I'm a new player with an ambitious project ahead of me, and I'm looking for a Theremin teacher ASAP in the Pacific Northwest area, preferably as close as possible to Vancouver, BC, Canada (where I live).
If anyone can point me in the right direction, I'd be grateful!
The theremin is unlike traditional instruments in that there is no established method of playing it. If you wanted to learn the cello or the concert harp, just about anyone who has been playing for a year or two could show you the basics. Not so with the theremin. Most thereminists are self-taught and no two play alike.
One of the problems this has created is that with no competent teacher to oversee their progress, many budding newbies have unwittingly developed habits that later interfere with their ability to advance. This can be very discouraging and is one of the reasons why the dropout rate is so high among thereminists. While there is no "right" way or "wrong" way to play, there are approaches that will help you get where you want to go and others that will hinder you.
You say you have an "ambitious project" ahead, so you already seem to have very specific ideas about where you want to go and what you want to do with the theremin. This is good. The great theremin virtuoso, Clara Rockmore, once said, "The most important thing for any newcomer to the theremin is to know, before starting out, exactly where he or she wants to end up."
Do you have a theremin? If so, what sort of theremin is it? Do you play another instrument? What sort of music do you want to play? If you are into the avant garde or experimental genres (as opposed to more traditional kinds of music) this could have a bearing on the kind of theremin you should play and how you should approach it from the point of view of technique. Is it by any chance your intention to compose for the instrument?
CARDINAL RULE: Never take any advice on how to play the theremin from anyone whose theremin playing you have not heard or do not enjoy. Theremin playing is like religion - EVERYBODY IS RIGHT - including those who fundamentally disagree with one another! LOL
I'm finally getting back to the forum -- I had applied for an artist grant for the project, and just found out that I got it, so here we go!
I am primarily a vocalist/guitarist/singer-songwriter. I am going to be doing a songwriting project involving the Theremin, and I mostly want to be able to play melodies accurately.
Anyway, I just have a million questions that I'm trying to answer via the internet and there's so much to wade through, so I thought it would be nice to find a teacher to just show me some basics.
So if anyone knows anyone in Vancouver/Seattle/Portland (even San Fran!) who teaches, let me know. I realize it's very individual, but I feel like an in-person lesson would still be useful.
I think the best approach to a teacher has been mentioned above. I have Thomas Grillo bookmarked. I have been working with theremins for 10 years daily and live in So. Calif and have never met another Thereminist.
I will soon have a student or two with high levels of classical musicianship for my next project. I believe with a well designed theremin someone with good pitch hearing and musical skill can become a reasonable Thereminist in a short period of time. The teacher I use will be internet resources, the instrument of choice is an enigma.
Along with TW and YouTube don't count out Thomas. Even the critiques around here have something good to say once in a while.
Coalport: "Never take any advice on how to play the theremin from anyone whose theremin playing you have not heard or do not enjoy. Theremin playing is like religion"
I say the same thing above about the theremin instrument of choice.
Theremin playing does use slight of hand with a little magic. (-'
I looked when I started playing 2 years ago, with no luck. I live in portland, and there are a fair number of people who play the theremin comparatively, but none, that Ive seen at least, are technically good enough to be qualified to teach classically.