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Miller-Porfiris Duo - teaching philosophy

Want to have us come to your school and give a masterclass/lecture?  Read  our teaching philosophy below:

The art of teaching string playing has changed very little over the last three centuries. Traditions of technique and musical interpretation are still handed down from generation to generation through the one-on-one master-student relationship. Violinist Anton Miller and violist Rita Porfiris' musical lineage on both sides can be traced to famed pedagogues Ivan Galamian, Leopold Auer, Ottkar Sevcik and the 19th century Hungarian violinist Joseph Joachim, collaborator and close friend of Johannes Brahms. As a result of this distinguished pedigree, the duo is dedicated to preserving traditional technical foundations and making the connection between an understanding of music and the relationship of technique to repertoire performance.


Young musicians must develop a sense of their own personality and artistic signature through a skillful grasp of differing technical, musical and expressive styles. A sense of perspective is gained through discussions of related art, music and historical events surrounding  current repertoire and technical goals. Students must also understand modern culture and trends and how they relate to the past.  From a mechanical standpoint, learning about the human body and how physical techniques relate to muscles as well as students'  own body shape helps ensure a long and injury-free career.


As we build on the lessons of the past centuries our goal is to form true ambassadors of music in the 21stcentury: physically and mentally healthy musicians, creative and innovative interpreters with a sense of perspective, teachers and contributing members of society.

Sample masterclass topics:

  • The Michelangelo approach to upper string playing: what you can “take away” from your technique

  • Expressionism vs. Violinism/Violism: untangling the tangled priorities

  • Discovering the expressive powers of the right and left hands

  • Musical rhythm and its physical realization

  • Finding the acoustic potential of the instrument

  • Basic Sevcik concepts for the left hand

  • Differing schools of violin bow styles

  • Legato: the only bow stroke you'll ever need

  • Galamian bow arm techniques and exercises

  • Techniques for better Bach

  • The Virtuoso Practicer: how to structure your practice time for maximum efficiency

  • After slow practice, what next? Steps to bridge the gap between slow practice and performance

  • Understanding the benefits of “Results vs. Procedure” oriented practicing

  • Effectively communicating

  • Managing performance fears and anxieties

  • Exploring the essence of musical artistry

  • Building a structure for interpretation

  • Reading music: eye to brain to ear to fingers.

  • The language of music from notes to phrases and character

  • Commissioning and learning new music using today's technology

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