Each tutorial on this blog falls into one of three categories:
The Fundamentals – in general, these are concepts and techniques that lay the groundwork
for playing the theremin. People just starting out will benefit from working with the
Fundamentals, then progress from there. However, these exercises would be valuable to any
thereminist at any level due to the unique approaches that use shifts in your perception to
bring your entire body into “playing awareness.”
The Essentials – Exercises in this category take what has been learned in the Fundamentals
and build on them. Basic exercises are sometimes repeated with more complex parameters.
New, more challenging exercises are introduced that thereminists may find easier to work
with if they’ve already worked with the Fundamentals.
Xtremes – Xtreme exercises are very challenging, at times requiring a level of proficiency that
comes to a thereminist in full command of the instrument. The exercises also introduce
techniques that often run counter to conventional methodology, yet yield the best results
when the convention has already been mastered. That said, never be discouraged from trying
any exercise regardless of what level you’re at.
The overall approach to the tutorials:
Experimentation and Personal Comfort – When learning, there is never any such thing
as right, wrong, mistakes or failure. You are experimenting, and that means finding yourself;
the techniques being shared are here to aid in your own self-discovery. Nothing is set in
stone. Your comfort is extremely important. Everything from the way you stand, to the height
of the theremin in front of you, to your hand movements, to the size of your control space is
up to you. You experiment with these tutorials to find what works best for you.
Progression: Mechanical to Interpretive – The general flow of the tutorials is from
mechanical to interpretive. We work with mechanics first, that is, we work with becoming
proficient at each exercise in order to attain measurable progress, progress you can feel,
see and hear. You then take what you’ve learned apply the mechanics to compositions you
want to play and how you want to interpret them.
Total Body Involvement – The theremin is played with your entire body as opposed to just
from your shoulder on down. The more you wake your whole body up to the experience,
the easier it is to play a theremin.
Time – Practice makes all the difference in the world. Take your time. Be patient with yourself.
We’ll attempt to remove anxiety, tension, and pressure from yourself and your goals. Practicing
obsessively can do more harm than good. Taking twenty to thirty minutes a day will yield better
results than practicing for three hours one or two days a week. Find what’s reasonable and
manageable for your schedule and stick to it. Repeat the individual tutorials until you’re able to
document measurable progress.
Fun – If it ain’t fun, you’re missing something essential in your practice. Play anything and
everything you’ve ever wanted to play. Try all of it – as you progress, compositions that were
impossible at first will gradually become possible. Entertain yourself, let go, have as much fun
as you can with each exercise.