The basic elements of virtuosity

May 31st, 2011

When I’m faced with a problem, I like to deconstruct it, reduce it to its simplest elements and start from there.

That’s what I did with the AOV.

Over years of teaching, I had identified the key components of virtuosity and had reduced them to a few basic principles.

These principles were later to become the basis of the AOV.

To me, these elements are so critical, it’s unthinkable that anyone would even try to achieve virtuosity without working on them.

An analogy can be drawn here with building a house.

The three most basic elements of a house are the foundation (or site), the walls and the roof.

It’s unthinkable for anyone to try to build a house without one or more of these basic elements.

And yet, I see students working on their techniques without any regard for rhythm (one of the key elements described in the AOV) or students contorting their hands and fingers to conform with certain rules, totally disregarding the basic element of looseness (another key element of the AOV). I could go on with the other elements but you get my point.

That’s like trying to build a house without a roof or walls or a foundation.

To me, the basic elements described in the AOV are as critical to virtuosity as a roof or walls or foundation are to a house.

That was my main motivation in writing the book, to draw attention to these basic but absolutely essential elements.

To go back to the analogy of building a house, once you have the basic elements in place, you can add the details, how many rooms you want, where the kitchen is going to go, and once those details are in place, you can add the final furnishings.

The same thing applies in working on virtuosity.

Once you have the basic elements in place (lightness, looseness, fluidity, economy, rhythm [all basic elements described in the AOV]), you can add all the details you want, such as specific technical skills and other refinements.

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