My Way To Teach

I was very fortunate to have studied violin performance at Vienna Music Academy with great teachers.

I continued my studies with the late Katò Havas who become my mentor as a violinist. Under her guidance I was not only able to develop technically and musically, but I found freedom in my own playing. I was experiencing some tension problems in my left hand and couldnt find  a solution to this.

To my great surprise and relief based on Katò Havas system these tensions  became a thing of the past and I became a fully fledged performer and teacher.

Who was Katò Havas and where did she come from?

Katò Havas was a child prodigy in Hungary and an international acclaimed violin soloist. She and many other famous players such as J. StarkerSandor Vegh and T. Varga were trained at the Hungarian Music Academy during what I would call the golden area of violin playing in Hungary steeped in a long tradition. I regard myself as the grand grand grand grand grand daughter of J. Joachim.

But there were other influences in Katò Havas childhood – the gypsies.

She asked herself how these gypsies could play so freely, with a warm tone and amazing facility. Whats more, they had never even had one violin lesson in there life. Later on she found answers to all this and took the best out of both worlds. She put all her insights together in a system called “Havas New Approach“ and very soon after this published her first book. She carried on to further develope what she called “The New Approach“ all her life.

As her former assistent and as an active perfomer myself, I continue to develope this unique way of teaching and performing and decided to give it the name FREEDOM TO PLAY VIOLIN . Just like Katò Havas herself I don’t hold any auditions as I believe everyone has a gift to a greater or lesser extent.

Learning with my FREEDOM TO PLAY VIOLIN system enables everyone to express their inherent talent fully. It always gives me great joy and satisfaction to see my students rapid progress, realising the goals they have set for themselves in a process of building up confidence and enjoyment.

Your way to

Summary of skills and hidden secrets to great violin and viola playing 

 -There are only 3 major problems in violin and viola playing.

-In order to play with ease, musicality and authority it is necessary to understand the 3 major curative answers to these problems. 

-I call them the 3 major secrets

This is the basis of my FREEDOM TO PLAY VIOLIN ⓕ approach and everything else is built on it. 

Therefore including the following topics:

Physical and psychological blockages can often cause pain, injury and discomfort for many Violinists and Violists. This is completely unnecessary if you follow my system FREEDOM TO PLAY VIOLIN , which is based on Katò Hava’s New Approach.

Preparing body and mind to play by incorporating the system of miming without the instrument.

Working from inside out and the difference between the inner ear which is always a step ahead and listening back to oneself, thus enhancing musical imagination and mastering you’re instrument.

Counterbalance instead of counterpressure, knowledge of the fundamental balances necessary for free movement.

-The violin hold and the concept of the “no violin hold”.
-The bow hold and the concept of the “no bow hold”.
-The rhythmic gestures supporting the “2 hinges“ of the bowarm are able to take care of all aspects of bowing technique.

-The “drama of the intervals” with an elastic, free and creativ left hand,  natural vibrato, clear articulation and intonation and a beautiful very personal tone.

Solutions to stage fright 

   Complete physical coordination, FREEDOM TO PLAY VIOLIN and the well developed “inner ear“, the idea of “giving to an audience“, which becomes so internalised that there is simply no time to get nervous.

Katò Havas became famous for this quote, and I like to use it: “No time to be nervous

Lessons for violin and viola

  12 lesson course

   All 12 units are highly organised, incorporating all aspects of violin and viola playing for anyone wanting to release their full musical potential and discover FREEDOM TO PLAY VIOLIN with special emphasise on the release of tension and stage fright.

  We start the course with a half-hour free consultation session.
We start and end the course with a half hour discussion each time.

  6 lesson course

   The 6 lesson course is also a good alternative, giving you an overall view for starting out.

– Both courses are highly recommendable for players experiencing physical tension and stage fright.
– It is advisable to take a 12 lesson course first and then studying with me on a regular basis.
– I offer individual specific coaching for auditions, exams, concerts and chamber music coaching.
– I continue to give live workshops, masterclasses and lectures worldwide.
– I teach in my studio in Vienna but also online. (Skype, Zoom).
– Classes are held in English, German or Italian.
– In the middle of the current corona crisis is my online course an excellent opportunity to use this difficult time to develop as a player.

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A few opinons about my way of teaching

"Caroline Duffner studied the New Approach to Violin Playing with me for many years. She is extremly gifted and became an excellent teacher and performer. She is my representative teacher in Austria and has given masterclasses throughout Europe with much sucess. She has a deep understanding of my New Approach to teaching and I have every confidence in her continuing to uphold my legacy for a new generation of violinists to come."
Katò Havas
"I have known Caroline Duffner for many years as an extremely active violin teacher and very committed representative of the Katò Havas New Approach method. Thanks to her training at the Vienna Academy of Music and her extensive activities in a wide variety of Viennese musical formations, she can justifiably be called a representative of the Viennese tradition of interpretation. In addition, she continued her education in numerous European countries, which greatly expanded her artistic and pedagogical horizons. For many years she has been regarded as a prominent representative of the Katò Havas method and has been able to propagate it internationally in many master classes, workshops and lectures. The ESTA (European String Teacher Association), as the professional organisation of string teachers in Europe, is one of the preferred platforms for the propagation of her pedagogical-didactic teachings. Students of the mdw – University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna always take part in these presentations with great interest and excellent results."
o.Univ.-Prof. Wolfgang Klos
Präsident of ESTA-Österreich
"As the director of the Vienna Music Academy, I would like to recommend Ms. Duffner. She is an excellent violinist who comes from Vienna and spreads the Viennese musical tradition worldwide as a violinist and teacher. She has already proven her excellent technique and musicality, as well as her experience in several orchestras, also as concertmaster, on several occasions. She has a lot of teaching experience for different levels (beginners to advanced). All students were fully satisfied with her teaching. Many of Mrs. Duffner’s students have received very good jobs or have made world careers."
Boris Perrenoud
Director Wiener Musikakademie
"Caroline Duffner has a beautiful and convincing way to teach and has a good pedagogic basis for the Katò Havas method. She has been invited by ESTA-Italy for her renowned professional experience. Numerous teachers and students have taken part in her courses, continuing to be interested in her brilliant way of teaching."
Satu Jalas
Violin professor, Granddaughter of Jean Sibelius