I’ve given myself one year to master the violin.

As an adult beginner, I should be playing Twinkle Twinkle; instead, I'm playing Paganini's 24th caprice.

Scales as tools

There are two aspects of my playing that are particularly on my mind.  One is getting messy with my bow hand:  playing on the wrong string, too close to the bridge, too far away, etc.  The other is my ability to play fast.

A nice way to deal with trouble areas is with scales, so here are a couple of scale exercises with the A-major.

In this one, I force myself not to look at my left hand and only look at my bow hand.  I try to make it as clean as possible in the right hand, and I also try to build left hand trust.  Obviously you’re going to have to forgive the intonation:

It gets a little messed up at the top there, but oh well.

Here, I play single bows and try to go as fast as possible:

Yeah, I know.  It’s still not that fast, but it’s pretty fast for me!

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7 Comments on “Scales as tools”

  1. Jean says:

    This one-year project is a great experiment. I just scanned through your blog and I think it is clear you have talent. Talent consists of two things and you have them both: putting in lots of practice, and the ability to believe that you can do it. At the same time it is equally clear that your objective will not be reached! I am very much puzzled how your wife can believe otherwise. Still it is very exciting to monitor your progress in real time!

  2. Violin Teacher in VA says:

    I’m still incredibly impressed with the progress you are making. I think you (and your wife) have quite the challenge in front of you, but I’ve honestly never seen an adult (who never played as a child) make as much progress as you have in such a short time. Your foundation is really good – I particularly liked watching your index finger move with the bow as you were playing the separate bow strokes on your A Major scale. More adjustments like that, and you’ll achieve an even more fluid tone. I’m sure there are hard days ahead, but try not to be discouraged. You’re doing extremely well!

    • rrvaughn says:

      Thanks for the encouragement and support! I’ll be honest though, I get frustrated and discouraged on an almost daily basis. Luckily, there are enough little rewarding gems to keep me going, although the blog itself helps quite a bit in the “helps to keep me going” department

  3. reader says:

    Super impressed here too! Checking in almost every day. I’m not enough of an expert to speculate on whether you’ll “make it”, but from your reflections it doesn’t seem like the paganini is your only goal anyway – the journey itself will hopefully be worthwhile and transformative 🙂


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