Violin Masterclass – Review of Itzhak Perlman Violin Classes

What if you could learn violin from the world's leading violin virtuoso? Now, thanks to an exciting new class from Masterclass, you can.

Today, we'll be talking about a masterclass taught by Itzhak Perlman, one of the world's leading violinists. This music course offers wisdom for players of all levels, and Itzhak's relaxed teaching style (coupled with interesting anecdotes from his storied career as a classical musician) makes this a course worth taking.

Itzhak Violin Masterclass Overview

Before we delve into the specifics of the class, we want to tell you a little bit about Itzhak Perlman, the master violinist who teaches the course. Itzhak performs worldwide for people who love classical music, and he's an instructor at Juilliard, one of the top music schools in the world. He also has been awarded both the National Medal of Arts and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Itzhak has won 15 Grammy awards, and until now, he hasn't offered his teaching to the public. However, in this class, he'll cover many of the fundamentals of being a great violinist. Here's the class trailer, where Itzhak talks a little about his teaching philosophy

This masterclass is unique in that it can be useful to violinists at every level. Even if you're new to the instrument, it can introduce you to some of what you need to know to eventually be a great violinist. And if you're an intermediate or experienced player, you can learn playing and performance techniques that will let you truly connect with an audience.

Things to Consider Before Signing Up for an Online Violin Class

Whether you want to take a violin masterclass or follow an online curriculum, choosing the right type of training is important. Here are a few things to ask yourself before you choose a violin course:

  • Do you need an in-depth curriculum? Some online violin classes are more like extended courses. If you're new to the violin, you may want to find a site that slowly takes you through the fundamentals of playing. A violin masterclass like this one can be very helpful, but for newer musicians, it's a good idea to do some more sustained training as well.
  • What's your experience level? Itzhak's class is designed to be beneficial for violin students of all levels. That said, you may be able to more readily apply some of the course concepts if you've been playing for a few years (or even more).
  • What genre do you prefer? Most online violin lessons, especially those designed for beginners, are more focused on the basics than on any type of genre specialization. Masterclasses like the one taught by Itzhak typically are more focused on a single genre -- Itzhak's course focuses on classical music.
  • What's your budget? As with all online classes for musicians, there's an online option for just about every budget. While courses on the Masterclass platform can seem expensive (since you have to purchase a site membership to join), that membership does allow you to take unlimited additional courses, which can be a plus.

Type

Course

Price

Violin

Itzhak Masterclass

Features and Benefits

Now, let's get into some of the most important features of this interesting course:

Course Structure

Itzhak's course is made up of 19 video lessons, and they total four hours and 13 minutes. Here's what you can expect:

