Hi Jackie, welcome to your online lesson notes page!

Here is a link to a playlist of music theory videos from the Royal Irish Academy of Music. I think they’re really clear and witty at the same time so I hope they are helpful!

Mon 20th June 2022


  • Try to hit the ground running with your crotchets in the first bar – imagine playing them before you actually do.

Mango Walk

  • Practise the second half first.
  • Make sure the rhythm at the start of bar 10 is short and snappy.
  • Careful not to slur the start of bars 11 and 15 (and 3 and 7!).
  • Remember the low C natural in bar 11 (close to your 1st finger).
  • Make sure you’re nice and slow at the start of bar 12.
  • Practise from the start adding one note at a time. Make sure each stage feels easy and safe before adding the next note. Think of the up bow crotchet as big breath in. Place your 4th finger on the string before you start so you know your hand is ready for it. When you get to playing that note, remember not to put full weight on the 4th finger – it’s like a toe tap.

Tue 24th May 2022

Boat to Inverie

  • Warm up by playing all 5 notes on the A string. Think about whether your left thumb is in the most helpful place.
  • Keep the bow relaxed as you play the 4th finger.


  • Memorise bar 11 and 12, starting with 2 notes and adding one note each time. Memorise the bowing too, and keep listening for crunches.

Mango Walk

  • Touch the string with your 4th finger before you start so that it knows where it needs to go.

Tue 29th Mar 2022

Start your practice with Pano Tuner, playing A B C natural on the A string and E F# G on the E string to get your low 2nds in the right place.

Premiere Valse

  • Listen out for neat and tidy string crossings, especially when moving to a lower string.


  • Keep the tempo relaxed on the crotchets so you have enough time to play the quavers.
  • Practice bar 12 for a relaxed, smooth bow.
  • Think in 2-bar phrases, to help you keep going in your 2nd bar. The A minim is the destination.
  • Be even more diligent about your low 2nd fingers! The last line is a good one to practice this on.

Mango Walk

  • Be careful to start with your first note in tune.
  • Practice the tuning pizzicato so you don’t have to think about bowing.
  • Keep all those Cs low on the A string!

Tue 15th Mar 2022


  • Try not to slow down for the quavers.
  • Keep the bow light on the slurs.
  • In the second bar of your tune (bar 4), have all your fingers resting lightly on the string.
  • Practice bar 11 to get used to the feel of the bowing up to speed. The first half of the bar should have a mainly down-bow feeling in your bow arm, and then a mostly up-bow feeling in the second half of the bar.

Mango Walk

  • To reach the 4th finger in bar 1, try to keep your left hand relaxed and open, especially between the base of your thumb and 1st finger.
  • Keep all your 2nd fingers low.
  • Get used to the bowing pattern in bar 1 by playing crotchet quaver quaver crotchet quaver quaver on one note.
  • In 3, 7, 11 and 15, remember your 2nd finger has two different positions.

Mon 28th Feb 2022

My Favourite Things

  • To warm up, play an open string version of your first bar over and over, watching in the mirror to check your bow is straight and your string crossings are happening smoothly.
  • As you do a down bow, push out (with your right hand away from your body).
  • In your 4th and 8th bars, make sure you’re leaving a silent crotchet rest.
  • Practice line 3 for smooth bowing and opening out your hand to get the 4th finger in tune.

O What a Beautiful Morning

  • Think how the tune goes before you begin so you don’t play it too slow.
  • When you get to the chorus (bar 17), the C# on the G string needs to be very high without affecting the tuning of your other notes.

Tue 15th Feb 2022

My Favourite Things

  • Tune your 1st fingers before you start.
  • Try not to play an open D between the first two notes.
  • Imagine singing the tune before you start.
  • Let the bow flow in line 3.
  • In the tune that’s an octave higher, straighten your left wrist to help reach the 4th finger.
  • When you shift to 3rd position, make sure your thumb moves with your hand.

Mon 24th Jan 2022

You can also gently squeeze on something soft (duster, small cuddly toy or ball of socks) to help get the curved shape in your hand before placing it on the bow. This will also get across the idea of firm but not tense.

F major

  • To prepare for starting in 2nd position, play DEF (1st position) then F (2nd position). The two Fs should sound the same. Make sure your thumb moves up too.
  • When you move onto the A string, make sure your 1st finger moves directly opposite.
  • Keep your bow as light as possible.
  • Practice the open string version of the arpeggio with a light bow before adding your fingers in. You can alternate between these two versions.
  • Don’t forget you can practice the arpeggio with long bows to give yourself time to think – try not to have gaps between the notes.

