What technique are you practicing?

October 12, 2017, 1:23 PM · Hi! I got this idea from the What'cha Playing thread which I think is fun and interesting. It gave me the idea to start a discussion on what technique everyone is practicing.

I'm currently doing left hand pizzicato, Sefcic 40 Variations, Simon Fischer's Basics and Paganini Caprices No. 5 & 7

Wish I had more time to practice...

Replies (18)

October 12, 2017, 1:55 PM · Me too, can never get enough but there are other responsibilities that need met. Anyway, I'm working on Schradieck scale studies and dexterity. Of course there are the many aspects to beginning violin such as long bowing and crossings.
Edited: October 12, 2017, 2:50 PM · Spiccato for my Haffner Rondo. Scales in thirds just cuz.
Edited: October 12, 2017, 5:19 PM · All the basics for LH an RH. I find polishing techniques in isolation of music context is not only dry but also kind of useless. It is much easier to deal with technical issues in a piece that I'm working on because once you have an idea what they are supposed to contribute to the music, the technique makes sense. That said, I had fun spent one week last summer at a boot-camp working on nothing but techniques among pre-professional kids in our community conservatory. There is no mystery. If you play the 3 octave major, minor (harmonic and melodic) and chromatic scales and arpeggios, double stops (3rds, 6th, octaves and 10th), one key/day, with different bowings, soon or later, you'll be in pretty good shape and you can pretty much do anything you want. This is basically what I try to keep up everyday for at least 30 min.
October 12, 2017, 8:48 PM · I like to work on techniques away from rep so the latter doesn't get too stale.
Edited: October 12, 2017, 9:17 PM · I don't spend a lot of time working on techniques within a rep. If it's an intonation issue, then work on scales of certain keys that I tend to have problem, such as E minor, haha! If it's a string cross issue, well, work on scales with string cross bowing, etc. I find, so far, pretty much any technical issue I run into in a rep can be fixed in scale practice within short sessions. When I work on a new piece, technical issues usually get worked on during the first a few weeks, then there will be months working on fluency, shaping and refining...
October 12, 2017, 9:50 PM · I work on both isolated technique and technique within repertoire. I strongly believe in a proper balance between technique and musicality. I don't really play etudes, just scales and exercises. I'm polishing and refining basic and advanced skills, since I've covered most techniques on the planet.
Edited: October 13, 2017, 5:10 AM · In the way of technical I've recently been picking one or two measures per day from Etude no.2 by Dont Op.35 and getting just that measure clean, loud and up to tempo. Since I am turning 50 in a few months I am concerned about retaining my speed. So far I am not really noticing deterioration yet, but just to be sure:-) It's similar to taking one or two Sevcik measures each day, but more fun knowing you are working on a serious Etude! I've also been working regularly recently on double-stopped octaves, getting them totally in tune, relaxed hands and with vibrato. What I do is just to play a nice simple tune that pops up inside my head and try to play it beautifully in octaves.
October 13, 2017, 5:16 AM · hi Paul, you probably have heard of the trick to practice spiccato passages (scales, passages, anything) by starting up-bow, which is more awkward, but it improves the efficiency of your spiccato practice substantially!
October 13, 2017, 6:42 AM · The last third of Kreutzer etudes

Scales in thirds, sixths, octaves, tenths.

October 13, 2017, 11:50 AM · There are so many aspects of violin technique and they all need to be worked on. Either to learn the technique or to improve existing technique or to keep it up. I sort of rotate what I concentrate on. Last year I worked a lot on scales and arpeggios and double stops. Then I spent a few months working on single finger scales and glissando double stops. Now most of my technical work is Paganini. That will keep me busy for a while. ;) Not sure yet what I'll do next but I'm certainly getting inspiration here.
I also find the solo works by Bach very helpful for developing technique.
Edited: October 13, 2017, 12:43 PM · Well, Vivien, the fact of being a student of Ruggiero Ricci tells me that your technique is beyond solid. It's inspiring violinist at your level is still keep working on it.

I think it's Hilary Hahn who said that, with the violin, the better you are, the harder it gets because you have to take more and more issues/factors into consideration as you advance. I certainly find this to be the case and perhaps this is why learning violin is so fascinating -- you can keep challenging and learning, not just the violin but also yourself. It's like reading certain books that have such profound depth that the more you read, the more you get out of them; whereas most books you only need to read or skim once.

October 13, 2017, 11:16 PM · Yixi: Absolutely! I feel the same way and I really like your analogy to great books. There is so much to discover, so many aspects, in a way one remains a student of the violin for life. This is one if the things I love about the violin. And because if this, I don't feel my technique is rock solid, just something that I can work on and improve ;)
If you are interested in this sort of thing, I can highly recommend the two books Ricci wrote on technique. They are the result of his life long research on how Paganini played. The first is called 'Left Hand Violin Technique', the second one is 'Ricci on Glissando'. You might enjoy them. :)
Edited: October 14, 2017, 5:43 PM · Kreutzer, Kreutzer, and more Kreutzer. Also...Sevcik Op. 8, Dounis, and Schradieck. Plus scales & arpeggios, along with 3rds.
October 14, 2017, 6:08 PM · Vivien, I've got the 'Ricci on Glissando', but I haven't worked on it yet. Any tip about how to approach this book will be much appreciated.
October 14, 2017, 7:39 PM · Jean yes my teacher a long time ago suggested doing as many studies as I can with both bow directions. But I haven't tried it for spiccato passages in rep. Now, I will!
Edited: October 14, 2017, 9:41 PM · Paul, you probably won't believe this. I find spiccato to be one of the easiest bowing techniques and don't need too much isolated practice. This is how I deal with it. If it's very fast ones, I would just play détaché until I can play it cleanly and in tempo, then spiccato can just happen when I "ask" the bow to do it. The key is a) find a sweet spot on the bow; b) fingers relaxed and flexible; and c)keep bow hair on one place as much as possible. That said, repeated string crossing can be challenging with spiccato. I do practice it on scale pretty much daily part of warm up as follows:

Play spiccato triplets from G string to E in any key you like. Make sure you don't use 4th finger, but only open string like this: GAB GAB BCD BCD BCD BCD CDE CDE ... all the way up to the E string and down. Fun!

October 16, 2017, 7:03 AM · Yixi: Ricci goes into a lot of detail in his book on glissando technique. It has to do with keeping your hand in one position (usually third position) and reaching down and up instead of shifting. That gives you a lot more control because you are measuring the distances with your finger instead of your whole arm. You start learning this with one-finger scales on one string. What I like about this book is that it complements the classical violin technique very well. I would suggest you read it first, then start with the single-finger scales. If you have questions, I'll be glad to help.
October 16, 2017, 7:28 AM · So, I'm practicing:

- slow scales for intonation & shifting. The following in one key - one octave across two strings with attention to the hand position in string crossing, then one octave up a string shifting (starting anywhere between first and 7th position), then one or two octaves in repeated two finger patterns (e.g. 121212, 232323, 343434) combining shifting and string crossing, then one octave in octaves.

- vibrato - set a metronome to 54 and practice vibrato at speeds of 1/1, 1/2, 1/3, 1/4 of a beat ensuring the finger motion is wide and even and thew rist and arm motions are proportional

- Kreutzer no.1 for tone production, shifting, intonation and vibrato. It's a good one to put all of that together.

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