American-born British Violinist and Conductor
Yehudi Menuhin, fully Sir Yehudi Menuhin, Baron Menuhin
American-born British Violinist and Conductor
Music is a therapy. It is a communication far more powerful than words, far more immediate, far more efficient.
The teacher offers guidance here and there, but the primary factor, the driving force, in your relationship and work together is the student's own commitment and desire to learn. Teaching is like sailing: The wind and the sails give the boat its motion. Your role (as a teacher) is to steer and guide.
What fascinated my imagination was the tremendous feat, which I felt I should be perfectly able to accomplish.
Music lives and breathes to tell us who we are and what we face. It is a path between ourselves and the infinite.
The violinist is that particularly human phenomenon distilled to a rare potency ? half tiger, half poet.
What guides us is children's response, their joy in learning to dance, to sing, to live together. It should be a guide to the whole world.
My childhood was remarkably free from the deforming effects of competition. The standards against which I measured my achievements were the highest, and the attempt was made in reverent awe, not in a desire to be acknowledged superior.
The violinist must possess the poet's gift of piercing the protective hide which grows on propagandists, stockbrokers and slave traders, to penetrate the deeper truth which lies within.
When I was a boy no one seemed to ask where the energies come from. Land, oil, coal, air seemed inexhaustible. Now we are realizing how our very life depends upon restoring not only our balance with nature, but also that balance within ourselves. We are depleting our reserves of spirit, health, courage and faith at an alarming rate. The quiet practice of yoga is, in its humble yet effective way, an antidote.
Obliged to find an apartment of their own, my parents searched the neighborhood and chose one within walking distance of the park. Showing them out after they had viewed it, the landlady said: "And you'll be glad to know I don't takeJews." Her mistake made clear to her, the anti-Semitic landlady was renounced, and another apartment found. But her blunder left its mark. Back on the street my mother made a vow. Her unborn baby would have a label proclaiming his race to the world. He would be called "The Jew" [Yehudi].
There are no rules in the service of God, and this itself is no rule.
Why is compassion not part of our established curriculum, an inherent part of our education? Compassion, awe, wonder, curiosity, exaltation, humility - these are the very foundation of any real civilization, no longer the prerogatives, the preserves of any one church, but belonging to everyone, every child in every school.
One cannot bargain with Bartok.
There comes a time when the student turns his back on the teacher. His playing cannot have the necessary security, autonomy, self-faith, or communicative power until he believes his interpretation is his own.
Yoga made its contribution to my quest to understand consciously the mechanics of violin playing.
One should feel in the right arm the vibration of the bow hair on the strings... The moment tension or hardness enters into the hand then of course the vibrations will not be felt- they cannot penetrate.
There is no affectation and hypocrisy in Mozart.
Yoga means union. Its goal is union with the infinite, a goal which can be reached by any number of routes; but just as there is one ending, so there is one beginning, the asanas of Hatha Yoga, which are the precondition of every advance. It would be possible to make yoga a life's occupation, giving up more and more of one's time to its refinement. For me yoga is primarily a yardstick to inner peace. In my life yoga is an aid to well-being, permitting me to do more and to do better.
Peace may sound simple - one beautiful word - but it requires everything we have, every quality, every strength, every dream, every high ideal.
There is no such thing as a difficult piece of music. A piece is either impossible or easy. The process whereby it migrates from one category to the other is known as PRACTICING.
Yoga taught me lessons it would have taken me years to learn by other means. Yoga was my compass.
It is absolutely vital to hold it as lightly as possible - rather as one might pick up a newborn bird... One should feel, in the right arm, the sensation of the bowhair on the strings... The moment tension or hardness enters... the vibrations will not be felt. [On the bow-hold]
Rhythm imposes unanimity upon the divergent, melody imposes continuity upon the disjointed, and harmony imposes compatibility upon the incongruous.
There were other gurus and other lessons, but not until I met Iyengar did I take up the study regularly. My first meeting with him was like the casting of a spell. We made each other's acquaintance in Mumbai. He appeared in my rooms one morning and straightaway made it clear that the "audition" to follow was mine as much as his. For all my celebrity, to him I was just another Western body knotted through and through.
It is music that welds spiritual and sensual, that can convey ecstasy free of guilt, faith without dogma, love as homage, and a person at home with nature and the infinite.