Help on developing consistency on scales and technical stuff
Hi, its the summer right now, and during June I vowed that I would practice as much as possible and get better before I join my youth Phil orchestra. Btw I'm fourteen.
Anyway, I did practice pretty often, including scales and etudes for about an hour, but I can't seem to develop the kind of professional consistency that professional violinists have with scales or arpeggios. I can easily slide sharp or flat no matter how much I practice. I am a pretty advanced player for my age, not super technically impressive, but I guess I have talent and musicality. Sadly that doesn't help me with good technique. You can be born with great talent, but you can't be born with fingered octaves lol (quoting somebody)
Do you guys have any tips or exercises to help develop a consistent, clear, and almost mechanical (but not tense!) left hand for scales?
Thanks very much,
Well I would suggest sitting at a piano or something and sing through the scale before playing it. That way you will have the sound of the scale in your head when you start playing said scale
Jamie, I do! But it's not so easy to describe it concisely in a forum post. Do you have a private teacher you can ask for help? If you like, I can describe the scales practice progression I use for students at your level, but it will be a long post!
Consistently play in tune during these excercises. Practice very slow and notice the out of tune notes and play them again but in tune and keep doing that until you can do it many times in a row. There isn’t really any shortcut.
Go way slow. And by way slow, I don't mean 70 or 60 BPM. I mean really super slow so you can hear every detail of every note. Recording your scales helps a lot as well. Speed will come on its own.
I agree with Mark.
When we are practicing completely alone, the pitch can drift, for both mechanical and theoretical reasons (math). For some of the sharp keys you can rely on the resonance of the instrument and the open strings. For the flat keys, maybe use an electronic tuner as drone on the key-note.
Rather than practicing "pretty often" put in at least 30 minutes DAILY.
Nate B....Perhaps describing it in a blog?
Two, or, better, at least three, 30 minute (45 minutes is better) sessions every day: you are teaching your body, you are teaching your mind. Never miss a day.
It's very important to develop one's awareness. Are you listening for the smallest flaws? Not just intonation but also making sure your shifts and string changes are clean? Are you playing your scales with an even, focused tone? The thing is that your ability to catch tiny mistakes develops in parallel with your skill at overcoming them, and that's really why it's important at the start to go very very slowly. I second Lydia's suggestion to consider Fischer's methodical approach.
A bizarre detail is that one has to love practicing scales. After a while it becomes like a meditation and going through all cycle, one learns the difference in colours specific keys bring. Your instrument will start ringing and double stops will start producing the 3rd sound, almost like a growling beast. My favourites are written by Elizabeth Gilels, both 3 octaves and 4 octaves. The system is easy to learn by heart, since fingering is consistent. Unfortunately, they are difficult to find here in NA.
Thanks very much everybody! I'll certainly try to go slower . . .
Don't feel bad because you are imperfect at age 14. To give you some context, most of the professionals you're comparing yourself to have been practising scales (properly, i.e. what's been mentioned here) most days of their life since they were around your age.
Trying to get it to exist subconsciously has to be obtained through a zillion hours of
@Lydia, thats exactly what my teacher says
You know how you can sing a song in your head? You need to be imagining the note you are about to play in your head as you play.
Muscle memory = brain memory. Everything is connected with your brain.
While I am certainly not at the level of the OP, I am finding this thread quite helpful. My teacher has assigned me several arpeggios that include 3rd position (G maj, D maj), but the bear is the "F" arpeggio for C maj that starts in 2nd and hits 5th. This latter is related to a particular piece on which I'm working.
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