Belknap Practicing System
violin
Left Hand Violin Exercises

Exercise Index













Shifting & Ear Training
[Return to Index]

(based on the Yost System)

*Tuning CD-Track 8, G

*Practice in all keys with the appropriate track on the "Tuning CD".

= about 40 (each note . . . very, very slow!)

Part 1 - One Finger Scales (something here, find in book)
shifting music

Part 2 - Two Finger Scales (something here, find in book)
shifting music

Part 3 - One Finger Arpeggios (something here, find in book)
shifting music

Learning Concepts

  • Increases your familiarity and comfort in all positions.
  • Develops confidence and accuracy in all positions.
  • Develops understanding of what to listen for while shifting.
  • Improves your ear training and overall intonation.


Instructions
1. Relax fingers, hand and wrist.
2. Move arm first from the biceps to the new position dragging the hand and the finger, gliding on top of the string, never pushing forward with the fingers.
3. Push finger down in tune pressing as little as possible. You should not have to push the finger all the way to the fingerboard. If you missed the shift, "You either didn't get your arm to the right position or your finger was not thrown in the right spot" (Dorothy Delay). Try again until you can hit it 5 times in a row!
4. Know what position you're in at all times... say it out loud before you go (14 positions total)
5. Get to know what each position feels like with the arm motion or angle of the elbow joint, with the palm of the hand, and with the thumb.
6. Use all fingering possibilities.
7. Get to the next position quickly and then tune very slowly. Try not to overshoot the shift.

video Watch Videos of Shifting

One Fingered Scales 1st finger
(side)

One firgered sclaes 1st finger
(front)

One fingered scales 1st finger
(back)

Two fingered scales 1 and 2
(front)

Two fingered scales 1 and 2
(side)

One finger arpeggios 1st finger

One finger arpeggions 2nd finger

Bad Shifting Example

 

 



Tuning
[Return to Index]

(based on the Sevcik System)

*Tuning CD-Track 1 C Major

*Practice in all keys with the appropriate track on the "Tuning CD".

Start at = 40

Gradually move it up to the goal of 16th notes at = 192


violin tuning music

Learning Concepts

  • Improves the overall shape of the left hand.
  • Trains the hand to be more articulate and accurate (no muscles just a twitch).
  • Builds confidence with double-stops and improves overall intonation.
  • Increases dexterity, agility, strength and stability.

Instructions
1. Start slow and tune at = 40. As you go faster slur more notes together in one bow.
2. Finger Lifting/Dropping - Be articulate: Lift and snap fingers down like hitting a bell.
3. Repeat all patterns in all positions and keys.
4. Track daily/weekly progress in the Journal.

Warning:
If pain or extreme tightness occurs, stop immediately and see your teacher as soon as possible! Be careful with any pain you might experience doing any exercise. Try to determine if it is a sharp pain in a joint or tendon (which is very "dangerous") or soreness in a muscle that needs more conditioning (not so "dangerous").

video Watch Videos of Tuning

Tuning (front view)

Tuning (side view)


3 Octave G Major Scale (slurred)
[Return to Index]

Based on the Galamian "Contemporary Violin Technique"

G major scale

Learning Concepts

  • Increases your comfort and agility in all positions.
  • Develops confidence and accuracy in all positions.
  • Improves coordination.

 

Instructions
1. Memorize fingerings, bowings, and positions.
2. Use the WHOLE BOW on every stroke
3. Build speed:
a. Practice =88, then slowly build speed to =104.
b. Do repetitions of 2 beat segments first with left hand alone.
4. Use the "Tuning CD" to improve your intonation.
5. Practice left hand alone for speed and accuracy.

See Violin Fingerings Chart

Galaxy Music Corporation, a division of ECS Publishing, Boston, MA. Used with permission.

 

video Watch Video of 3 Octave Scale

3 Octave Scale Slurred

 


3 Octave G Major Scale (Slurred / separate)
[Return to Index]

Based on the Galamian "Contemporary Violin Technique"

G major scale

Learning Concepts

  • Increases your comfort and agility in all positions.
  • Develops confidence and accuracy in all positions.
  • Improves coordination.

 

Instructions
1. Memorize fingerings, bowings, and positions.
2. Use the WHOLE BOW on every slurred stroke, half the bow on the martelé strokes, and at the very tip or very frog for the small faster strokes 8-24.
3. Build speed:
a. Practice = 88, then slowly build speed to = 104.
b. Do repetitions of 2 beat segments with left and right hands seperately.
4. Always listen and tune to the "Tuning CD".

