Study Violin with Tomas Cotik

LESSONS, MASTERCLASSES & PRESENTATIONS

Dr. Tomas Cotik is the violin professor at Portland State University, where he recently received the inaugural Dean’s Council Award For Research, Scholarship & Creativity for his significant contributions to research, scholarship and creative activity at the international level. He previously taught at West Texas A&M University, Florida International University, and at the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music. Committed to passing on his passion for music, Tomas Cotik regularly provides master classes, lectures, and presentations around the globe. Recent masterclasses and residencies were held at Round Top Music Festival, Miami Classical Music Festival, Ithaca College, California State University Northridge, West Virginia University, California State University, Fresno, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, University of New Mexico, University of Nebraska at Omaha, and Jerusalem University Har Hazofim among many others.  Dr. Cotik also gave presentations at TMEA in San Antonio, the College Music Society international convention in Buenos Aires, Vancouver and San Antonio as well as at the American String Teachers Association conferences in Florida and Oregon. In the work with his students, Tomas emphasizes a natural approach to the instrument, providing tools to avoid unnecessary physical tensions. His recent articles on this philosophy and other topics were published by The Strad, the American String Teacher Association Journal, the American Music Teacher Journal and the National Association for Music Education magazine. His ultimate goal is to guide his students so that they cultivate, develop, and further their individual artistic visions and professional dreams. Another emphasis as a mentor is guiding his students to develop career tools that will help them succeed as performers in the 21st century. As violin professor at PSU Dr. Cotik maintains a high level of international students from US, China, Japan, South America and Easter Europe. He also accepts a limited number of private violin students both in person and via Zoom, Facetime and Skype.

“...current activities ...demonstrate the significant contributions to music and education he is already doing in this country.”

Michael Tilson Thomas

Upcoming Presentations

November 14th, 2020 at 5:30 PM

Twin Rocks, Oregon

June 27th, 2021 at 6:50 PM

Round Top, TX - Festival Concert Hall

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July 8th, 2021 at 1:00 PM

Round Top, TX - Edythe Bates Old Chapel

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Video Tutorials

STUDENTS

TESTIMONIALS

“In studying with Tomas my seemingly impossible barriers have evolved into possible, attainable goals. He has revived my understanding as to why practicing “the basics” is the way we truly improve our overall skill, musicality and confidence. I’m extremely grateful that my music students will also organically benefit from the strength that he has helped me cultivate.”

Monica Belzer, 5-8 Grade Orchestra Director in David Douglas School District

“Dr. Cotik's unyielding work ethic and subsequent success as an artist and educator is inspiring and motivating for his students”

Patricia Jancova, Former Student at the University of Miami

“His teaching, recordings, and publications are informed by thoughtful study of the relevant scholarship.  Lessons are challenging but always fun, and inspire me to make the most beautiful music possible.”

Pamela A. Moro, Professor Emeritus, Willamette University

“Tomás has a genuine interest in his students' progress. He is dedicated to teaching as much as he is to playing the violin”

Tetyana Zlatova, Junior student at PSU

“Tomas is a passionate teacher who is committed to helping you cultivate and achieve your musical and professional goals ”

Patricia Jancova, Former Student at the University of Miami

“Tomás is a rigorous, encouraging, and playfully creative teacher.  He balances deep attention to technical and musical concerns, emphasizing body mechanics while insisting on the ear as the ultimate guide. ”

Pamela A. Moro, Professor Emeritus, Willamette University

“Tomas has helped me begin to understand how my whole body affects my sound. He's taught me that I am my own teacher and that practicing is a process of exploration and discovery.   ”

Noah Carr, age 14

“During a master class in Round Top, Dr. Cotik helped us discover all the cues we can give our body to find a new way to relax and develop a more economic use of the body. I have been practicing yoga for several years now and his simple approach to Alexander Technique was a great enhancement to my playing, body awareness and energy expenditure.”

Karim Ayala Pool, Student at Round Top Festival

“Mr. Cotik’s thoughtful and intelligent teaching helped me to feel and hear my playing in a much more comfortable and involved manner.”

Yu Ning Lai, Student at Roundtop Music Festival

“He has very high expectations and his work ethic is extraordinary. Dr. Cotik has helped me to truly listen to my own sound, and he has taught me that you can be the best teacher of yourself”

Shion Yamakawa, Master Student at PSU

“Professor Cotik consistently demonstrates his passion for teaching by tailoring to the individual student's immediate needs and long term career goals”

Viet Block, Master Student at PSU

“Studying with Prof. Cotik has helped me build more confidence in my playing and actually liking the sound I produce on my instrument”

Hunter Haynes, Junior Student at PSU

“His ability to discover solutions and create personalized exercises to overcome technical challenges is unparalleled--Tomas' teaching is boundlessly creative”

Patricia Jancova, Former Student at the University of Miami

“Dr.Cotik is an excellent violinist and teacher. His teaching  approach helped me to understand how to practice more effectively. I am so glad I can study with him at PSU!”

