to be a musician. As a musician, one strives to be an artist. And what of, "as a human being, one strives to be a violinist"? This last thought is one that I have been mulling over during most of 2020, a year in which we bore the brunt of standstill, reshuffling, turbulence. That which we cherish has hopefully all but emboldened - the tonic of music & art continues to reinvigorate and uplift; to strengthen and extend a compassionate embrace.

The impact of this form of creativity and imagination is beautifully resounding. To be able to exercise creativity and imagination with the violin is a privilege, one that I have gradually felt obligated to 

Nancy Zhou violin lessons

share with individuals who are in search of their own solace, comfort, and self-realization, channeled through music. To this end, my teaching approach is rooted in a mindful, three-way connection between: 1) the body, our one and only arsenal for realizing our artistic essence; 2) our mind, the residence of our artistic essence; and 3) the violin - the intermediary between body and mind which, in itself, is a construction marrying concepts of physics and biomechanics. 

 

The question of how to transition from human being to violinist and then to musician prompts us to acutely experience and learn about our own body. The body is the other "instrument" that must feel at one with the violin - just as the 

Nancy Zhou violin lessons

bow is commonly known as an extension of the arm, the violin is an extension of the heart (literally and figuratively!), protected by the torso. To make music that speaks for the inner crevices of our soul, we must make intimate acquaintance with our physicality and learn how to actually execute our creative intentions in the most ergonomic and mindful way. Quality of movement directly relates to quality of sound. This is to me the essence of embodying the music.

At the heart of my approach is what the visionary Demetrius Constantine Dounis termed expressive technique - we as learners strive to minimize technical limitations to achieve, ideally, inexhaustible expressive potential. The path guided by this principle is endless, and there is certainly no perfection. However, it is the journey that impacts. The journey is a meditative and fruitful one - in a time where pure technical control is at times blindly exalted, technique in the service of limitless expression shines curiously bright.

 

From my father, who guided me during my youth up until my collegiate years, to cherished pedagogues at the New England Conservatory and to such beloved mentors as David Nadien, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Weigang Li, and Augustin Dumay, my journey consistently unfolds with fresh insights and experimentation. Day by day, art and science interweave, and the mind and body grow lovingly closer. In turn, my inspirations- my students- have prompted me to construct a customized and methodical system of fundamental exercises, scales, and etudes that helps recalibrate their body and explores the cognitive aspect of their distinct physical habits. As such, there are no strict rules. There is only mindful training and application. Broadening individual expression is the ultimate goal and while repertoire is indeed the ultimate application, my approach underscores the mutual dependence between technique and expression - the art of technique and the technique of art. I look forward to welcoming others on this path towards self-discovery, evaluation, and acceptance.

NANCY

Solo engagements aside, Nancy also devotes time to her select, private studio and conducts an ongoing series of group classes, hosted by the Texas Strings Festival. In each episode of the series, Nancy explores a specific facet of violin playing, facilitated by select exercises and methods of practicing. 

 

All classes and private lessons are held online due to COVID-19. In-person lessons will be conducted upon changing contingencies.

*For further inquiries about private lessons, please use the contact form on this website. 

*For more information on group classes:

From Episode 2 of group class series hosted by TSF.

MASTERCLASS SERIES
Nancy Zhou violin lessons

October 31, 2020

 

Episode 1 

TARGETS:

  • Balanced hand frame

  • Finger independence / dexterity

  • Variety in bow articulation

  • Methods to relieve tension

November 28, 2020

 

Episode 2

TARGETS:

  • Fluidity in shifting - short and long distanced shifts

  • Navigating in thirds

  • Collé and its variant

Nancy Zhou violin lessons

January 23, 2020

 

Episode 3 

TARGETS:

  • In this class we will explore critical factors that determine quality of tone production.

  • Exploring exercises that help with achieving both a basic, high-quality tone and nuances in tone.

PROJECTS