"Taking a closer look might be scary- but it's necessary"


Simply playing through a challenging section (when you are not ready) can add weeks or even months (!) to your practice. Especially at the beginning, it's crucial to build difficult sections note by note and add bowings and rhythms gradually. Ease into it! 

I. Note by Note Without Rhythm

  • Sing ahead (sing the next note ahead of time)
  • Tap ahead (tap the next finger a few times before playing)
  • Say finger number ahead (say the next finger number before playing it)
  • Play along with a drone for reference

II. Introducing Bowings (higher difficulty level)

  • slur two notes, then three, etc.
  • add random rhythms or bowings                                                                                              Important side note: While still in the process of practice, don’t add the rhythm or bowing of your piece -this helps to avoid rushing through the piece.

III. Finger Patterns

  • group notes that are on either one string or in the same position (view example)
  •  put all fingers of one group down at the same time (if this is difficult, tap them a few times). To make sure they are in tune, play them back starting on the highest note.

IV. Connectors (string crossings and shifts)

Once you are comfortable with individual finger patterns, focus on connectors. Since the groups are either split by string crossings or shifts this is convenient!

  • speed up individual patterns but make sure to make a clear stop after each pattern.
  • once you reach the end of a pattern, say either “shift” or “string crossing” ahead of time and be really aware of the connecting motion. Don’t ever rush connectors while practicing!

V. Get Comfortable

  • Once you have passed stage I-IV you should be ready to put everything together.
  • To make sure everything’s in place, play along with a slowed down recording first.