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In this segment taken from his interview with tonebase Violin, David Kim shares insights into what makes the Philadelphia Orchestra have such a big and powerful sound.

This wide-ranging interview covers a variety of topics including posture, having weight in your playing, and creating individuality while blending with the rest of the orchestra.


How does David bring out the full sound from his section?

He thinks a lot has to do with his playing posture. He wants to bring out the weight or mass in his playing by sitting comfortably, all the way back in his chair, and with his feet planted firmly in front of him.

He also wants to avoid using too much bow but instead have a stickiness between his bow and strings. This stickiness brings out the density in his sound, the massive sound of his section, and the Philadelphia Orchestra.

Communicating with Your Section

In an orchestral setting, a lot of communication can be non-verbal gestures that the highly trained musicians of the Philadelphia Orchestra would notice and understand.

Being the concertmaster, David Kim does make his suggestions but is non-confrontational or present in a way that doesn't single anyone out.

Blending Your Sound

You have to trust your individuality is inevitably going to come out. However, when playing in an orchestra or with other musicians, you have to blend your sound with others.

There are solo opportunities to showcase your individuality as a player, but your playing should mesh well and compliment the music.

When a solo opportunity is present, David learns what the conductor wants to hear so he can execute and contribute to a larger musical vision.

The Importance of Listening

To be a member of a great orchestra, you need to have a particular set of musicianship skills.

One of the most important is your ability to listen and make quick adjustments in terms of density, volume, timing, intonation, etc. So much can begin to go wrong if you stop listening.

Want to see more from this 35-minute interview? David Kim's lessons are now available on tonebase Violin.

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Dave McLellan

Concert & Chamber Musician

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