Being a classcially trained violinist, I was under the impression that to be a good gypsy jazz fiddler you either had to be doing it from birth or not at all. It was Stochelo Rosenberg who opened my eyes to the true method of learning to play this style convincingly. I had a meeting with him when I was conducting an orchestra and he was the soloist. Backstage I told him about my admiration for Django and Stéphane Grappelli and he told me to get my violin and immediately started to show me tricks and licks.
Following Stochelo’s advice it was that day that I decided to dedicate my daily pratice to learning gypsy jazz for the next five years. It was an often frustrating but very rewarding process and I started gigging more and more with other gypsy jazz musicians. I struggled with knowing the repertoire, the sound, the super high tempos and the creativity needed to be a solid performer but I did notice I was progressing steadily.
I also started working regularly with Stochelo Rosenberg and his trio. Eventually he invited me to play with him at the Django festival in Samois and we went into business together founding the Rosenberg Academy. For this academy I developed a teaching model which is used to teach hundreds of guitar players around the world to play the style with the right technique, the right sound and the right licks.
It is only logical that I would extend this model to gypsy jazz violin. It is the way I learned it myself and I know it works.
It is very simple: I was once a classical violinist who couldn’t play one note in this style to save his life. So if I learned how to do it, so can you. You just need the right method and a bit of discipline. If you love this style and want to get serious visit my webstore and start practicing!
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Christiaan van Hemert