Your book Simplified Higher Technique has become essential for most schools globally. What are the objectives of this method, and what motivated you to publish it?
In 1967, at the beginning of my teaching career, I had a blind student. That was my motivation for writing this book. I started to elaborate a series of technical exercises that my student could play with minimum and systematised hand movement, avoiding useless displacements, and managing the positions on the instrument intelligently and rationally.
Everyone is impressed with your excellent projection of sound. What advice would you give to work on this?
The first thing is to be lucky enough to own a good instrument. From there, you have to find the proper relationship between the natural weight of your arm, your hand, and your bow, considering the bow — from an expressive point of view — as a mechanical continuation of the arm and hand, which are physical elements.
You are invited as a jury member in the most famous double bass competitions worldwide. What would you recommend to the double bass players preparing every day to compete?
I have been on the jury in many competitions, and those are some of the worst experiences of my life. It’s painful to judge so many good musicians, being forced in many cases to base your judgement on insignificant details between one and another. It’s like condemning someone to death for a trifle that sounds and might seem ridiculous. I understand those who reject competitions.
I recommend everyone to not worry about the jury. And to prepare their program at least two years in advance, in any place and on any occasion, even in places you would never have thought of playing or practising, like your parish hall.
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