Where are scales in your practice routine?
Not in order of importance, but what do you practice before scales and what do you hold until after? Why?
I don't start with scales. I do my first warm-ups with a few minutes of bow-arm exercises, then 3-5 minutes of left-hand finger exercises without the bow, 3rd position, then 1st -- basic Sevcik or Schradieck. This helps me open up both hands right away and get the blood pumping fast. The basic warm-up continues with both L/R hands together for about 20 minutes till I feel like I'm operating at full power in both hands.
Thanks Jim. Looks like you've been at it for say 40 minutes before scales. Is being fully warmed up the deciding condition?
David, yes -- counting the walk, I'd calculate roughly 40 minutes before scales. The 20-minute L/R hand warm-up -- that's something I need only for the first session with the instrument in a given day. Later in the day, a subsequent session of practicing and playing requires of me, let's say, only 5 minutes of warm-up -- maybe not even that much.
Thanks Jim. So far my schedule has been random. Looking to put some reason into the routine.
First thing (including arpeggios) on my list - to remind me where the notes are before I go on to other things.
Thanks Trevor. That's sort of where I'm drawn to, after a short instrument warmup.
I start with all 24 scales, before doing anything else. Usually do moderately fast. If I sense something is getting sloppy I will stop and work on that, or vary routine with scales somewhat, but I always start with scales. Some how it gives me the confidence to proceed....
Wow Alice! That would be a week long project for me, but perhaps 3 or 4 would help a lot.
Warmup? At my age it would be warmup/weardown!! Maybe I'll play a 3 octave G/Cmajor and then minor scale on violin/viola (down bow-up and up bow-down) or 4 octave on cello - but that's it - I gotta save my strength. If I have the shakes that day I pretty much quit then!
Scales for me, one key per day to begin each day's practice as follows:
I might start with a few simple exercises, but not always. Then, I do scales; one major with its corresponding minor (e.g G major, G minor), followed by arpeggios (major, minor, dominant 7th and diminished 7th), then chromatic, then double stops in 3rds, 6ths and octaves. I don't do scales every single session.
My fingers prefer to start with scale based exercises and my ear keeps track of the ring-tones to make sure I'm maintaining correct intonation. Due to age, injuries and a bit of arthritis, I'm limited to fourth position and below now. Then I start work on an upcoming lesson or something I'm working on for myself. I always end with something that is just for fun.
Jim , Which scale system/s do you use ?
Thanks folks. I've decided to put scales in after a short warmup and Son File and before some S F Basics and current gig programs. Then exercises and new tunes. Some will have to be on alternate day rotation because I also work on that fine line between warmed up and worn out.
My teacher regards scales as a canvas upon which to do other exercises. He usually specifies bowing exercises to do with scales. I tend to do these when I have a couple of minutes in which I can do something mechanical, but don't have enough time to do anything else. They get fit into the middle of my day, like when I have 10 minutes between client appointments and need a mental break from work.
David, are you taking lessons? Just curious. I tend to do bowing exercises as a separate thing.
Hi Ella. I do have bowing in my exercises. Used to take lessons, but now, not in the budget.
I always start with scales with various bow patterns before moving on to other material.
First in line for me is a thing I call taps and lifts. The fingers just move up and down with grace notes. Then the shifting motion with octave slides. The bowing warm-up is selections from Sevcik 40 variations. Then the scales; pick one key for the day; three-octave scale, harmonic minor scale, broken-thirds, the chromatic scale. By the way-there is only one chromatic scale, notated and fingered a variety of ways. Then the arpeggios/chords; in addition to the usual ones I add some of the "jazz" chords, like augmented, half-diminished, added sixths,etc. The material is all public domain, the fingerings are personal, depending on the context, so I don't use a specific book anymore. Being simple-minded, I don't combine bowing patterns with scales.
I regard scales as a warm-up, so I do them after stretching and Schradieck, but before etudes and pieces.
I only have about 45-60 minutes each day to practice because of work (sometimes broken up), so my routine is:
5 to 10 mins of melodic improv (tonalization) then I do scales in thirds first, since I'm still doing those very slowly and they warm up my hands. Then maybe 15 mins on scales ... but these days I do not spend a lot of time on plain 3 octave scales. I'd much rather do one finger scales, scales in broken thirds, and jazz scales, as I am still on the steeper part of the learning curve with those.
when I find the time for a full practice session I indeed start with a Flesch scale (not all of it of course but as much as I can manage before losing concentration or needing a short break), however, the three very first things I start with are colle, controlled vibrato, and son file exercises.
Scales are already a combination of various techniques, so basics first; then one slow open string scale, one slow sharp or flat scale, both with mordents and trills, slurred
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