The Yost System for Violin

November 22, 2022, 10:35 AM · The Yost System for Violin was mentioned in a recent article on Pinchas Zukerman in The Strad magazine. I remember reading decades ago that Dorothy Delay used Yost with her students, though PZ studied with Galamian, not Delay. Does anyone have any experience with the Yost System and, if so, any thoughts you can share? Thank you.

Replies (11)

November 22, 2022, 11:23 AM · My son has used bits and pieces of it. He was introduced to it at his summer program technique class and he actually found it really helpful for shifting and some other techniques. It's difficult to get ahold of a lot of the materials, though some of it is on IMSLP (3 books). A quick Google seems to show that the only way to get the books is directly from his estate.
Edited: November 22, 2022, 2:14 PM · It’s very effective; Stephen Clapp (former student of both DeLay and Galamian, I believe) used the Exercises in Change of Position with me at Oberlin.

I use some of the concepts when teaching out of the Whistler book, Introducing the Positions

November 22, 2022, 4:21 PM · The Yost system for shifting goes through every possible shift on the violin up to 7th position. It can be useful as it provides a system for shifting. However, it is useless if used in a mindless way. If you apply the concepts of effective shifting which are fairly simple, then there is no need to go through the entire book.
November 22, 2022, 6:08 PM · I used yost religiously in college, but not lately.
Edited: November 22, 2022, 6:58 PM · I make all of the students I work with explore the Yost 1-finger scales. We target specific skills needed to get around the fingerboard effectively.

It is an eye-opening experience!

November 22, 2022, 8:37 PM ·

Above link provides demonstration and has a remark about public domain availability with a link.

November 22, 2022, 11:03 PM · His grandson (?) with the same name is a member of this site and sells the books. There are several of them that are really excellent, epecially yhe one on shifting, but also the one on Harmonics/Pizzicato, his book on double stopping and his treatise on Spivakovskys way of bowing.
November 23, 2022, 10:06 AM · How does this compare with the work of Simon Fischer, who seems to have pinched all my own tricks and added a whole lot more?!
Edited: November 23, 2022, 11:08 AM · Alexander, I don't know. After reading "Zukerman recommends .... violinists loosen up by practising The Yost System for Violin, and play while standing on a chair to ensure stability and minimal body movement" I decided I better look up some more about that, so I checked out what is visible on IMSLP.

What I saw there in the Yost fingering exercises reminded me of some guidance on shifting by our violin coach** at our local college/community orchestra some 20 years ago. He advised that when making big shifts (as often occurred in some of the 1st violin parts of orchestra music we were playing) we should aim the first finger, rather than the target finger. It definitely seemed to work for me.

** Our violin coach was Charles Meacham, who had been principal 2nd violin of the San Francisco Symphony and Opera Company Orchestra for 20 years and concertmaster of our local regional Symphony (The Marin Symphony) for 40 years and on the music faculty of the College of Marin for 16 years, and the premier private violin teacher in Marin County for more than 50 years. He died in 2009. I don't know if he used The Yost System, but I have known a number of his former students and will ask one after Thanksgiving. That "first-finger target" sort of sounds like he knew of it.

November 23, 2022, 3:42 PM · Adrian, I only have one Simon Fischer book, but my general impression is that Simon Fischer tends to be general, while Yost is overly specific, providing exercise for every possible situation you might encounter, especially regarding shifting.
November 23, 2022, 11:55 PM · Yost is more like Sevcik or Dounis than Fischer. Lots of excercises, few words.

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