Marc Destrubé maintains a private studio in Vancouver as well as regularly giving master classes and private lessons during his travels in North America and Europe.
He has given annual classes at international academies in Mateus (Portugal), Oberlin College and Vancouver. He has also been an invited teacher or given master classes at the Paris, Moscow and Utrecht Conservatoires, at Indiana University, Case Western University, the Banff Centre, the MacPhail School (Minneapolis), Oberlin College, the University of British Columbia and the University of Victoria.
He is on the faculty of the Berwick Academy at the Oregon Bach Festival, and Course Co-director (with Jacques Ogg) of the Twin Cities Baroque Instrumental Programme.
Some personal comments:
"Brando later explained that the most daunting aspect of playing Shakespeare was relying on the written text, since he had learned to search around and under words - in pauses, in gestures, in grunts and mumbles, even in silence - for a sense of truth."
-from an article in The New Yorker about the actor Marlon Brando
In my teaching I endeavour to help students search around and under the notes for the composers’ message, and to use this urge as a stimulus to expand their technical abilities.
“Something is happening, and I think. I'll find my way! Lessons at your house are a big deal for me, worth about 20-30 ordinary lessons. It may be with the way you take the long view, e.g. your comments about musician as actor, wearing a mask. Most teachers are caught up completely with the minutiae of technique. We all focus on technique ultimately, but doing it with the wrong mindset is counterproductive”.
I also emphasize the importance of good set-up, as I believe that using one’s body well, respecting its inherent structure, and understanding that the violin and bow are well-designed for use by humans, will make the mechanics of playing much simpler and speed up the learning process.
I have had considerable success (perhaps as a result of my medical-family background) in helping players with so-called playing injuries in restoring themselves and their playing to good health.
Some books I recommend:
- The Empty Space by Peter Brook
Although this is a book about the theatre, it is a book that every musician should read, as it addresses the idea that when interpreting a work (be it a play or a piece of music), we should start with an ‘empty space’, and only add to it what is necessary for an effective (and affective) performance.
- Zen in the Art of Archery by Eugen Herrigel
Written in the 1950’s, describes Herrigel’s (a German philosophy professor) struggles with learning the art of archery from a Zen master. Much of it is directly applicable to bowing technique, and the type of concentration described is that of optimal musicianship.
- Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke
Rilke’s moving and enlightening responses to a poet asking him for career advice. Should be read by every artist.
- The Violin Explained by Sir James Beament
A rather quirky description of the violin’s workings from a physical and acoustical point of view. Helps dissolve some of the mysteries of violin playing.
I intend to gradually expand this page to include some thoughts about playing and teaching and other resources for violinists and musicians. In the meantime some other comments from present and former students:
“It is incredibly rare to have the opportunity to study with an artist of such
depth as yourself, and even rarer that this artist would be such a superb
teacher. I feel that you respect each student very much and take care of
the individuality of all of us. You approach everyone differently, so
intuitively, and it seems that it's always about teaching and nothing else. I
find that extremely uncommon, and wonderful. After a few days of working
with you, I began to feel that there was always a kind of support behind
me as I learned, even on my own, and that I knew quite clearly what to
work on and why with the broader picture remaining in mind. You are very
demanding and very kind, you ask for risk and for fearlessness. And, to me,
you are exactly this kind of musician. I don't know of greater qualities in a
teacher. I very much hope to have the opportunity to learn from you again
in the future.”
“ - you have a way of describing things in a way that makes a lot of sense,
but doesn't seem at all dogmatical. It leaves me the right kind of room to
build on what you've told me when I work on stuff at home, which is of
course what I need to be doing in my practicing anyway.”
“I've been meaning to write for ages but so far have been unable to do so without either weeping or writing something that sounds like a love letter. I don't know quite how to tell you how much you changed my life when you were here. I've had a big chunk of my heart locked away for a long time and somehow the combination of seeing you care about what you're doing and being told to think for myself … brought it all back.”
I want to thank you again so much for meeting with me last week. I am so grateful to you for giving your time so generously. I WISH I could study with you regularly because I loved the lesson so much. It reminded me that it is possible for me to learn a lot and feel good about my playing at the same time, and I came out feeling that my goals were attainable (which is actually huge!)”
“Hey, it just occurred to me why that lesson you gave me a year and a half ago had such an enormous impact. I kept thinking that it was just you being so comfortable in your own skin but I think the thing that you actually showed me was that there was great satisfaction to be had in just doing the work, no matter one's current level of skill. I'd really lost track of that over the years.”
“I can't thank you enough. You had such a different approach to everything, that it gave me more to experiment with, and I think will ultimately help me find a set-up that not only feels comfortable, but also yields a good sound (something I'm still searching for on both modern and baroque violin...)! So often I hear people, when talking about technique regardless of period, talk in such technical terms, so it was nice to hear someone with a more natural explanation.”