Shawn Wu, Master Student at PSU

“what I found most impactful of his teaching, was the attention to the importance of how we use our bodies while playing. Achieving your most beautiful sound consisted of teaching your body to release any tension and learning to play effortlessly  ”

Yesenia Campos Wong, Former student at West Texas A&M University

“He doesn't pretend he has all the right answers but he gives me choices so that I can discover a personal solution.”

Tetyana Zlatova, Junior student at PSU

“Amazing violinist and teacher. Some of the most beautiful playing I have heard.”

Ambrose Philipek, Freshman student at PSU

“Dr. Cotik is a phenomenal violinist who has a profound understanding and patience with his students. Practicing has become much more efficient, fun and productive. I feel more confident when performing  ”

Shion Yamakawa, Masters student at PSU

“Tomás Cotik believes that each student, no matter where they are at, can make a significant progress given the right tools which he provides without fail.”

Tetyana Zlatova, Junior student at PSU

Videos

Published Articles

Audition Excerpts Learning Resources

Audition Excerpts Learning Resources

On the link below, students can find my own video recordings of all of the excerpts required for the All State Violin Auditions Oregon, Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Washington and All-Northwest All State Orchestras, among numerous other students and professional orchestras worldwide. To facilitate the preparation of the excerpts, I have also included the scores with my fingerings and bowings as well as the full orchestral score, a brief introduction about each piece, and advice on solving the typical problems that I have seen students confront in terms of rhythm, bow stroke, articulation, dynamics, vibrato, intonation and phrasing.


Click Here

 

De Violines, Febr. 2020

De Violines, Febr. 2020

Acaba de ser publicado el último trabajo de Tomás Cotik, gran violinsta... en relación a su interpretación, Tomás ha publicado una serie de exhaustivos artículos en The Strad, detallando cada uno de los aspectos y motivaciones sobre esta su última producción.

No es mi intención trasladar todo lo que en ellos nos descubre, que es muchísimo...pero sí voy a entresacar con algunas citas, ideas clave de sobre su trabajo.

Entre medias de las citas podréis disfrutar de videos con algunas de las piezas de este disco: unas interpretaciones enormemente cuidadas, sutiles y rigurosas de las que son, probablemente la obra cumbre para violín solo en toda la historia.


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The Strad, Jan. 2020

The Strad, Jan. 2020

I know that I know nothing: Tomás Cotik concludes his series on Bach


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The Strad, Jan. 2020

The Strad, Jan. 2020

How I interpret Bach: Tomás Cotik on Classification


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The Strad, Jan. 2020

The Strad, Jan. 2020

How I interpret Bach: Tomás Cotik on Traditions and Musical Lineage, ‘Interpretation’ and Performance Environment


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The Strad, Jan. 2020

The Strad, Jan. 2020

How I interpret Bach: This week Tomas Cotik focuses on the context of the composition of Bach’s Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin, the title ‘Sei Solo’ and Editions.


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The Strad, Jan. 2020

The Strad, Jan. 2020

How I interpret Bach: This week Tomas Cotik focuses on Treatises Sources, Numerology and the Doctrine of Affections.


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The Strad, DEC. 2019

The Strad, DEC. 2019

How I interpret Bach: Tomás Cotik on Ornaments, Trills and Appoggiaturas.


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The Strad, DEC. 2019

The Strad, DEC. 2019

How I interpret Bach: Tomas Cotik on Tempo Rubato, Strong and Weak Measures and Notes Inégales


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The Strad, DEC. 2020

The Strad, DEC. 2020

How I interpret Bach: Tomás Cotik on Overdotting and Rhythmic Assimilation


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The Strad, Nov. 2019

The Strad, Nov. 2019

How I interpret Bach: Tomás Cotik on strings, intonation and vibrato


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The Strad, Nov. 2019

The Strad, Nov. 2019

Ahead of his 2020 album release of Bach’s Sonatas and Partitas, the violinist presents a new blog series, in which he discusses the contradictions between the opposing trends and traditions in Bach interpretation, and his personal solutions to them


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American String Teacher Journal, May 2019

​Concepts of the Alexander Technique and Practical Ideas for Musicians

American String Teacher Journal, May 2019

My intent with this article is to speak about my understanding of some concepts and ideas that were inspired by my years of studying the Alexander Technique and putting the work into daily practice. I first became interested in the Alexander Technique as a violin student of Professor Nicolas Chumachenco at the Musikhochsuchule Freiburg. The Alexander Technique lessons I took during those years helped me develop as a violinist and became the groundwork of my technical approach to the instrument. Fast-forward many years—these concepts are now a central aspect of my violin teaching.


