Scales: D and B flat major, G and D minor 2 octaves separate bows. 2 contrasting pieces.

Welcome to your lesson notes page Ella!

Fri 24th June 2022


  • Play this at least once a week to keep it familiar.
  • Listen to avoid any scratchiness, especially when you’re busy shifting.


  • Start in the middle of your bow and try to keep your bow straight – ask someone to watch and tell you how you’re doing!
  • Practice the up, up, down bowing on one note (maybe a B?) before you start.
  • Be on the lookout for low C naturals! 🔍
  • We learnt the first 8 bars, but feel free to look on further if you get time.

Thu 16th June 2022


  • Start all of these on a down bow.
  • Play these a bit faster now, using smaller bows.
  • In B flat major, make sure all 1st fingers touch the nut.
  • See if you can find your B flat without playing the G and A test notes – still put the fingers on just as carefully though.
  • Add the minors to your scale practice. For the scales, get someone to help you with the tuning of the 3rd, 6ths and 7ths.
  • Keep your bow light and your left hand relaxed with the left wrist down.


  • Try to sing the tune in your head as you play – this will help keep your flow going over the shifts.
  • In 15-18, “close the gap” will be much easier with a low wrist.
  • In this too, try to keep your bow light – remember it is a lullaby!
  • When in 3rd position on the A string, careful not to get the E string with your bow.

Fri 27th May 2022

23rd June.

Singin’ in the Rain

  • Prepare your 3rd finger before you start.
  • Listen out to make sure you’re not tickling the other strings – good posture and a straight bow will help with this.


  • Always start these on a down bow.
  • Aim for a really straight straight bow.
  • In D major, shift to a first finger on the second D (on the A string). This means the whole of the top octave is in 3rd position.
  • In B flat major, use all 4th fingers and no open strings. All your 1st fingers need to nbe right back next to the nut.


  • Well done finding the D (2nd notes). Chek your G is in tune too (1st note) – it tends to be a bit high.
  • See how far you can get with the rest of the piece.

Fri 27th May 2022

Keep working on your sight reading, with a bit more focus on rhythm.


  • Great work on your rhythm and low 2nd fingers in this!
  • We worked on the 3rd position on the 2nd line today – you’ll also find exactly the same shift in bar 21, so try that too!
  • Watch some violinists on YouTube and see how much shifting they do – I promise once you get used to it, shifting opens up a whole new world of violin playing to you and you’ll be doing it without thinking twice!

Fri 20th May 2022

Keep working on the shifting exercise from last week.


  • Start with an up bow in the middle of your bow.
  • Get to the heel every time it says “nut”.
  • After the first 4 notes, shift all the way down to 1st position.
  • Get more comfortable with the 4th finger in bar 8.

Theme from Berceuse

  • Keep playing this in 1st position for now, as suggested in last week’s comments.
  • Remember that all 2nd fingers are low in this piece, as they are C and G naturals.
  • In bars 3, 7, 11 etc. make sure your 2nd note holds over into the next bar, rather than starting the next slur of quavers on the 1st beat.

Thu 12th May 2022

Finding 3rd position – play the warm-up exercise on your audition piece page, making sure your thumb moves at the same time as your 1st finger – it is the car that takes the people (your fingers) to their destination.


  • Play the first 6 notes of your warm-up exercise before playing, to get your hand in 3rd position. Then play DEF#G to get ready for you first note. Make sure your thumb is opposite your 1st finger!
  • Practice up to the pencil line.

Theme from Berceuse

  • Think about the C natural before you start.
  • Hold the ties a little longer.
  • I’ve written some 3rd position fingerings in, but ignore these for now – we’ll just get used to the melody first.

Thu 28th Apr 2022

Keep up the good work on your sight reading! Play your prep scales with long tonics, and up the tempo.

Singin’ in the Rain

  • Watch out for rhythm in 9.
  • In 17 and 18, think of the bow skipping on the last notes (because there’s no slur).
  • Notice that 21, 23, 25, 27 and 31 have the same rhythm, and 29 is the odd one out. (The main one to watch out for is that 31 shouldn’t be llike 29!).
  • In 33, keep the first note super short and springy.
  • Pluck the last note near the middle of the string (over the fingerboard).

Thu 21st Apr 2022

Sight Reading

We did exercise 1. Work on a few at home and tick them off once you’ve done them. Here’s how:

  • Work out the key;
  • Play the scale;
  • Clap the rhythm (I forgot to do this in the lesson!);
  • Practice for 1 minute;
  • Play the exercise.

Singin’ in the Rain

  • In bar 5, listen to the G. How clear was it? If it was muffled, change string quicker and sooner.
  • Make sure bar 13 and 15 are different rhythms.
  • Work on 13-20, concentrating lots on the bowing.
  • Learn the rest of the piece, watching out for bowing especially in bar 33.

Fri 25th Mar 2022

Singin’ in the Rain

  • Make sure all upbeats are on up bows.
  • Great work on the swung quavers, but remember that bar 10 and bar 26 are straight!
  • Notice the difference between bars 13 and 15.
  • Decide if you’d like to play the last note with your left hand or right hand.

