How to practice supplementary matierals(Sevcik,Schradieck,etc)

December 26, 2006 at 12:08 AM · Hi I want to improve my playing by working on some supplmentary materials such as Sevcik and Schradieck because my teacher only assigns scales and etudes.

There are so many of them( dobule-stop,shifting,trill,bowing) and each book contains tons of variations. It's overwhelming and I don't know how to approach these materials.

I want a systematic approach because I work better this way.

Thanks and happy holiday!

Replies (12)

December 26, 2006 at 02:34 AM · Greetings,

the first person to advise you on this is your teacher. They have some reason for not giving you sevcik or Schradieck. The other proble is that without knowing your level it is hard to say where to start. In theory , sevcik is systeatic and if you just work through it every day you emerge at the other end with a whizz technique. Of course your joyin life may be dead....

For me, it is better to use the best exercises from these books according to your needs. The one book of sevick whihc I think really is excellent for just about anyone is the shifting one. Jus do a couple of the exercisses a day for about fifteen minutes. Mark the different ones and move on. They are more efficient if you practice them with dotte drhythms.

Then many violinist are extremely deficient in te even number positions so work on those sections of the book. Pick a few chunks every day and tyick them off so oyu are always moving forwards. Again, do a lot of work in dotte drythms. it is vital to keep a good sound and have good bow speed.

I don't like the school of bowing much myself, and yes i have playe dall of it. bleeugh.

As the book about Soviet Violin Technique I forget, states , this is not the most logicla approach to bowing. It is perhaps better to learn the 8 basic bowings solidly through Kayser, Mazas and Kreutzer and then combine them artistically in your music. One way I wa staught to use the bowing books at college was that evrytime I found difficult bowing in orchestra or a concerto I had to find the equivalenbt exercise in the book and work on it. That is kind of sensible. The sevcik I definitley disagree with is the trill studies. Long repetitons of trills will not help you get a good trill and ay make your hand slothful. Follow Riccis advice (The way they play etc) and play short trills such a sin Kreutzer 15. That is one of the bets studies ion the book, by the way.

Schradieck I give to all my studnets from early on. I like all the exercises. Pat attention to bow speed, use many differnt rythms, use all the Galmian bowings and learn those even positions.



December 26, 2006 at 03:26 PM · Hi,

Systematic ways... hmmm... I followed the advice of Flesch working through Sevcik for my own needs at some point.

For Opus 1 - pick one exercises a week. Play the stuff slowly doing only the repetitions needed (in general, just one). I would suggest like Flesch that Opus 8 be inserted between part 2 and 3 of Opus 1 since it will form you on intermediate notes necessary for making the most of the shifting exercises in part 3 and double-stops in part 4.

Opus 2 for bowing, is best also practiced the way Flesch prescribed. Start the first and third books at the same time. Pick 5 exercises from each book a day and work your way forward. Never repeat the exercises again, but mark the difficult ones for review later. Done properly, this takes about 15 months. Assuming your use of bow is correct movements-wise, this will be a good way to acquire bow control.

I would also recommend that a limited amount of time be spent on each (total = no more that about 30 minutes a day). The rest should be spent on the standard √Čtudes.

It is interesting to note that Flesch gave his students the Scale System only once Opus 1 and 8 had been learnt. The Flesch Scale System was originally designed as a means of preserving rather than acquiring technique.


December 26, 2006 at 09:26 PM · I agree with both Buri and Christian. Don't spend more than a short amount of time on this stuff, daily. It's great for enhancing technique, but must be taken gradually. A teacher (not any of mine) once told me that Sevick is like a pill that is taken for an unhealthy aspect of technique. You work on it in small doses for a certain prescribed period of time and then you're better!


December 27, 2006 at 12:07 PM · 1. Identify, then seek exercises from your available materials that train what you can't already do. There a skills you probably want to develop to play certain works.

2. If you can't identify those things, that is where consulting a teacher comes into play. ;)

December 27, 2006 at 03:17 PM · Start at the beginning and end at the end.

December 27, 2006 at 04:11 PM · Okay, dumb comment. Tried to say something intelligent. Failed. Aced out the ridiculous.

December 28, 2006 at 01:34 AM · Something that I think everyone should do at some point is to find a copy of the second edition of the Galamian book, "Principles of Violin Playing and Teaching", and read the section by Elizabeth Green titled "Galamian in the Studio." It gives a detailed description of how one very good teacher approached scales and etudes, how to think about etudes with variations, and how to use them to turn your brain "on."

Sevcik is very helpful if you practice it with a goal in mind, but can be incredibly mind-numbing if you don't have specified goals. The first thing to do is ask yourself, "What would I like to play better?" Then you can go to your Sevcik or Schradieck and find something to work on. Take one set of exercises and divide it up so that you can finish it in a few days, working on a different part every day. Play it as slowly as you need to for accuracy, increasing the speed as your fluency improves. Don't beat yourself up if things aren't perfect; that's not the point. You can always come back to these exercises later -- you'll find that they get easier every time you revisit them!

December 27, 2006 at 06:51 PM · i'm also working on the sevcik and schradieck books. for schradieck my teacher has me practice with stop bows and different rhythms and watch the intonation especially in the higher positions. she gives an exercise in each position every week and just has me practice 1 or 2 positions everyday for about 5-10 minutes. for sevcik she mostly wants me to listen to the different intervals (minor 3rds, major 3rds, perfect 4ths, etc.)

December 28, 2006 at 05:04 PM · I'm with the people who are trying to match Sevcik, etc., to assist in developing the technique needed to play the literature they are studying. Marching through these volumes on general principles seems time-consuming without a better guarantee of success to me. Teachers who teach this way don't feel to me as though they are thinking very much about their individual students' needs. Or maybe they lack solid diagnosing skills. In which case find a teacher who can verbalize where he/she thinks you are and what you need to do next.

December 28, 2006 at 07:09 PM · Just remember: Carl Flesch made Henryk Szeryng learn ALL of the Sevcik exercises.

December 28, 2006 at 09:16 PM · Yeh and look what happened to both of them.



December 29, 2006 at 12:13 AM · Greetings,

Charlie, that is a ood point but I think one has ot be careful what one extrapolates from it.

First of all Flesch did have a slight tendency to go over board with things in terms of embracing new things (the Russian bow grip is another example). Or sometimes his writings and ideas were misinterpreted as in the infamous finger stroke as the be all and end all of bowing.

Nor will we ever be able to answer the question of whether Szeryng actually needed to do that. Or to go even further and dare to ask would he have been even better if he -hadn't- ploughed through all the sevcik.

I doubt if anyone on the planet has a higher reegard for the great man than me, but there were certain issues that cae up about his playing at times, including a tendency towards coldness on ocassion which I have, as a purely personal observation, felt in other players who grew up on a great deal of sevcik, or even in sevcik students theselves.

Idle thoughts,


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