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The Strad, The Best of Technique

The Strad, The Best of Technique

The Strad's new book "The Best of Technique" includes Tomas Cotik's article "Natural playing, inspired by the Alexander technique".


Discover the top playing tips of the world’s leading string players and teachers in The Best of Technique. Bringing together articles from The Strad’s popular Technique section, this 168-page book is a must for every string player’s music stand. It tackles everything from bow control (Boris Kuschnir) and vibrato (Paul Katz) to jazz rhythm (Tracy Silverman) and resonant sound (Lynn Harrell) – with all things in between.


Each article contains exercises for students, followed by examples from the standard repertoire to show how to integrate the technique into your playing. Each author also gives tips on how to practise, as well as a few words for teachers, and recommended books and videos to follow up.


The Best of Technique is a one-stop shop for solving nearly all problems you might encounter as a string player. It’s essential reading for both the serious student and the conscientious teacher.


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The Strad, Dec. 2017

The Strad, Dec. 2017

Natural playing on violin and viola, inspired by the Alexander Technique.

Exercises to release tension and improve ease of movement when playing the violin by Tomas Cotik, violin professor at Portland State University


The following link has an extract from a longer article in The Strad December 2017 – to read it in full, download the issue on desktop computer or or buy the print edition


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American String Teacher Journal, May 2017

American String Teacher Journal, May 2017

ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND PR SKILLS FOR MUSIC STUDENTS - In a successful ensemble, not only do musicians need to spend countless hours mastering their instruments and improving their ensemble playing, they also need to be entrepreneurial, media savvy, and their own managers and promoters—in other words, able to deal with a variety of non-musical endeavors.


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Gran Pausa, March 2017

Gran Pausa, March 2017

Ejercicios para desarollar la relajacion y naturalidad al tocar. Parte 2


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Gran Pausa, March 2017

Gran Pausa, March 2017

EJERCICIOS PARA DESARROLLAR LA RELAJACIÓN Y NATURALIDAD AL TOCAR (I)

El profesor de la Universidad Estatal de Portland Tomas Cotik nos ofrece una introduccion a las sensaciones cinesteticas y nos muestra algunos ejercicios.


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National Association for Music Education, March 2017

National Association for Music Education, March 2017

Developing a Natural and Relaxed Approach to String Playing – Part 1


Portland State University professor Dr. Tomas Cotik gives an introduction to kinesthetic feelings and demonstrates techniques and exercises.


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National Association for Music Education, March 2017

National Association for Music Education, March 2017

Developing a Natural and Relaxed Approach to String Playing – Part 2


Portland State University professor Dr. Tomas Cotik gives an introduction to kinesthetic feelings and demonstrates techniques and exercises.


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The Strad, Febr. 2017

The Strad, Febr. 2017

Developing a natural and relaxed approach to string playing. Part 2


Portland State University professor Dr Tomas Cotik gives an introduction to kinesthetic feelings and demonstrates techniques and exercises


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The Strad, Febr. 2017

The Strad, Febr. 2017

Developing a natural and relaxed approach to string playing. Part 1


Portland State University professor Dr Tomas Cotik gives an introduction to kinesthetic feelings and demonstrates techniques and exercises


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The Chorda, Febr. 2017

The Chorda, Febr. 2017

Newsletter of the Oregon American String Teachers Association

Reviews of Alexander Technique workshop and masterclass


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Deviolines, Febr. 2017

Deviolines, Febr. 2017

Desarrollando una manera natural y relajada de tocar el violín.


El objetivo de los siguientes ejercicios es ayudar a que los estudiantes experimenten nuevas sensaciones cinestésicas. Estos ejemplos prácticos permiten a los estudiantes identificar hábitos subconscientes y relajar tensiones.


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National Association for Music Education, February. 2017

National Association for Music Education, February. 2017

This article covers a wide array of techniques and simple ways in which performers of all levels can achieve a more natural approach to instrumental playing by improving ease and freedom of movement.


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Doctoral Dissertation

Doctoral Dissertation

Aspects of Interpretation in Franz Schubert’s Music for Violin and Piano: Duo in A major, Op. posth. 162, D. 754, Rondo in B minor, Op. 70, D. 895, and Fantasia in C Major, Op. posth. 159, D. 934


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Violinist.com, Jan. 2017

Violinist.com, Jan. 2017

Some in-depth and well-researched ideas about interpreting the works of Franz Schubert, from violinist Tomas Cotik


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National Association for Music Education, Nov. 2016

National Association for Music Education, Nov. 2016

Advice for Travelling String Players. Dr. Tomas Cotik shares personal anecdotes and tips from his life as a travelling violinist. Article originally posted on The Strad


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Violinist.com, Oct. 2016

Violinist.com, Oct. 2016

World Premiere of Solo Violin Works by Franz Schubert


During the research for my recording of Schubert's complete works for violin and piano, I discovered his Ländlers for violin. It was an immense joy for me to record these largely unknown and unrecorded pieces, whose autographs are at the City Library (Stadtbibliothek) in Vienna.