Two Little Angels

  • Find an F as you did in the scale. The play the first 4 notes of the scale to get your fingers in the right place.
  • Practice some finger lift-offs.
  • Keep your elbow up to help with the bow.
  • Try to say the fingerings of the notes in the right rhythm before starting.

B flat major

  • When warming up with B flat major, make sure there is a difference between high 4s and low 4s. Sliding your thumb up to opposite your 2nd finger may help you reach your high 4s better.
  • Give Edelweiss another go once you’re more comfortable with this scale.

Try My Favourite Things.

Tue 11th Jan 2022


  • Warm up with B flat major 2 octaves.
  • Check the tuning of your B flat (A sharp) before you play the whole scale.
  • Use 4th fingers in the scale and open strings in the arpeggio.
  • Keep your bow as light as you can.
  • Remember 1st fingers are right next to the nut in this piece.
  • Just learn the first half.


  • Practice in 1st position once to get the sound in your head, then try in 2nd position with your 1st finger on the F instead.
  • Reacquaint your self with Two Little Angels in 1st position.
  • Have a think about your punchline to Knock Knock!

Fri 17th Dec 2021


  • Print off the 4 scales we chose.

19. Deck the Hall

  • Practice bar 3 slowly until the rhythm is even, listen in bar 3 to make sure we can’t hear a B in the middle of your C-A slur – taking your 1st finger off as you play the C will help.
  • Aim a little higher with your 3rd fingers on the D string.

21. The First Nowell

  • This flowed really well from around bar 4 – see if you can get it flowing right from the start. Imagining the tune before you play will help.
  • Don’t forget bars 1 and 2 are a D major scale.

23. God Rest Ye

  • On first reading each practice, take it a little slower to avoid hesitations.
  • Reach higher with the 4th fingers.
  • Try not to hesitate with your bow on string crossings and 4th fingers.
  • Practice the first bar of 4 with our guide note, then try taking it out but still putting the finger on for it.

🎄 Happy Christmas!! 🎄

Mon 6th Dec 2021


  • Find your scales list and stick them on the wall!

19. Deck the Hall

  • Prepare your low 2nd finger before you start.
  • Try not to slow down in the middle and at the end of each line.
  • If you hear any squeaks, check the bow angle.
  • Listen in bar 3 to make sure we can’t hear a B in the middle of your C-A slur.

21. The First Nowell

  • Let any pairs of slurred quavers that act as an upbeat lead into the next downbeat, as if you were singing.
  • Look out for crunchy down bows!

30. Child in a Manger

  • Try 4th fingers in bar 3 and the first bar of line 3.

29. Infant holy

  • Watch out for C naturals!
  • Remember not to slur quaver pairs.

Mon 13th Sep 2021


  • Start by playing A major.
  • Identify the sharps and get rid of them to play the natural minor.
  • Add a high 7th (G#) to make the harmonic minor.
  • To make the melodic minor, raise the 6th and 7th on the way up, then bring them down again on the way down (just ike the natural minor). Try to slide the 1 and 2 lower whilst your 3rd finger is still on the string.
  • When you start playing the piece, imagine a hazy Monet watercolour and try to evoke that idea with a light bow. Dare to find out how light is too light!
  • Count yourself in at the speed you want to play the whole piece, then make sure your first two notes are the same speed (not slower!).


  • Don’t slow down for the hard bits!
  • Practice the repeated block bars separately (bar 5+6), then practice each time it comes with the surrounding notes.

Tue 20th Jul 2021

When slurring your scales, include the top note in your slur.

Daisy Bell

  • Keep the bow flowing especially when using your 4th finger.
  • Keep the B in 18 short – it’s just a crotchet!
  • Keep 28 short too.

Fiddle Time

  • Start with A major scale (1 octave, then two). As you play it, think about the journey of BOTH elbows swinging together.
  • Run your eyes over the structure of Fiddle Time before you start.
  • Aim nice and high with your C#s and G#s (2s on A and E).
  • Make sure you change string in bar 18.
  • Hold your semibreves for 4 full beats.
  • You’ll find a backing track here if you scroll down to the end of the first table. Scroll down even further for a practice speed track.

Start lookinng at Stoppin’ Off in Louisiana and Ecossaise in your Grade 1 book.

Stoppin’ Off in Louisiana

  • Use a tuner to help you tune E F# G natural A on the E string before you start.
  • Make a feature of the “dancing” 2nd finger.
  • In bars 7, 9 and 13, make sure only 1 pair of quavers is slurred.


  • Try to push yourself past any 4th fingers so they don’t slow you down.
  • Careful not to get As and C#s mixed up!
  • Try not to hesitate after each pair of quavers, especially the first one!