See Violin Fingerings Chart

 

video Watch Videos of 3 Octave Scale

3 Octave Scale Separate (side view)

3 Octave Scale Separage (front view)

Galaxy Music Corporation, a division of ECS Publishing, Boston, MA. Used with permission.

 


3 Octave Arppegios (Slurred)
[Return to Index]

You could also use Carl Flesch or Galamian arpeggio sequences.

arppegio music

Learning Concepts

  • Increases your comfort and agility in all positions.
  • Develops confidence and accuracy in all positions.
  • Improves coordination.

See Arppegios in all keys

Instructions
1. Memorize the sequence of arpeggios on the piano... start with the first 3 notes of each arpeggio.
2. Mark what position you are in above each new position. If needed get help from your teacher.
a. Find the note your finger is on in the new position.
b. Compare that note to the note that same finger plays in first position.
c. The interval between those two notes is the position you are in it's that simple.
3. Memorize fingerings, bowings, and positions on the violin.
4. Use the WHOLE BOW on every stroke.
5 . Do repetitions of 2 beat segments first with left hand alone.
6 . Always listen and tune to the "Tuning CD".

Advanced Version 1
1. After you get proficient at 40=each note try the rhythms and bowings you did on the 3 octave scales!
2. Build speed by practicing =88, then slowly build speed to = 104.

Advanced Version 2
Try doing arppegios in octaves

video Watch Videos of Arppegios

3 Octave Arpeggios

Arpeggios Advanced 1

Arpeggios Advanced 2


Thirds / Ear Training
[Return to Index]
(based on the Yost System)
You could also use Paganini Concerto No. 1, Paganini Caprice No. 18, 4, or many others.
*Tuning CD-Track 8 G Major
*Practice in all keys with the appropriate track on the "Tuning CD".
Interval Pattern: sBBssBBs = very, very slow!

similé [needs to go onto image]

#1 Broken Thirds (with each fingering possibility 3/1, 4/2, 2/1, 3/2, 4/3)
thirds music

#2 Thirds (1/3 all the way up and down and 2/4 up and down)
thirds music

#3 Thirds in Broken Thirds (1/3 up and down and 2/4 up and down)
thirds music

Learning Concepts

  • Increases your familiarity and comfort in all positions.
  • Develops confidence and accuracy in all positions.
  • Develops understanding of what to listen for while shifting.
  • Improves your ear trainings and overall intonation.

Instructions
1. Relax fingers, hand and wrist.
2. Move arm first from the biceps to the new position dragging the hand and the finger, gliding on top of the string, never pushing forward with the fingers.
3. Tune with the biceps before putting fingers down.
4. Use all fingering possibilities.
5. Know what position you're in at all times...say it out loud before you go. (14 positions total.)

Advanced Version 1
Play the 3rds in broken thirds exercise alternating between 1 and 3 and 2 and 4

Advanced Verion 2
Using the same fingering from Advanced Version 1, play with an off the string stroke

video Watch Videos of Thirds

Broken Thirds - 1st and 3rd

Thirds - 1st and 3rd

Thirds - 2nd and 4th

Thirds in Broken Thirds - 1st and 3rd

Thirds in Broken Thirds - 2nd and 4th

Thirds Advanced - Version 1

Thirds Advanced - Version 2


Octaves / Ear Training
[Return to Index]

(based on the Yost System)
You could also use Kruetzer #24, and almost any great violin concerto or Paganini Caprices.
*Tuning CD-Track 8 G Major
*Practice in all keys with the appropriate track on the "Tuning CD".
= very, very slow!


#1. Broken Octavesoctave music

#2. Octaves
octave music


#3. Octaves in Broken Thirds

octave music

Learning Concepts

  • Increases your familiarity and comfort in all positions.
  • Develops confidence and accuracy in all positions.
  • Develops understanding of what to listen for while shifting.
  • Improves your ear trainings and overall intonation.

Instructions
1. Relax fingers, hand and wrist.
2. When shifting move arm first from the biceps to the new position dragging the hand and the finger, gliding on top of the string, never pushing forward with the fingers.
3. Tune with the biceps before putting fingers down.
4. Get the 1st finger in tune and the 4th finger will tune itself.
5. Always lift and drop 1st and 4th fingers at the same time.
6. Know what position you're in at all times...say it out loud before you go. (14 positions total)
7. Press on lower string more with the bow and keep bow close to the bridge.

 

video Watch Videos of Octaves

Broken Octaves

Octaves

Octaves in Broken Thirds

 

 


Fingered Octaves/ Ear Training
[Return to Index]

(based on the Yost System)

You could also use Paganini Caprice #17, Wieniawski Concerto #2 or Sibelius Concerto.
*Tuning CD-Track 8 G Major
*Practice in all keys with the appropriate track on the "Tuning CD".
= very, very slow!