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Gran Pausa, Sept. 2016

Gran Pausa, Sept. 2016

El Dr. Tomás Cotik comparte anécdotas personales y consejos de su vida como violinista viajero.


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Deviolines, Sept. 2016

Deviolines, Sept. 2016

Consejos para músicos de cuerda en los viajes


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The Strad, Sept. 2016

The Strad, Sept. 2016

Advice for travelling string players


Dr Tomas Cotik shares personal anecdotes and tips from his life as a travelling violinist


Much of the time, the day-to-day existence of a travelling musician is just a little bit less glamorous than we would initially think: taking planes at ridiculous hours, dealing with security lines at the airport, carrying luggage from one place to the next, dealing with reservations, car rentals, and — last but not least — an instrument that might not yet be adjusted to a different climate.


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Deviolines, Aug. 2016

Deviolines, Aug. 2016

El Doctor Tomás Cotik hace una demostración de este golpe de arco y nos enseña algunas técnicas y ejercicios.


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THE STRAD, July 2016

THE STRAD, July 2016

Mastering up-bow and down-bow staccato. Dr Tomas Cotik gives an introduction to the bow stroke and demonstrates techniques and exercises.


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De Violines, Apr. 2016

De Violines, Apr. 2016

Hace tiempo que oigo hablar de la Técnica Alexander aplicada a la práctica instrumental, casi siempre de forma positiva, así que tenía ganas de conocer un poco más acerca de sus fundamentos y características. Así que ya era hora de aprender un poco mas acerca la Técnica Alexander, y para ello me he ayudado de la experiencia y conocimientos del profesor Tomás Cotik, docente en la University of Miami’s Frost School of Music and Florida International University, autor de varios discos, miembro en importantes orquestas y cuartetos de cuerda, así como miembro del dúo Cotik/Lin.


Jesús Fernández


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Gran Pausa, Apr. 2016

Gran Pausa, Apr. 2016

El Dr Tomas Cotik nos introduce en el método y nos  muestra algunas técnicas y ejercicios.


Este artículo cubre una amplia gama de técnicas sencillas con las que músicos de todos los niveles pueden lograr un enfoque más natural para la ejecución instrumental, mejorando y facilitando su libertad de movimiento. Practicando estos ejercicios se puede refinar y aumentar la sensibilidad cinestésica que ofrece al artista un control fluido y dinámico, mejorando el rendimiento y ayudando a evitar tensiones innecesarias, dolor y lesiones potenciales.


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THE Strad, Febr. 2016

THE Strad, Febr. 2016

How effective is a modern violin and Baroque bow in period performance?


Dr Tomas Cotik, violin soloist, Amernet String Quartet member and professor at the University of Miami, performs the Largo from Bach’s Violin Sonata no.3 on his modern violin and a Baroque bow. He describes his decision to use this combination for the recording below: ‘I usually play a modern instrument and a Sartory bow, but after much deliberation, I recently chose to record the Gallant and Baroque pieces by Telemann and Bach for my solo violin album with a Baroque bow. Before doing this recording, I had experimented for several years switching back and forth between a Baroque bow and my more modern Sartory bow (ca. 1893/94) when playing Baroque repertoire. Finally, on the recording date, only after listening to the sound samples, I decided which bow to use for this album. I enjoyed the expressive potential of the Baroque bow, the transparent textures, and the effortlessness with which it went ‘around the curves’, changing strings and direction with ease. The ability to differentiate subtle nuances at the beginning and end of each stroke and the subsequent numerous possibilities of connection between those notes appealed to me as well. The Baroque bow naturally helped me interpret the music and avoid wrong accents in this repertoire. Furthermore, it allowed for a lighter sound, quicker, more flowing tempi, and lively articulations.’


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The Strad, Febr. 2016

The Strad, Febr. 2016

Elements of Alexander Technique: discovering a natural approach to string playing


Dr Tomas Cotik gives an introduction to the method and demonstrates techniques and exercises.


This article covers a wide array of techniques and simple ways in which performers of all levels can achieve a more natural approach to instrumental playing by improving ease and freedom of movement. Practising these exercises will refine and heighten kinesthetic sensitivity offering the performer a control which is fluid and lively, enhancing performance and helping avoid unnecessary tension, pain, and potential injuries.


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