  1. 1
    Introduction -- This lesson lets you get acquainted with Itzhak, who will also briefly explain his philosophy as a teacher. He'll explain how this class differs from other violin courses, and he'll also explain how teaching others can make you a better musician.
  2. 2
    The Bow -- Chances are that this is one of the most in-depth lessons on the bow out there. You'll learn about the mechanics of it, which is a vital part of understanding how the instrument works. You'll also learn about different bow holds, which can be important if you want to get into performing. Itzhak will cover speed and pressure when bowing, which can be a challenge to master, especially as a beginner.
  3. 3
    Advanced Bowing and Left-Hand Technique -- This section is valuable for students of all genres, even if classical music isn't your focus. Itzhak goes into bowing skills for more advanced students. These include double-stops, playing in higher positions, and harmonics.
  4. 4
    Intonation -- Tuning a violin is often more difficult than tuning another instrument like a guitar. In this section, Itzhak will walk you through being able to recognize sharps or flats by ear. He'll also offer some tips for tuning with another musician.
  5. 5
    Vibrato -- Learning vibrato (and when to use it) is a great way to add feeling to your music. In this lesson, Itzhak will take you through developing vibrato and knowing how to apply it to a solo or a different violin piece.
  6. 6
    Comfort and Posture -- Newer students don't always realize that playing the violin can lead to injury. In this section, Itzhak will help you develop proper posture and reduce your injury risk.
  7. 7
    Color and Tone -- If you want to develop your own signature sound while performing, this section will help you find it. Itzhak will help you use dynamics, shifting, and different bowing techniques to develop your own musical style.
  8. 8
    The Color Game -- This lesson is a departure from many of the previous lessons. You'll get to watch Itzhak and some of his students play a game -- they work on changing an audience's view of a classical piece. They do this by adding different types of musical color while performing a handful of different pieces.
  9. 9
    Playing Different Styles -- The difference between different styles of classical music can be subtle, but if you want to improve your performing, it's a good distinction to be able to make. In this section, you can watch Itzhak play pieces in baroque, classical, and romantic styles.
  10. 10
    The Performance Mindset -- Playing for a live audience is a unique experience that can be challenging, especially if you haven't done it before. In this section, you'll learn how to combat anxiety, and Itzhak will share some of his tips for getting focused before playing music live.
  11. 11
    Practice Essentials -- Whether you play the violin, piano, or another instrument, the right type of practice is one of the most important things if you want to improve. In this section, Itzhak will go through some techniques you can use to get the most out of your music practice sessions.
  12. 12
    The Three-Hour Practice Schedule -- One of the first things to do if you're just starting out is finding a practice schedule that works for you. In this section, Itzhak will share his own practice schedule and help you find the right one for you.
  13. 13
    Memorization and Practice: Student Q&A -- In this section, you'll see some of Itzhak's Juilliard students again. They'll share some tips on memorizing different pieces of music. This may not be a skill everyone needs, but if you want to play for an audience, it can help.
  14. 14
    Collaboration -- Playing music with other people can be an incredible experience, but collaboration doesn't come easily to everyone. In this section, you'll learn how to work with an orchestra or a conductor.
  15. 15
    A Career in Music -- You may find that you want to pursue a career as a musician. If you do, this lesson will likely be very helpful. Itzhak has been a professional violinist for almost all of his adult life, and he can help you understand how to navigate the music world as a player.
  16. 16
    Overcoming Barriers -- Even the greatest violinists find barriers at some point in their careers. In this section, Itzhak will help you discover ways to overcome any barriers you may face in your music progress.
  17. 17
    Parting Thoughts -- In this section, Itzhak will offer some final advice for learning the instrument and wish you luck.
  18. 18
    Bonus Chapter: For Parents and Teachers -- If you're a music teacher or the parent of a young violinist, this section can help you discover ways to help players develop their talent as they learn the instrument.
  19. 19
    Bonus Chapter: Acquiring a Fine Instrument -- If you're very serious about violin, you'll probably want to find a high-quality instrument. In this section, you'll get to see Itzhak's Soil Stradivarius violin from 1714 -- one of the best violins in the world. He'll also offer some guidance if you want to take your music to the next level by purchasing an excellent instrument.

If you want to see some of the valuable skills you can glean from Itzhak's violin masterclass, check out this helpful video made by a violin teacher.

Overall, we think this course strikes a good balance between the philosophy of playing and technical skills. Many classes on the Masterclass platform are similar, and they offer a break from most online music courses, which focus primarily on technique.

Pricing and Membership Options

As you may already know, Masterclass is a different platform than most. With a single yearly payment, you get access to classes taught by experts in their field. You can take courses in business, music, writing, sports, photography, cooking, gardening, and more. (If you want to see what the site has to offer, check out this promotional video.)

However, the site doesn't really offer too many payment options. While it often advertises its rate as $15/month, this is a little deceptive. You don't have the option to pay monthly, and an annual membership is $180 per year, paid once.

You may notice that older reviews of classes on the site mention that you have the option to purchase a one-time pass for one class for $90. However, this is no longer the case.

Masterclass does offer some helpful features for learning. You can download videos to watch offline, and the platform works on computers, tablets, and smartphones. You also can download the course workbook, which offers an incredible amount of guidance. It also lists resources for musicians.

The membership fee is a little steep, but if you can afford it, we think it offers great value. You can take as many courses as you like, and it's a great opportunity to expand your knowledge of the world and dig into your passions.

Social Proof of the Course

This violin masterclass is a great opportunity, but if you're like most musicians, you likely want to see what past students have thought about this class. We found mostly positive reviews in the course of our research. Here are some helpful ones:

Violin Masterclass Itzhak Review 01

This review snapshot comes from CMUSE. It points out something especially helpful if you're a musician considering the class -- you get tips and anecdotes from Itzhak, and you'll also get to hear from some of his students.

Violin Masterclass Itzhak Review 02

This snapshot comes from Education Speaks. We think it's helpful because it offers some insight into the course workbook. Each class on the Masterclass platform comes with one of these, and the book for Itzhak's course is very comprehensive.

Violin Masterclass Itzhak Review 03

This last review snapshot is from Violin Lounge. It offers some helpful advice for taking the course -- even if you're a beginner, you can go back and revisit elements of the course that you want to work on.

In Conclusion

After taking a closer look at this class, we can confidently say that we recommend it for just about every violin student. You get to learn from one of the world's top violinists, and there's something for students of every ability -- even if you're new to the instrument. If you're ready to take your playing to the next level, check out Itzhak Perlman's masterclass today!

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