Z note before …

If one were fortunate enough to study with well known violinist and teacher,Raphael Bronstein, one heard many, many times during the lesson, “No, no, Z note! Z note! Z note before”!
As New York professionals, we used to laugh and tease each other with this well known quote from lessons with the master.
But what a difference this advice made in our playing!
When we became aware of exactly what Professor Bronstein was trying to do with such persistence, our performance changed dramatically for the better.

What is ‘Z note’?

  • ‘Z note before’ is first encountered in our shifting from one position to another. Because we are never exactly sure of where our finger will land in the new position, we tend to shorten the duration of the note before the shift
  • Professor Bronstein would insist that we consciously lengthen ‘Z note before’ ever so slightly or perhaps even accent ‘Z note’ with the bow. Increasing the left hand finger pressure on ‘Z note’ was another option that also helped. If we were able to really focus on ‘Z note before’,the shift magically became so much easier. We began to feel better, sound better, and even finally identify when we were ignoring ‘Z note’
  • We gradually became more sensitive to other examples of ‘Z note’. How about ‘Z note’ before the string crossing? ‘Z note’ before the bow change? ‘Z note’ before the sudden change in dynamics? ‘Z note’ before the dreaded fourth finger? These new possibilities all opened up more technical control and gave us increased ability to shape the musical phrase the way that we wanted.

‘Z note before’ … three very powerful words.Professor Bronstein’s simple formula continues to give us the ability to take control of our basic performance anxiety and create better music.

Listen to Z note before, share and enjoy!

Vivian Waters

Vivian Waters