Article: As I Found Miss Bang At Lake George

This is an article from The Violinist from October 1920, “By a Pupil”, about violin teacher Maia Bang. I haven’t been able to find out much about her online. Can you help me and contact me with any information about her?


When a visitor reaches Lake George in summer he is greeted by green hills, a blue lake, and a peaceful village. He soon learns that there are gathered here violinists from various parts of the globe. The raison d’etre of this interesting group is the advent to Lake George, for the summer, of Professor Auer and assistant teachers.

One of the best known of these teachers is Maia Bang, who came to this country about three years ago, at the same time as Professor Auer. Her “Elementary Violin Method,” the first two volumes of which are already in the hands of many prominent teachers, is fast gaining her friends in this country.

Miss Bang likes America, but is a staunch and loyal patriot of her native land, Norway. It is indeed pleasant to hear one who loves them so, describe the mountains and fjords of Scandinavia.

Miss Bang combines art and science in her teaching. She never lacks enthusiasm, and while critical of details is always encouraging to pupils, and never lacks appreciation of all efforts. She demands the correct things, but supports all attempts. She is democratic, looking with happy approval on the movement for putting violin instruction in the public schools. She gives hope and help to each of her pupils as his individual talent merits or requires.

Miss Bang admits of no limitations in her teaching. She says, “We can make all things. There is no ‘perhaps.'” If one follows the directions given, the goal is sure, provided, of course, that there is no serious handicap in the adaptability of the pupil. There being no phase of violin art which she has not analyzed, all one has to do is to apply the analysis. This is brought out effectively in her Violin Method mentioned above, the last part of which is now in the making. These volumes are in accordance with the principles of Auer, who, it is well known, possesses the last word with regard to methods and requirements of the modern virtuoso.

The pleasure and inspiration in writing such a method was brought out when one afternoon in a quiet and friendly conversation she remarked that her mind was teeming with ideas, and that as she writes the ideas do not come at the beckon of her will, but easily without any effort, as it were from above.

Miss Bang is a generous friend, a strong yet gentle character, an unusually interesting person to talk with on account of her originality and genuineness. She possesses a happy disposition, with a fine appreciation of the humorous. She is reverent to all things sacred, including other people’s personalities. She loves sports of all kinds. She is clever with children, and very inventive in methods to interest and to control their work.


Filed under Not My Writing, Women Violinists

4 responses to “Article: As I Found Miss Bang At Lake George

  1. Michael

    This is all I’ve been able to find about her:
    Bang, Maia – (1877 – 1940)
    Norwegian violinist
    Maia Bang was born (April, 1877) and studied at the Leipzig Conservatory in Saxony under the violin virtuoso Leopold Auer (1845 – 1930) and under Henri Marteau (1874 – 1934). She made her concert debut in Oslo (1900) where she established a school. Bang later taught at Auer’s Academy in New York. Maia Bang died (Oct, 1940) aged sixty-three, in New York.

  2. I studied with Sam Gelfer who taught at Dennison University in Ohio. He had studied with a student of Auer and he always referred to Auer as “Papa Auer.” We used the Maia Bang books and he was forever telling stories about Auer and Bang. One which recently came back to me when a fellow orchestra member was exclaiming about a long run from low to high positions. Supposedly either Auer or Bang, I forget which, remarked about such a situation: “Oh, that is easy. All you have to know is where to shift and what fingers to use!” We both laughed and wished it were that simple on our passage. But, in truth, it really sums up one of the main points of the Auer/Bang approach. As soon as you got used to the first three positions, during which time that “troublesome” second position was considered just as important as the first and third….we were expected to progress up through the positions on all four stings with equal facility! I have noticed that many other violin method books stress higher positions mainly on the E and A strings. Another thing I remember that Mr. Gelfer stressed and it is in the Bang books and again in Auer’s book entitled something like The Method I Use in Teaching.. ..something like that….is a lot of use of tone exercises as warmup… In the beginning I hated them, but over the years they have shown to be priceless. Another big thing with Auer and Bang was to not over use vibrato. Auer actually would make students, who came to him with using vibrato on everything, to stop using any vibrato for weeks or months and then gradually introduced it with control. Sam Gelfer’s early death from cancer was a great loss of a link to both Auer and Bang. He was a great teacher.

  3. Jack

    As a primarily self-taught Jazz Violinist, I have just finished the First Book of the Maia Bang Violin Method and I have to say I wish I had back all the time I have spent with Suzuki and Sevcik. I had the chance to play with some lovely girls from Albania who had the most fluid wrists and supple fingers you could ever imagine, and I suppose they told me about Maia, but this was before the internet and how could you even find a book back in the Dark Ages? So a million thanks to Joy who posted these on IMSLP.

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