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Arts & Entertainment


Itzhak Perlman

Lesson time 11:16 min

From communicating with a conductor to finding balance within an orchestra, Mr. Perlman shares how he collaborates with other musicians.

Itzhak Perlman
Teaches Violin
In his first-ever online class, virtuoso violin player Itzhak Perlman breaks down his techniques for improved practice and powerful performances.
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[MUSIC - HENRYK WIENIAWSKI, "SEVEN ETUDES- CAPRICES, OP. 18, IV. TEMPO DI SALTARELLA, MA NON TROPPO VIVO"] ITZHAK PERLMAN: Working with anybody, whether it's a conductor, with an orchestra, or playing in a chamber music and a quartet, you want to make sure that it gets together. First of all, you have to decide on the tempo. I'll show you an example. Can you play the beginning of the last moment of the Beethoven. Why don't you play it slightly slower than I take it? Don't listen to me. Just play it a little slower. OK? So I'll show you what it can sound like when pianists and violinists are not on the same page, so to speak, pun intended. [PLAYING SLIGHTLY OUT OF SYNC] See, that's a mess. You know? So that's what you work on. You can say to the collaborator, he says, you know something? It's not together. That's not the way to do it, you know? You don't just say, it's not together. You can say, you are dragging, you know? Or you can say, you are a little bit ahead of me. You have to be constructive as to what you do. So that's the kind of things that you do when you practice with a collaborative instrumentalist, is everything has got-- and especially when you play, as I said before, when you play a Beethoven sonata or a Mozart sonata or a Brahms sonata. It's a complete piece for two instruments. So that means that you have to absolutely be on the same page, be together. When it's time to-- when you take time, both of you have to take time in the same way, otherwise, it will not sound right. So a lot of these things, you have to do during rehearsal. Do you want to run the-- --just just before I start? PIANIST: Yes - Do you want to accelerate that way? [PLAYING PIANO] - Then it could be-- yeah. PIANIST: Yeah. - Bum, bum. Those staccatissimo. [PLAYING PIANO] ITZHAK PERLMAN: Other things, besides the timing, are things like balance. Is there too much piano? Is there too little piano? Sometimes, a violin has an accompanying figure. Is that accompanying figure too loud for the piano? And the other way around-- does the piano have an accompanying figure that is much louder than necessary, and so on. So you work on the balance. And you want to make sure that the phrasing is the same. ITZHAK PERLMAN: I am a firm believer that the relationship with the conductor should be an amicable one, not a confrontational one, and that you should work conductor with the conductor by-- if something doesn't go right for you-- there are certain conductors, not everybody has the same skill or the same tendency as an accompanist. There's some conductors that might be slightly behind, or there are some that might be slightly ahead, and so on and so forth. There's some that maybe conduct something that you feel the orchestra is too loud, and so on and so forth. I always tell my students, always be very, very respectful. And if something doesn't sound right, yo...

Play with passion

The world’s reigning virtuoso violin player, Itzhak Perlman performs for presidents, royals, and classical music lovers around the world. Now the beloved Juilliard instructor and 15-time Grammy Award winner brings his passion for teaching to a wide audience for the first time. Learn fundamental techniques, practice strategies, and how to add richness and depth to your sound. Give your most dynamic performance yet.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

Great Teacher! Hope to meet him some day. I have a lot of work to do, but It's so much fun. Thank you Mr P

awesome, it's amazing to watch a great talk about their tips for overcoming problems and taking on challenges.

I loved it! I was able to learn interesting new techniques and the teacher was very engaging. Thank you Mr. P!!!

Outstanding! Mr. P's enthusiasm is infectious. After this I am going to start studying an instrument. Thank you Mr. P. Thank you MasterClass.