#1. Broken Fingered Octaves (with both fingering possibilities 1/3, 2/4)
fingered octaves

#2. Fingered Octaves (1/3 all the way up and down and 2/4 up and down)
fingered octaves


#3. Fingered Octaves in Broken Thirds (1/3 up and down and 2/4 up and down)

fingered octaves

Learning Concepts

  • Increases your familiarity and comfort in all positions.
  • Develops confidence and accuracy in all positions.
  • Develops understanding of what to listen for while shifting
  • Improves your ear trainings and overall intonation.

Instructions
1. Relax fingers, hand and wrist.
2. When shifting move arm first from the biceps to the new position dragging the hand and the finger, gliding on top of the string, never pushing forward with the fingers.
3. Tune with the biceps before putting fingers down.
4. Get the 1st finger in tune and the 3rd finger will tune itself.
5. Always lift and drop 1st and 3rd fingers at the same time.
6. Know what position you're in at all times...say it out loud before you go. (14 positions total)
7. Press on lower string more with the bow and keep bow close to the bridge.

Advanced Version
Try playing the fingered octaves broken in thirds exercise alternating between 1 and 3, and 2 and 4.

 

video Watch Videos of Fingered Octaves

Broken Octaves (1st and 3rd)


Broken Octaves (2nd and 4th)

Octaves (1st and 3rd)

Octaves (2nd and 4th)

Octaves in Broken 3rds (1st and 3rd)

Octaves in Broken 3rds (2nd and 4th)

Fingered Octaves Advanced


Tenths / Ear Training
[Return to Index]

(based on the Yost System)

You could also use Bruch Concerto in g minor, Paganini Concerto in D Major, Paganini Caprice 24, and others.
*Tuning CD-Track 8 G Major
*Practice in all keys with the appropriate track on the "Tuning CD".
Interval Pattern: BssBBssB
= very, very slow!

#1. Broken Tenths

tenths

#2. Tenths

tenths

#3. Tenths in Broken Thirds

tenths

Learning Concepts

  • Increases your familiarity and comfort in all positions.
  • Develops confidence and accuracy in all positions.
  • Develops understanding of what to listen for while shifting.
  • Improves your ear trainings and overall intonation.

Instructions
1. Relax fingers, hand and wrist.
2. When shifting move arm first from the biceps to the new position dragging the hand and the finger, gliding on top of the string, never pushing forward with the fingers.
3. Tune with the biceps before putting fingers down.
4. Get the 1st finger in tune and the 4th finger will tune itself.
5. Always lift and drop 1st and 4th fingers at the same time.
6. Know what position you're in at all times...say it out loud before you go. (14 positions total)
7. Press on lower string more with the bow and keep bow close to the bridge.

video Watch Videos of Tenths

Broken Tenths

Tenths

Tenths in Broken Thirds


Vibrato
[What is Vibrato] [Return to Index]

= 40-84

vibrato

Learning Concepts

  • Improves singing tone quality.
  • Improves projection.
  • Makes vibrato more audible and relaxed.

Instructions
1. Shake a small vitamin bottle (with the left hand) with the rhythms above Met=40-84.
2. Make sure the muscles being used are the biceps and triceps not the forearm.
3. Once this motion is comfortable in the biceps and triceps try to vibrato in guitar position looking at your vibrato and its motion.
4. Try with each finger in guitar position and make sure all joints are loose (arm, wrist, and finger joints) and that the motion is going straight up the violin.
5. The finger should roll from one side of the finger pad to the other side.
6. Work on changing fingers without stopping the vibrato.
7. After this is comfortable try it with the violin held up on the shoulder with all the rhythms.
8. The vibrato should always have a "ping" in the sound if the motion is correct and the first knuckle is very loose.
9. As this motion gets more natural work on loosing the wrist and fingers so as to not have tension anywhere.
10. Work on the following vibrato colors to use them in your pieces:
a. Slow Wide
b. Fast Wide
c. Slow Thin
d. Fast Thin

Side Note:
The vibrato motion should start in the big muscles (biceps and tricepts) not the muscles in the forearm where muscles are used for lifting and dropping the fingers. Once the motion is correctly started in the big muscles the wrist can be loosened and the appearance of the loose wrist vibrato returns with less tension and freer motion. All the joints, the elbow, the wrist, and the finger knuckles should be very loose.

Watch video of Vibrato (coming soon)