Perky Pinky

Title: Perky Pinky

Description: A cheeky little piece to flex your 4th finger! Fun fact: there are 119 notes in the piece and 62 of them are played with the 4th finger. Make each one count!

Level: Level 3, Level 4

Topics: 4th Finger

This piece, as well as being a cheekily catchy tune, is great for strengthening the little finger, and improving the action as it lifts and drops.

In some passages of the piece (e.g. bars 1 & 2, 9 & 10, 21 & 22) the 4th finger should remain pressed down on the string, firm and stable but not overly tense, never squeezing, never clenching.

For the brisker quaver passages (e.g. bars 3, 11, 23) the little finger should lift and drop really quickly, free and supple, pinging up and down with ‘electricity’.

And, in bars 17-20, the 4th finger needs to hop nimbly across the string, well-coordinated with the bow and with as little gap in the sound as possible. Think of it like the quicksilver hop of a frog across lily pads! If it feels extra difficult performing this action with the 4th finger (which it undoubtedly will!), then try it with the other fingers and then ‘transpose’ that same feeling into the pinky!

A note should never suffer because it is being played with the 4th finger! So, every time you use it, give yourself a little inner boost of confidence, and be proud of your pinky!

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First Finger Shenanigans

Title: First Finger Shenanigans

Description: Time for some first finger shenanigans! Practise bringing your hand to the instrument and, using all your senses, drop the first finger in the right place every time.

Level: Level 1

Topics: 

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Study in A major

Title: Study in A major

Description: This study is jam-packed full of violinistic nutrients … scales, arpeggios and lots of string crossings! And, there are 72 bowing and rhythm patterns to choose from!

Level: Level 3, Level 4, Level 5, Level 6, Level 7, Level 8

Topics: Scales, Arpeggios, String Crossing, Bowing Patterns, Rhythm Patterns, Articulation

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Double Stopping March

Title: Double Stopping March

Description: Drill your double stopping with this high-spirited march in G major, a super study full of driving dotted rhythms and energetic eighth notes.

Level: Level 7, Level 8

Topics: Double Stopping

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Lament in D minor

Title: Lament in D minor

Description: This lilting lament is a lovely duet for two violins … it’s also great for practising string crossings, producing syncopated rhythms, and playing in 3rd position!

Level: Level 5, Level 6, Level 7, Level 8

Topics: Accidentals, Syncopation, String Crossing, Shifting, 3rd Position, Portato

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Second Chances

Title: Second Chances

Description: Give yourself a second chance and play this lovely, lilting piece entirely in 2nd position! See how many second chances you need before it’s absolutely perfect!

Level: Level 4, Level 5, Level 6, Level 7

Topics: 2nd Position

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The Last Shift

Title: The Last Shift

Description: Nearly there, you can do it, it’s The Last Shift! This is great piece for practising 4th finger shifts, moving between 1st and 3rd position. Now, get back to work!

Level: Level 4, Level 5, Level 6, Level 7, Level 8

Topics: 4th Finger, Shifting

The Last Shift is really great for practising 4th finger shifts, moving between 1st and 3rd position on the A and E strings. There are 12 shifts in total, and they all need to be clean and accurate - in line with stringent health and safety regulations!

Sometimes the shifts take place during slurred notes, and sometimes they happen between staccato notes.

For the slurs, leave the shift as late as possible, so we don’t hear too much of the slidey sound between notes. It’s ok if there’s a little slide, as long as it’s subtle and mellifluous, not crude and conspicuous! The shifting action should be smooth, not jerky. Slightly release the finger pressure on the string, reducing the resistance, and then glide gracefully up and down.

For the staccato notes, you’ll need to time the shifting movement so that it takes place exactly in the gap between the notes. For these, you can shift as early as possible, so you land in place with plenty of time to spare. Maybe even time for a tea break! We don’t want to hear any slidey sounds at all between the staccato notes, they should be completely clear and clean.

Try to have a really good sense in your mind of the distance you need to shift, before you move the hand. Also, try to hear the note in your head, the one you want to shift to, before you move the hand. Visualising and audiating will give you the confidence you need to perform the action securely and reliably.

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Barn Dance

Title: Barn Dance

Description: Yeeeeeee-haaaaaaaaaw! Get your feet tapping with this romping barn dance, great for practising open string double stops! See how fast you can get the ending!

Level: Level 2, Level 3, Level 4

Topics: Double Stopping

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Salutations

Title: Salutations

Description: Greetings and salutations! This bold but welcoming, Scotch-snappy tune will help you to familiarise yourself with the key of E major in one octave in first position.

Level: Level 3, Level 4, Level 5

Topics: E major, Scotch Snaps, Ties

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Make it a Double

Title: Make it a Double

Description: Enjoy that little bit extra as you make it a double! Keep your first finger across two strings throughout and then quaff those delectable double stops!

Level: Level 3, Level 4, Level 5

Topics: 

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On the Straight and Narrow

Title: On the Straight and Narrow

Description: A great set of exercises to practise landing each finger in the same place across the strings. Whatever you do, don’t be lead astray … keep on the straight and narrow!

Level: Level 1

Topics: 

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Second Nature

Title: Second Nature

Description: For this lovely, lilting piece, you’ll only need the second finger of the left hand. Each time, it should land at the interval of a major 3rd above the open string.

Level: Level 1

Topics: 2nd Finger only

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Weeping Willow

Title: Weeping Willow

Description: A sorrowful, lyrical tear-jerker of a tune for which you’ll only need the first and second fingers of the left hand (and a handkerchief to wipe away the tears!)

Level: Level 1

Topics: 1st and 2nd Finger

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