100 Days of Scales: Flesch? Galamian? Fischer?
My friend and I (he, a rusty advanced player; I, a rusty advanced intermediate player) are trying to get out of our respective non-playing funks by challenging each other to play at least 15 minutes of scales, properly, every day.
He swears by Galamian (which I don't own). I have my old/overwhelming Flesch (with fingerings and notes from former teachers), the Barbara Barber version (easier!), Hrimaly (from the early days, I guess). But I'm intrigued both by Galamian and by the Simon Fischer book, and Sheet Music Plus is having a 20% off sale on methods books right now.
So, quickly: if you were to add either Galamian or Fischer to this library, which would you choose, and why?
PS: Started yesterday with B-flat major, first page of Flesch exercises. For some reason I never worked on one-string scales with my teachers and I find the novelty refreshing.
Buy the Galamian, at least for the excellent rhythm & bowing variations. I still recommend the Flesch you have for thirds & octaves of both types, and the excellent 1-4 exercises. Easy to cover in 15 minutes, though I must add, it would be good if you had more than 15 minutes (I understand it may not be possible inany cases.)
"I love the Gilels, but it is hard to find in the US, though it can be ordered from the EU, and is also available as a PDF somewhere."
Really, for a 100-day challenge, you want something that you can do sustainably, that's not going to break your heart or your hands. Doing a whole Flesch "scale study" for a couple of self-described "rusty" amateurs sounds like a recipe for disaster.
Wanted to add that perhaps it's best to ignore the Gilels for now, as it is rather advanced in nature. (Though of course, it is crucial to play in very high positions in due time, as scales are meant to be harder than most repertoire on purpose.)
We want to be able to do a variety of fingerings depending on the musical context, rhythm, and bowing. Don't get stuck on any one book. Postpone the Flesch, you have the Barber and Hrimaly. An inexpensive one is Sevcik, Op. 1, part 3, first half of the book. Then, to really break up the mental cob-webs; Ricci has a three-octave scale with only 1/2-step crawl-shifts.
Barbara Barber Scales for Advanced Violinists
These are all good scale methods discussed. There's also a Ysaye scale study which some of my friends really enjoy. From what I know, Flesch is the most complex out of them all. I like Hrimaly because it's more concise, and you don't have to play 100 arpeggios for each key. At the end of the day, it's more important *how* you play these scales, ratber than which method you choose to use.
You can be rusty in different ways and to different extents.
Another vote for Barbara Barber scales. Absolutely brilliant for many people, and I enjoy using it for my own viola practice.
Another vote for Barbara Barber's efficiently laid-out books.
Alright; Barbara Barber it is. Thanks, everyone!
I think a couple of hours of playing, standing, would be a lot better than a few pushups or situps in terms of general energy expenditure at least. And playing music and striving to improve in that better than mechanical scales as such.
I have a book by Dalmasso which my third teacher made me buy (50 years ago). It is called "esercizi giornalieri" and has on about 40 pages a sort of concentrate of the most fundamental stuff from Sevcik combined with a series of scale exercises. My teacher at the time said it was ideal for amateurs who don't have time to spend a lot of time on scales. I think he was right and I still have the book (it came as a bunch of loose pages; a friend of mine had it bound for me as a birthday present) and use it occasionally.
To be honest, I love scales, and cannot imagine a day of practice without at least a bit of scale work. Daily thirds and some other scale practice are near essential in my particular case, even when time is tight-otherwise, everything else I practice suffers a bit, and thus I feel time is wasted.
I had the opportunity to play several times for Nathan Milstein in a semester long series of masterclasses he gave at Juilliard in the early 1970's. At the conclusion of this remarkable series he invited the students involved to a little party at his NY apartment.
This reminds me of my teacher - who believes in keeping everything in context of the music we're working on. No scale books - rather we work on the scales/arpeggios for the current work at hand. As I learn different scales/arps/positions then I add them to my daily "warmup" which I suspect is more than that. I will say that I've progressed much further in the last 1.75 years than I ever dreamed possible since returning to the violin.
I think scales can be interesting, especially if one is slow and thoughtful. I'm recognizing, for example, basic mechanical issues to be mindful of–e.g. a solid-but-not-tense hand frame, the need to work on the stretch between my third and fourth fingers, the left elbow movement that supports 4th finger intonation as I move up and down the strings, and certain shift patterns that feel less secure than others (the 1st finger 3rd position to 4th finger 1st position in the G Major scale, for example). And that's before I even start thinking about my bow arm.
Galamian is more practical as a daily scales book. You have yourself a handful if you get the contemporary violin technique book as well as the dreaded "Blue Book" of double stops :D
This discussion has been archived and is no longer accepting responses.