Welcome to your lesson notes page Ella!

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 (Fidde 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! 😄
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