From Acoustic to Digital Transformation: The Future of String Instrument Education and Performance

Research paper

The multi-identity character of the violin, depending on its performance practice, has revealed an evolution or evolving situation as a result of pedagogical approaches that have developed over the centuries. As an indicator of this situation, it can be said that many differences and innovations have been realized in the process from an instrument performing folk music to elite concert halls. Due to its dominant position in symphonic orchestras, which is seen as a symbol of development in the twentieth century, and the popularity created by virtuoso soloists, the violin can be characterized as a cultural image rather than an ordinary instrument. Aside from these evaluations on the historical background of the violin, in general terms, it is seen that acoustic music is in a transformation thanks to technological developments, and violin education and its performers are also affected by these developments. Although it is an instrument that overlaps with the performance practices of an acoustic age, it is seen that the violin performer and educator are not indifferent to these developments and effectively use various communication practices and social media as an advertising element. Especially with the pandemic process experienced in recent years, this situation has become very visible with the increase in the need in this direction. This qualitative research study aims to predict the future of violin education by examining the impact of technological developments that accelerated with the pandemic process, distance education tools and the quality of these tools. For this purpose, first of all, a systematic review will be made by examining the studies on distance violin education with document analysis method. In the second stage of the study, technological tools and applications related to violin education will be examined, and numerical data on the use and satisfaction status of these tools will be presented. In this context, an evaluation will be made on the effect of technology on violin performance and education at the point reached today, and suggestions for future violin education practices will be given. As a result, since the individualization of the violin’s integrated presence in the orchestra through technological developments restricts the interaction of violin performers with each other, various predictions about the orientation of individualized education, the function and consequences of this change are discussed.

Keywords: Violin Education, Performance, 21st Century, Distance Learning

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About the speaker

Burak Eker, Violin

Eker was born in Trabzon in 1984 and started his musical education at the age of 11 with violin lessons. In 2008, he graduated from the Karadeniz Technical University Fatih Faculty of Education Music Teaching Undergraduate Program, an achievement secured in 2004. During this academic period, he served as a violinist in the Trabzon Municipality Chamber Orchestra, established in 2006. Additionally, he actively participated as an orchestra member in numerous concerts alongside university school orchestras.

Eker broadened his horizons by receiving an Erasmus Scholarship in 2007, leading him to study at Eszterházy Karoly Föiskola in Eger, Hungary for a semester. Throughout his time there, he performed in concerts with both the school orchestra and the Eger Symphony Orchestra. Following this, between 2008 and 2010, he served as a music teacher in Beylikdüzü, Istanbul, studying under the guidance of Esen Kıvrak.

In 2010, Eker pursued further studies with Georgs Sarkisjans in Düsseldorf, Germany, concurrently working as a violin teacher at “Mosaik Kunst- und Kulturhaus” in Cologne. Upon returning to Turkey, he fulfilled his military service at the Malatya 2nd Army Band Command. In 2015, Eker earned his master’s degree from Haliç University, specializing in Advanced Violin Performance under the mentorship of Professor Saim Akçıl. His master’s thesis, supervised by Assistant Professor Aslı Özübek, explored the impact of Carl Flesch’s Scale System method on violin technique.

Continuing his academic journey, Eker completed his Doctorate degree at Yıldız Technical University, Department of Music and Performing Arts, under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Hakkı Alper Maral. His doctoral research, titled “Musical iconography of violin through folkloric performance practices and traditional music repertoires: Folkloric identities attributed to violin in 20th-century music,” delved into the folkloric dimensions of violin performance.

In 2020, Eker composed a two-movement piece to the “Sounds and Voices II” project for the Krefeld City Municipality, supported by the State Ministry of Education. Performing with the chamber music group Tree Trio, he showcased his compositional skills.

The same year marked the publication of his book “Scale Studies for Violin” by Müzik Eğitimi Yayınları in October. Presently, Eker serves as an Assistant Professor at Izmir Democracy University, Faculty of Fine Arts, Department of Music, Department of Musicology. Alongside his academic role, he continues to perform concerts both in Turkey and internationally with his group, Tree Trio.

Eker is a proud member of BESOM (Union of Composers, Conductors, and Musicologists of Turkey).