Practice Exercises for the Beginning Violinist

Practice Exercises for the Beginning Violinist

Regardless of age, the beginning violinist can benefit from practice exercises. Before any exercises begin, the violinist must be able to hold the violin up with no hands. Once this is accomplished, the hands can be added; the bow does not have to be added right away.

Beginning violinists who have been told they have a "stiff wrist" should consider vibrato exercises, which can help loosen the wrist over time. One exercise, called "knocking on the wall," involves placing the forearm and wrist against a wall and knocking gently on the wall with the knuckles, operating from the wrist and keeping the hand relaxed. A metronome can be used to help speed up the process.

Other exercises that can be helpful to beginning violinists are those that teach beat proficiency and dexterity. Violin shifting exercises for dexterity include: (1) practicing 3-octave scales as slowly as possible; (2) practicing arpeggios, which can help the brain quickly memorize the feeling of each level on the fingerboard; and (3) practicing sliding notes, which consists of playing a practice-violinnote in first position and then sliding up to play the note just above it so that the shift can be heard. This exercise can be performed slowly as well.

When playing in a particular style, it is important to master the bowing. However, beginning violinists may want to avoid advanced bowing techniques like spiccato and ricochet until they are comfortable with the basic right-hand technique.

Practicing daily will help beginning violinists experience improvement more quickly.

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