Internationally acclaimed viol teacher and performer, Alison Crum, gave a masterclass for conservatoire and university students at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in November, as part of the Greenwich Early Music Festival.
Celebrated for her sensitive and expressive playing, Alison is one of Britain's most active promoters of the viol and travels all over the world giving recitals, lectures and workshops. As well as being President of the Viola da Gamba Society of Great Britain and fulfilling her teaching commitments as Professor of Viol at Trinity Laban, Alison has made over 90 recordings and directs many courses for viol players from all over the world, including the International Viol Summer School.
Alison also gives beginner sessions in viol playing, which are open to those who have had no previous experience. She really enjoys teaching complete beginners, and hopes this helps them to get started with good habits!
Alison said: "I enjoy teaching masterclasses because I think people can learn such a lot by listening to other people play. They have a chance to hear what a difference a small change of technique or phrasing can make to the music. For the player, they have a chance to perform informally and then are challenged to make a few changes on the spot and in public. Hopefully they take away a few vital points to remember which, perhaps, they might not have heard before.
"For myself, I like the chance to work with people whom I may not have taught before, for example players from other colleges, and enjoy the challenge of making my points relevant to an audience of players of all levels and to non-players, while still being very useful and specific to the performer."
To students starting out in the world of music performance, she
gives the following advice: "You need to be realistic about how
hard it will be to find work, and be willing to do other
things too, as that will most likely be necessary, particularly at first. But it is also essential to be reliable: for example about answering messages, turning up on time and not losing music."
Alison got her first viol while reading music at Reading University, and went on to study it with Wieland Kuijken in Brussels, and later, with Jordi Savall in Basle. She has published two books: "Play the Viol" and "The Viol Rules".
For more information: www.alisoncrum.co.uk