Start looking at another Grade 3 piece – or two!

Fri 18th Mar 2022

38. Caribbean Sunshine

  • Work hard on getting your bowings right in this one, especially in bar 14!
  • Watch out at 10 and 11 – there are only 3 E upbeats this time!

Choose a Grade 3 piece to start working on.

Fri 11th Mar 2022

38. Caribbean Sunshine

  • Play a 2 octave A major scale to warm up for this, noticing which notes are sharp.
  • Play this piece mainly in the lower half of the bow for a nice strong sound.
  • Remember to start on an up bow!
  • Watch out for high 3rd fingers on your G and D strings.

Keep practising Somebody’s Knocking at Your Door.

Fri 25th Feb 2022

Te Deum

  • Make sure you remember all the slurs.
  • Practice bar 7 to get it really confident.
  • Learn the next section. The last section is the same as the first, so you can then play the whole thing through!

30. Somebody’s Knocking At Your Door

  • Warm up for this with an E major scale.
  • Use your E major knowledge to help you tune the G# in bar 1.
  • Careful of the rhythm in 9 and 17 – it’s just crotchets! 😄

Fri 11th Feb 2022

25. That’s How it Goes

  • Pay close attention to you dynamics.
  • Keep your left wrist down.
  • Work on any bits where your fingers are sliding into tune.
  • You played quietly really well, but make sure you keep the same tempo.

24. Prelude to Te Deum

  • Watch out for the up bow at the start slur in bar 1.
  • Careful with your crotchet at quaver rhythms.
  • Low 2s on the E string.

Fri 4th Feb 2022

Castle on a Cloud

  • Work on the middle section as you won’t play it as often as the outer sections.
  • Keep your bow super smooth on the slurs.
  • Keep your 2nds lows and your 4s high.
  • In 15, try to keep the last note in the slur.

That’s How it Goes

  • Keep playing this to get even better at the second half.

Start the Show

  • Keep practising this but see if you can add some dynamics and think about keeping your left wrist low.
  • How punchy can your last 3 notes be?

Pick another one to sight read!

Fri 28th Jan 2022

That’s how it goes!

  • Great work on this Ella!
  • Play a G major scale and arpeggio to warm up for this piece, thinking about your 2nd finger positions before you start.
  • In the piece, listen out for clear bowing which doesn’t accidentally hit other strings.
  • Remember to use longer bows to help you slow down for the crotchet bars.
  • In 8 and 16, remember to change string really quickly at the start of the bar.
  • Work on 21-24 to get used to the notes.
  • Choose another piece in the book.

Castle on a Cloud

  • Look back two lessons to find practice tips for this.

Fri 21st Jan 2022

Allegretto in G (Fiddle Time Runners)

  • Use this as your sight reading practice this week.
  • Look at all the details before you start playing, such as up bow, slur, key signature (what key is it in, and coud you play that scale to warm up and find out where your 2nd fingers should be?).
  • Can you remember how I would count you in for this piece? (Answer at the bottom of this web page! 😄)

Castle on a Cloud

  • Check last week for practice tips on this.

Fri 14th Jan 2022

Castle on a Cloud

  • You’ve made a great start on this!
  • Look out for notes at the end of phrases not being slurred into the notes before.
  • Aim not to slow down when you change string.
  • Keep an eye out for the bowing from bar 12.

Pick a Bale of Cotton (Fiddle Time Runners)

  • Practice the first two lines thinking lots about rhythm.
  • Use the rest of the piece as sight reading practice, one line at a time.
  • Try to notice all the details before you play each line, like rhythm and bowing.

Fri 10th Dec 2021


Sounding great today! Just remember to get louder as you go through the piece.


  • Keep your bow light as you use your 4th finger.
  • Even shorter on the staccatos in 7 and 8 if you can!
  • Well done on your lovely long last note! Even longer on the note before if you can.
  • Look out for the dynamics in this piece too.

Little Bird

  • Nice work Ella!
  • Careful not to be too slow at the end, and remember your quaver rest 3 before the end!


  • Practice the minors and arpeggios the most.
  • Try to keep the notees continuous with as few gaps as possible by thinking ahead.

Sight reading

  • Be sure to notice the key signature and time signature before you start.
  • Use the time they give you to practice! It should be about a minute.

But most of all… Enjoy yourself and GOOD LUCK!!

Fri 3rd Dec 2021


  • Great leading in of your accompanist!
  • Keep your left wrist down to help you with these two spots: low 2 in bar 2 and low 1 in bar 10.
  • Retake your bow to start line 3 down bow.


  • This is sounding really good Ella!
  • Aim a little higher with your 3rd finger in 13 and 14 – remember the gaps are the same 1-2 and 2-3.
  • Slow bow on your last 2 notes and hold the last note until you run out of bow!

Little Bird

  • Try this with a metronome this week.
  • The F# in the first bar needs to be super high, especially if you’ve just been playing the other pieces with low 1sts.

Practice a piece of sight reading every practice session and keep going with those scales!

