About the Royal Sequence Project
What is the Royal Sequence Project?
Royal Sequence is a series of six CDs ranging from Introductory Violin to Grade 5. The entire program provides complimentary material for Conservatory of Music Violin Repertoire Books. This CD set introduces shorter works of various composers, as reflected in the violin performances of Tatiana Kostour, combined with the piano performances of four uniquely talented colleagues.
How will students, teachers and parents will benefit from the Royal Sequence violin CDs and learning program?
Listen for fun. Younger children find it difficult to listen to long and serious music compositions, just as they cannot read Shakespeare, Nietzsche or Dostoyevsky at their current level of development. So the shorter pieces of music are perfect for them.
It is very important for students to learn music that they enjoy. They will make much better progress, and they will practice more readily and enthusiastically! If we are strongly motivated to do something, whatever the field, we can do it and nothing will stop us. The same is true of the music learning process. If students hear and want to play a certain piece of music, then they will practice and the teaching and learning process becomes very efficient.
Students will progress faster by having these 'musical tools' for learning. It will make the learning process much more enjoyable, and will give them an incentive to practice. The learning experience will be more enjoyable, easier, happier, and healthier for everyone concerned: students, parents and teachers.
Listen for education and skill development. The ability to listen carefully is a crucial element of a student's musical education. It helps develop an aesthetic taste for music. It fosters the ability to master matching music notation with the sounds they hear and reproducing the unique sounds of their instrument.
We encourage you to have your children learn music. It is the best possible food for their minds and souls. Playing the violin or any other instrument requires multi-tasking. It is hard to be in control of so many things at the same time. But we can learn by taking one task, then adding another, and then combining them. The more and more we practice, the more we become experts. Learning to play a musical instrument is very beneficial in the overall education of our children. This is one of the most important aspects of our development as a society, and of our human community.
Listen for creativity. Music makes you think, music touches your heart, music heals, music makes you dance, and music moves you. When you listen to music; you live it, play it, express it, allow it to touch your heart, and let it transport you into a wonderful imaginary world. When you listen to it, you can create your own picture, your own paintings of the music in your imagination. Music is a piece of art, a movie, cartoons, a drama, a story, even an adventure.
So create your own adventure, paint your picture with the sound of music. Give this creative food to your children. Teach them to listen, and ask them: what do you hear?, what do you see?, what can you tell us about the music? Do you see a bird, a dinosaur walking, or a little girl strolling down the street? Do you see how a train is rumbling down the railway tracks, coming closer and closer, and then… it’s gone? You can hear it yourself; if you listen and imagine. This world needs more and more people making beautiful music. So listen to the music, and teach your children to listen with an open heart and mind.
What do students learn by listening to the CDs?
If a child is learning to play violin by listening to these CDs they will hear the complete instrumentation of the composition. They will hear the violin melody within its harmonic context and this will give them a proper understanding of the entire composition from the very beginning. Often, violin students start by learning only the violin line, and they only develop their own understanding of the harmony, overtones, character and style of the piece. After a first rehearsal with a piano accompanist, they realize that they heard something completely different. The opportunity to listen and play with accompaniment, as presented in these CDs, is critical to learning and playing better.
How will this help students learn and play better?
In addition to a better comprehension of harmony, students using this method can also improve their understanding of rhythm, correct notes, style, and character, as they gain insights into specific interpretations of various works. This will prevent them from learning in the wrong fashion, help eliminate various mistakes that force them to repeat the works they are playing, and thus save them a great deal of practice time. It will dramatically speed up the learning process. We do not allow students to play a wrong note, do bowing in the wrong way, and play with the wrong rhythm the first time they are playing a piece. Why? Because we have auditory memory and physical memory, in addition to the memory of our mind. The more you repeat something in the wrong way, the deeper it becomes embedded in your muscle and auditory memory. Everything is connected. So use a slower tempo when you are sight reading music, use a metronome to figure out the rhythm, take your time at first, and do not allow mistakes to be made. Then you will enjoy the process of learning and creating beautiful music.
How will this help my child become a better person?
If children are playing the violin, and listening to classical violin and piano recordings this will make our future generations more sensitive, kinder, loving, open to the expression of their own creativity. It will provide them with better insights into different composers, the language of music, communication through music, and allow them to visualize the title that a composer gave to the music. This process helps to develop children’s imagination, creativity, multitasking abilities, helps them connect to their inner self, their spiritual existence as human beings. Children are very expressive by nature, and they are very pure and healthy in the way they express themselves. Thus it is extremely important for them to be connected, physically and spiritually, to their performance, to work at controlling their mind and how they allow their emotions to be expressed. They will become more in touch with themselves and their expression of who they are in the world.
What is meant by 'Interpretation of Music', why is it important and how is it learned?
Slow, fast, sarcastic, dramatic, beautiful, natural, romantic… all of these features and emotions can be expressed with our instrument: the violin and bow. It is a truly beautiful and expressive instrument: The Queen of the Orchestra.
How can you best take this beautiful, curved wood instrument into your hands and connect it to your heart, to your soul? When the student masters the technical challenges of holding the violin properly, playing clean notes and playing in tune, then the beautiful process of making music begins. We start to tell the story through notes, and we paint pictures with different harmonic strokes or expressive lines of melody. Only then does the music become real.
Learning to master the instrument and the correct settings for the right and left hands are very important to ensure the beautiful expression of a musical work. The right hand draws the sound, which can be likened to the colorful strokes on the canvas of a picture that we paint at the time of performance.
We learn what muscles should hold the bow, what muscles should relax, how to lift the bow, how to rest the bow, how to pull it over the string, and how much weight to put on it with our hand to produce a richer sound. We also learn how to support the bow so that it is light on the string, creating a tender expression of beautiful melodic lines. Equally important is setting up the left hand for a healthy and comfortable position to play in tune.
Royal Sequence CDs provide this experience through the interpretation of each piece of music, as performed through the hands, hearts and minds of Tatiana Kostour and four uniquely talented pianist colleagues. Each performer has her own distinct way of interpreting the works of even the best-known composers. Students too, will eventually perform these and other musical works in their own unique fashion, just as all musicians have their own style and method of interpretation.
What kinds of music will students be learning?
Our compilation includes unique and recently published compositions of 20th century composers such as David Duke, George Fiala, Jean Ethridge, Jean Coulthard, Richard Bennet, etc. In this, collection we present you with our understanding and interpretation of these works.
The Royal Sequence CDs use progressive material; works from different periods and written in different styles, or with different kinds of technical challenges. Also included are new pieces of music not known to teachers and students, which will broaden their repertoire, knowledge of the world of music, of different methodologies, and will help them determine the kind of music they prefer. Works they may initially dislike may later prove to be unique and very interesting compositions that they will truly enjoy. Both students and teachers will learn about this new music from a variety of countries. This variety will be of great interest to students, as well as teachers, who soon become bored if they have to teach the same pieces of music over and over.
Tatiana Kostour and Cheryl Duvall