When to start taking lessons/workshops?

Posted: 5/20/2008 7:34:14 PM

From: Graz, Austria (Europe, (almost) no kangaroos)

Joined: 5/7/2008

I wonder....

I have only been into fooling around the Theremin for what amounts to some hours.

But doing internet research I found out that I am in no bad (geographical) position to be able to actually receive some teachings by professionals.

One is the upcoming festival in Lippstadt (http://www.thereminworld.com/news.asp?s=720) which is very interesting for the workshops and of course becuse half of you guys will be there but on the other hand would be a trip through almost half of Europe for me.

The other is that apparently Pamelia Kurstin is living in Vienna (quite close) and offers Theremin lessons (http://www.angelfire.com/freak/pamelia_kurstin/lessons.htm), (plus a haircut which I keep being told I could use as well).

So my question is I guess: how to determine the point when makes sense to start taking lessons or participate in a workshop - without just boring the teacher or being under- or overwhelmed by what a workshop offers?

(( PS: I am quite aware that the obvious answer is that a good teacher can teach anyone - and anyone can learn from a good teacher.
But since attending a lesson will in any case mean a significant investment timewise, energy-wise, financially etc. I would like to catch a good moment where 'wasting' of either of these (for lack of a better term) investments is kept at a minimum for all participating. ))
Posted: 5/21/2008 2:26:05 AM

From: Colmar, France

Joined: 12/31/2007

I think that coming to Lippstadt, partaking in one or more of the beginners workshops on one side and seeing/hearing lots of other thereminists on the other side will be a very motivating experience.

If you had already musical teachings on another instrument, if you are familiar with reading scores and hearing pitch issues, you might start with self-study. The theremin method written by Carolina Eyck exists in a German version (ok, you are Austrian, but let me say that it seems to be almost the same language :-p ) and may be ordered by internet for about 25 EUR. After having worked it through (which will take at least some months if you do it seriously) it will make more sense to contact one of the professionals in order to get supplementary teachings.

Best regards to the Alps from the Vosges mountains.
Posted: 5/21/2008 5:17:25 AM

From: Croxley Green, Hertfordshire, UK

Joined: 10/5/2005

Yes! Go to the festival.

We had one near where I live last year (Hands Off) and it was fantastic (if I say so myself.) Every one of the 50 attendees was glad that they went and got a lot out of the experience.

There was a really diverse mix of theremin enthusiasts; builders, beginners and experts in a wide range of musical genres and they all got on like old friends from the get-go.

Lippstadt has a very similar mix as Hands Off - Lydia, Barbara, Carolina and Wilco were at that too, there are at least three theremin builders very interested in going that I know of (and if Lydia takes her family along again that will make four) and judging by the feedback I'm seeing from the organiser and on myspace the attendance is going to be excellent. (I'm doing the myspace publicity - if you're on myspace please add the festival as a friend - http://myspace.com/withouttouch. Thank you.)

With respect to taking private tuition. Yes, that's a good thing too. Pamelia is a real character - this comes across on her website and myspace profiles, but as with any theremin tutor your decision should be based on her musical style - it should ideally be close to what you hope to achieve. In Pamelia's case I suggest visiting her [i]other[/i] myspace site too (i think you dropped this on the floor... (http://www.myspace.com/ithinkyoudroppedthisonthefloor)) which houses some of her earlier, more accessible work (check out "luschhhhhhh livelihood".)
Posted: 5/21/2008 7:35:54 AM

From: Bristol, United Kingdom

Joined: 12/30/2006

Tuition is a funny thing. It depends on whether or not that's how you work to begin with.

Most Thereminists are self-taught to a large degree. I've always suspected tuition (as the sole guidance, understand) of being a bit of a red herring when it comes to the Theremin. Some will argue that it is an intensely specific instrument to master, this is something I disagree with.

To me, the Theremin is more a point at which your personal and musical strengths come into play, as opposed to one where you develop them. There is more to gain from taking what you learn in singing, violin or piano tuition to the Theremin than there is being stood there, learning how to play it. It is an intuitive instrument, therefore you should be aiming to develop your musical intuition to the point that you feel you can do yourself justice with it.

In many ways the Theremin relies on a lot of things that can be learned but never taught.
Posted: 5/21/2008 4:33:13 PM
Charlie D

From: England

Joined: 2/28/2005

A while ago I would have agreed with Alexander, but the chance to 'teach yourself' that the experience of tuition provides is unrivaled. Just meeting other thereminists (as you would in Lippstadt) and discussing technique may well lead to personal revelation... but it will be just that. It has to be personal. You have to bring out the thereminist for yourself.
Posted: 5/23/2008 6:42:24 AM

From: Bristol, United Kingdom

Joined: 12/30/2006

[i]A while ago I would have agreed with Alexander[/i]

Liar! You've always been Charlie Charlie quite Con... trarly.
Posted: 5/23/2008 8:11:44 AM
Brian R

From: Somerville, MA

Joined: 10/7/2005

Ooh! Like, [i]gnarly[/i].

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