Talking with Justin Ouellet is always an inspiration. He radiates a love for music and music-making and is just naturally passionate about sharing all he’s learned, and handing off what’s been passed down to him over the years.
Justin traces his musical “lineage” from William Primrose to Karen Tuttle, Kim Kashkashian, and Dimitri Murrath, with some “special sauce” from master teachers Dorothy DeLay, and Ivan Galamian. “There’s so much that just gets passed on through lessons, that you don’t get to explore from a book. It’s something that you have to do physically.”
Justin focuses on helping violists find deeper levels of physical comfort in playing, and how both the right and left hands have to integrate their muscular assignments to get a great sound from the instrument, and to find the intrinsic musical meaning that comes from that sound. In the right hand, this is all about generating friction in the string and controlling the engine of sound production. Meanwhile, the left hand gains an intimate and reliable familiarity with the “roadmap” of the fingerboard. Of course, there’s also the issue of how to stay centered and comfortably aligned when playing this challenging instrument that forces the body into such odd compromises of posture.
But once these fundamental concepts get into your muscle memory you’ll be on your way to better sound and more expressive playing, and you’ll be closer to discovering – and conveying – your own distinct and unique musical personality.
AMN founder Lolly Lewis chats with Justin about the workshop in this preview video.