Fri 26th Nov 2021


  • On lines 1 and 2, make sure the first bar has a clear open A before you change string.
  • Build the dynamics in the 2nd half.
  • Work on your low 2nd fingers n the E string.
  • Keep thinking about that olympic swimmer bowing!


  • Careful of your finger placement in 13 and 14.
  • Be aware of the dynamics all the way through – there are a lot!
  • Practice your slow bow on the last note – aim for 6 beats.
  • Work on holding the note before the last note for long enough.

Little bird

  • Try this with a metronome to make sure it’s consistently fast enough.
  • Make a big difference in the p section, then much louder in the mf.

Work on one sight reading exercise each practice – look at the key signature and time signature first, then count yourself in and clap the rhythms, then count yourself in and play it.

Practice some aural too, and bring me a list of any scales you’d like help on next lesson.

Fri 12th Nov 2021


  • Keep the bow moving all the time, just like an Olympic swimmer!
  • Practice any bars with 4th fingers until you can play them without hesitating.
  • Think more about the dynamics.


  • See if you can play your scales and arpeggios with Olympic swimmer bowing too!
  • Remind me to send scale pick’n’mix if I haven’t yet!

Little Bird

  • Your tuning is great when you think about it, so make sure you do before you start!
  • You may need to budge your 2nd finger out of the way a little to get your 3rd finger in tune.
  • Think about Olympic swimmer bowing in this too!

Fri 5th Nov 2021

Scales – Practice C major scale and arpeggio this week.

Little Bird

  • Be bold with your sound – start stronger and get even stronger for the f.
  • Take more notice of the dynamics.
  • Make a real difference between the G#s and the G naturals.


  • Keep your bow flowing in the mp opening section.
  • In bar 1, nice and high with your 2nd finger.
  • In bar 2, nice and low with your 2nd finger.
  • In bar 3, nice and low with your 1st finger.
  • Work on your louder dynamics in your 2nd half.

Fri 22nd Oct 2021


  • Keep a close lookout for all the slurs, especially when the tune tune is higher.
  • Practice bars 5 and 6 with 4th fingers.
  • Keep your bow nice and strong in the higher tune.
  • Watch out for the staccatos in bat 15 – where they are and where they aren’t!

Fri 8th Oct 2021


  • Play the notes in bar 7 as long notes. Listen to the Es and see if they match.

Little Bird

  • Practice the first 5 notes with a pianist to check your tuning.
  • Choose a speed and stick to it by counting yourself in with “1,2,1+2+”.

Scale clinic: come to next lesson telling me which scale(s) you need help with.

Fri 1st Oct 2021


  • Use longer bows for the crotchets and shorter bows for the quavers.
  • Before you start playing, think about your low 1st fingers.
  • Play a D minor scale with Minuett’s rhythm on every note, like we did in the lesson.


  • Remember the slurs.
  • Think about your hand shapes in this one too – it is also in D minor, so it’s the same finger patterns as Minuett.

Little Bird

  • Make sure your change your finger placement in this one as there are F#s!
  • Just practice up to the end of bar 20 this week.

Fri 24th Sep 2021

Words to learn: Crescendo (gradually getting louder) and diminuendo (gradually getting quieter).

Finale from Water Music

  • Great rhythm! Careful to keep the tempo steady.
  • Focus on the dynamics this week.

Pick a Bale of Cotton

  • We learnt the first line. See how much further you can get!

Grade 2 prep

  • Revise the scales you’ve already learnt and start looking at the new ones if you have time.
  • Revisit your grade pieces.

Fri 17th Sep 2021

Bow hold – Put the tip of your little finger on the face of the octagon just towards you, and make sure your middle two fingers are opposite your thumb.

Water Music

  • We learnt about time signatures. What does the top number tell you? What does the bottom number tell you?
  • Practice the 2nd half more to work on any places you hesitate or slow down.
  • Can you tell me all about dynamics next lesson?
  • How many dynamics can you show in this piece?

Fri 10th Sep 2021

Your first lesson with me! 😄🎻

Great job tuning your violin today! We’ll practice this skill every lesson and it’ll get easier each time.

Remember to check your bow is tight enough with your little finger between the wood and the hair.

Finale from the “Water Music”

Well done with your 4th fingers in this! Here are 3 things for you to focus on this week, in this piece and any others you decide to play:

  • One thing to listen out for: is your bow angle right? If you touch any next-door strings or the side of the violin lift or lower your right elbow.
  • One thing for your left hand : is your left wrist down? Try to keep it low and relaxed.
  • One thing for your right hand: Try to build up your new bow hold like we did in the lesson:
    • Hold the middle of the bow with your left hand
    • Make a rabbit shadow puppet with your right hand
    • Put the very tip of your your thumb on the wood between the lapping and the frog
    • Fold your middle fingers over the bow, like the rabbit’s teeth
    • Tap your little finger on its tip
    • Wrap your index finger around the stick
    • Check your thumb and little finger are still curved and on their tips
    • Press a little with your little finger and take the weight of the bow with it: now you can let go with your left hand! 😄

Answer to lesson notes question 21st Jan 2022:


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