Puya Aravand – Violin Teacher

B.A. Violin Performance, Manhattan School of Music

violin, lessons, classical musicI teach violin and have been playing for 23 years. I have always enjoyed classical music, but I didn’t fall in love until I saw Fantasia 2000 on TV as a kid. Since then, classical music has been an intrinsic part of my life. After graduating from high school, I was accepted to the studios of Patinka Kopec and Grigory Kalinovsky at the Manhattan School of Music, where I further honed my craft. It’s now my goal to impart the knowledge I’ve been given to the next generation of musicians.

When did you begin playing Violin, and why?
I began playing violin at 5 years old, mostly because my sister had already begun taking violin lessons. Originally, I wanted to learn the electric guitar, and I expressed that passion with frequent air guitar riffs, but my parents decided to put me on the path towards the violin, and I’m eternally grateful that they did.

What other instruments do you play, and what is your experience with them?
I play the viola as well. I have performed viola in several chamber groups and orchestras.

What are your personal goals as a musician?
To be able to perform with all my consciousness focused on the music.

 Do you have a memory of a time when a musical concept or technique really clicked? Something you’ll remember forever?
I was playing the crazy runs during the third movement of the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto when I realized that if I slightly adjusted to position of my left shoulder, almost everything physically taxing about the piece became much easier. This was my first introduction to the idea of the violin as an extension of one’s body instead of an external instrument that is being manipulated.

What is your favorite piece of advice from one of your past (or current) teachers?
You can have self-doubt and be as self-critical as you’d like, but there is no room for that during a performance.

The most important part of playing an instrument is the preparation. You should be ready for the next note before you reach it, but not at the expense of the note you’re on.

What was your most challenging moment learning an instrument?
For a long time I would end practice sessions with a lot of physical pain associated with improper technique. With the right guidance I was able to significantly mitigate these issues.

What is your biggest musical achievement?
My graduation recital from MSM, where I played Prokofiev F minor sonata, Bach, and Schumann.

Favorite thing about teaching?
Solving a technical or musical problem together with the student.

What is a piece of advice you would like to share with anyone learning music?
At the end of the day, you’re an artist, and you’re trying to create something beautiful.