The development path of the project goes back to the time when the method innovator Renata Novoselec was developing her artistic and research efforts through various experiments and practice in several fields of music, accompanied with a violin in all her endeavors.
In fact, at the time the research work has begun in parallel with the developmental basis of the emerging method which later became the motivator for the Violinmusic4all project, when Renata as a musician and violinist explored issues of bows for string players, studying the techniques of the right hand and working on effective solutions of the existing techniques. Her production gave birth to successful designs of bows for violin, viola, cello and double bass.
In collaboration with the world legendary double bassist Gary Karr and equally famous violinist Shlomo Mintz, she produced acknowledged and globally recognized unique models of bows for violin and double bass. Professional London magazine The Strad named the bows made in collaboration with Gary Karr their product of the month in February 2009.
Furthermore, the Spanish “Actualidad” from Madrid honored her work in the field by awarding her International Award Leader in Prestige and Quality in 2008. In the formation of her musical personality she was heavily influenced by her violin professor James Grech, as well as Dora Schwarzberg, Yuri Korchinsky and many others.
As editor and host of the classical music show “Glazbe Ego” on TV Plus, she conducted over a hundred one-hour interviews with world-famous music names such as: Sir Neville Mariner, Leo Brouwer, Michel Camilo, Thomas Sanderling, Martino Mueler, Dmitri Kitayenko and many other domestic and foreign representatives of the art of music.
Renata Novoselec as a successful participant of international professional trainings, in cooperation with the world-wide TV station France24, has demonstrated through interviews with members of the European Parliament in fluent English and through her personal artistic and media expression, that she possesses all the expertise and necessary knowledge as an author, editor and host. She also proved that as an experienced musician she achieves a very spontaneous and direct interactive relationship with conductors and musicians through the media, with a deep knowledge of musical material and interesting sequences from the artistic presentations about the works of guest artists with the Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra.
In the artistic collaborations of the Zagreb Concert Management with Renata Novoselec, her high musical professionalism and great musical education come to the fore. In symbiosis with successful media exposure, it is reflected in her many interviews with domestic and foreign artists. We were particularly impressed by the one-hour interview with the legendary Croatian prima donna Dunja Vejzović.
Along the many experiences gathered in the work with world renowned artists, she was also developing her own method of playing violin for therapeutic purposes intended for deaf children and adults, children and adults with different types of disability, and she began a collaboration with the Slava Raškaj Educational Center in Zagreb.
As the only representative from the region, she was invited to be a member of the prominent international Board of Judges in Valetta, Malta, which awards talented young classical musicians through a competition called New Names Malta, and which includes international cooperation with a threefold name; New Names Malta, Russia and Armenia.
According to our well-known conductor and full professor at the Music Academy in Zagreb, Maestro Mladen Tarbuk:”
As a guest in this show, I have noticed an interesting and contemporary way of presenting classical music employed by Miss Novoselec. Her questions showed a true understanding of the phenomenon of music and its social perception. Following up on her work, I noticed that she brings classical music closer to a wider public in a direct and lively way, with a multitude of interesting sequences from the lives and work of the musicians with whom she collaborated.
The president and music director of New Names Malta, Alan Chircop stated about the Violinmusic4all project:
New Names Malta is very honored to collaborate with your new and innovative violinist method directed towards people with hearing impairments.
I had the opportunity to observe your first project in 2015 when you spoke to me about your impressive idea at the time, while you were part of the international Board of Judges for young talents in the New Names Malta, Russia and Armenia competition. I must admit that at the time I was puzzled by the way how the method actually works in practice.
However, given that I could see the results at the early stage and listen to your participants not only play instruments but also act as an ensemble after only a few months of learning, I was excited by your innovation. Your method is indeed a world-class innovation that should be recommended and promoted, as I feel. It should be presented to as many countries as possible since it offers great opportunities not only to people with hearing impairments.
As statistics and practice show, hearing impairment occurs more often than we think. In every 1000 newborns, about 2-3 of them will need some form of help. For some time now maternity hospitals carry out hearing screening on all newborn babies using the otoacoustic emission method, and sometimes, if necessary, the method of auditory evoked potential. Sometimes the hearing impairment is detected only at the age of two or three because central auditory pathways, which fully mature after birth, are not activated enough. An unborn child even in the womb receives various sounds from the outside world and it responds to them.
