Practice Tools


  • Wrist stretches
  • Neck and shoulder stretches

Scales and arpeggios (major, melodic minor, harmonic minor)

  • Scales in 3rds: start fingering the thirds somewhere comfortable above 4th position on the A and D strings. Then add 4ths (first do the 3rd, then add the 4th before moving on to the next 3rd).
  • Scales in 6ths: I finger the scales until I reach 6th or 7th position on the A and D; then I leave the 3rd finger down and either use 1 or 2, depending on whether the 6th is big or little.

Note: I teach the “circle of 4ths” with this order:

  • Scales: major, melodic minor, harmonic minor; Arpeggios: major, minor, diminished, dominant 7th (which takes you to the scale a 4th above)

Practice hint: Set the metronome at 52 and then do:

  • Whole bow
  • 2 notes per bow, 3, 4, 6, 8, 9, 12, etc.
  • Rhythms: dotted eighth and sixteenth; eighth and two sixteenths; dotted eighth and triplet sixteenths.

Repetition: if you make an error, stop, then repeat the moment, first slowly with no vibrato, then gradually accelerating to above tempo. Try for 5 times well; if you err before the 5th time, start over. For passage work, use rhythms (eighth and two sixteenths, dotted eighth and sixteenth, other groupings over shifts, etc.)