From week 20 of pregnancy, hearing is functional and allows the child to listen to sounds coming from the mother as well as the outside world. After birth, hearing is already developed, but only reflexes to sound stimuli are actually present, and it can only be observed if it is strong enough until 6 months of age when children respond even to a weaker intensity of sound. After birth, the parents talk to the child and although the child doesn’t understand the meaning of the words, it can hear their voices representing closeness and security, two immensely important things in the first days of life of a newborn. Hearing impairment itself is associated with risky pregnancies, maternal infections during pregnancy (CMV, rubella), taking medication, narcotics, alcohol.
Most frequently, risk factors affect preterm infants or newborns with low birth weight, mechanical injury during childbirth, while later hearing impairment may result from inflammation of the meninges, after mumps, chronic ear infections, children with cerebral motor disorders. We can also talk about hereditary deafness as part of a syndrome. If the child is diagnosed with hearing impairment, treatment and rehabilitation of both hearing and speech is employed depending on the cause, location and degree of damage as this is the only way to establish normal development of intellectual function and success in further life and education. This is exactly the “contribution” professor Novoselec provided in her work with deaf and hard of hearing children, and thanks to her, her work and her effort, a lot may be done to assure that these children have a “good start” in life, provided, of course, that the disorder itself is detected in time. I certainly support the project because it is definitely beneficial to the wellbeing of our children.
Each note has its own vibration and we feel it through our skin, bones and blood. The violin is in direct contact with the body, it vibrates on the collar bone, sending a powerful message to the player (despite deafness).
“As a violinist, after many years of effort, work, artistic self-reflection and belief in that to which I have devoted most of my life, I succeeded in developing a method that allows interactive participation in Violinmusic4all project for children and adults with hearing impairments, deaf and hard of hearing children and adults, as well as children and adults with various forms of disability, both mental and other disabilities.” The violin in terms of the reproductive music instrument must in itself satisfy certain technical, acoustic and aesthetic needs.
In the acoustic sense, the violin can be considered as a complex of vibrating systems, and its main vibrating system is its four strings, while the body of the violin – the “sounding box”, is an intermediary in the transfer of tones, but it is also itself a vibrating system. The sounding box consists of the top plate (spruce) and the back plate (mainly maple), connected with the ribs (mainly maple). Given that a deaf person cannot hear the tone they produce by stroking the violin string with a bow, they feel the vibration of the bow in their right hand by trailing the bow hair over the strings as well as the tone vibration by touching the strings with the fingers of their left hand on the instrument fingerboard.
The fact is that not only the violin, but also the chest of the player resonates while playing, or actually the greater or lower degree to which it is filled with air. This is also a very important factor that helps a deaf person to fully experience the complex of vibrating systems which are further manifested through skin, bones and blood. It is very important to have a proper understanding of the economy of the bow in the right hand; the intensity of the string pressure, the trailing speed, the width of the stroke, the place where the bow is trailed, and then the proper sense of tone intonation in the left hand where the player feels the vibrations and in the neck of the instrument.
Here I would like to emphasize the “feeling”, given that a deaf person relies heavily on the sense of touch, where it is important to have a proper functionality of knuckles, forearms and shoulders, and the body needs to be rid of “stiffness” and achieve maximum relaxation in the process of producing tone. The crucial element is the coordination of all movements of the left and right hands in order for a deaf person to properly understand the basics of producing a tone on the violin.
Through my experience and in the interactive work with deaf and hard of hearing children and adults, as well as people with different types of disability, I realized that “having an ear for music” is not crucial for realization and reproduction. It is an important bridge between the interpreter, the instrument and the audience, and it makes it easier to intonate in a practical and functional sense.
The interpreter himself “gives life” to an instrument which “is not alive” without him. And that’s why I think that merely having an ear is not crucial. In working with deaf children and adults and people with various mental difficulties, I have noticed many talents that need time, work and dedication in order for them to develop.
The very essence of the musical consciousness and its interpretation lies in our spirit, heart, body…that is, in that which represents our personality. This foundation is the drive of our senses and it evokes all the emotions that are in my personal opinion crucial, and at the same time they are “the most important link” in the individual approach to the relationship between the interpreter and the instrument.