Tue 6th Jul 2021

E string pieces

  • Warm up for The Old Woman of Peru with A major. Hold the dotted crotchets for 3 quavers. Do a small tear-drop retake in the rests. Check your tuning on the E string to make sure your fingers aren’t too high.
  • E major 1 octave starts with 1st finger on the D string. To get all your sharps in, the hand shape is tone tone semitone (using your 4th fingers).
  • Flying High: Remember your “comfortable” hand shape and make sure it stays the same throughout.
  • Once a man fell in a well: reach nice and high with that 4th finger!

Banyan Tree

  • High 4s
  • Long dotted minims.

Tue 22nd Jun 2021

Revisit the Nicola Benedetti video on posture.

The Boat to Inverie

  • 4th fingers on your Es, but keep your bow just as relaxed.
  • Make sure to always count 3 beats in the bar, especially on the dotted minims.

Menuet in G

  • I’ll send you some E string pieces.
  • Keep the bow as light as you can, setting it up well right from the beginning and reminding yourself at the end of every 4-bar phrase.
  • Aim for higher 3rd fingers above any low 2s.
  • Try not to let the slurs disturb your rhythm.
  • Nice big tones between all the notes in 17.
  • Nice long bows in 22.
  • For the second note of 28, make sure your bow and finger arrive on the D string at the same time.
  • Practice some old favourites for us to play as duets next time!

Tue 8th June 2021

Great work with your straighter bow! Make sure you don’t forget about the elbow levels for strings crossings as you think about this. You could revisit Daisy Bell for some variety!


  • Fantastic low 2nd fingers today!
  • Try to reach a bit further with your 4th finger in bars 9 and 15, and keep the bow smooth as you do this.
  • Practice the finger build-up exercise, also keeping the bow light.
  • Make sure you’re moving your 3rd finger enough for the D in bar 12.

Sweet Betsy

  • In your A major warm-up, aim nice and high with your high 3s.
  • Apply this to the piece too, watching out especiialy in the first bar of line 3.
  • Swing your left elbow forwards to help with reaching the G string notes.

Start looking at p. 14 in your Encore book.

Tue 18th May 2021

Premiere Valse

  • In the scale warm-up, keep your bow nice and straight.

Fiddle Time

  • 2 octave A major scale to warm up – all 1st fingers will be high. Once you hit the A string, remind yourself you are basically playing the grade 1 scale you know so well!
  • Think through the geography of the piece before you start, then see if you can play it through without hesitating at the repeat.
  • Look out for places where you get carried away with the rhythm and add in extra quavers!


  • Keep practising last week’s exercises for low 2nd fingers (remembering that we’re in G major!).
  • When you get ready to start the piece, build up your 1st, 2nd and 3rd fingers silently. Then take 2 and 3 off the string, but hovering about 1mm above their spots.
  • Try to play at a constant speed, so think about how fast you’re happy playing bar 11 and aim to match it in the opening bars.
  • Aim higher with your 4th finger in 15.

Tue 4th May 2021

The Boat to Inverie

  • Think of how the quavers fit into the dotted crotchet: “1+2+3”.
  • When changing string eg. 29, keep the bow light and think of a needle on a record – start moving the bow smoothly as soon as you touch the string.


  • Low 2nds on the 1st line.
  • Try to get to the tip at the end of bar 4 (so maybe start the piece in the middle?).
  • Nice and quick with your first notes of bars 4 & 8.
  • Practice B A# B A# back and forth as a warm-up for bar 11.
  • Another warm-up: G major scale slurring notes:
  • Memorise bars 9 & 10 (starting up bow).
  • Try to match the tuning of the end of bar 15 with the start of bar 15.

Tue 20th Apr 2021

Premiere valse

  • This was a great choice for warming up a nice flowing bow arm.
  • Use this now to help open your ears too, noticing any tuning that could be improved.


  • Keep your bow strokes nice and light unless you have tenuto lines.
  • Careful to keep the beat the same whether you’re playing crotchets or quavers. Choose a speed you can play the quavers at.
  • Practice your first two bars with the first note of bar 4 just as a crotchet C. Keep the bow moving at the same speed from the 1st to 2nd bars. When this comfortable, put the 3rd finger back in – try to keep the quavers even.
  • Watch out for C naturals in bars 4 and 5.

O What A Beautiful Morning

  • Buid up your fingers on the D string before you start to help with tuning accuracy.
  • The audience may need some help feeling where the downbeat is, so aim for a small crescendo on the first two notes and a slightly heavier F#. The first two notes should lead us to the first downbeat, so make sure you don’t linger on them.
  • Always be listening out for tuning, especially keeping 2s nice and high. “Lazy” fingers will help with this, in places like bars 6 and 7.
  • Lazy finger exercise on the D string: play E, F#, G, F#, E up and down with nice long bows, making sure you keep the fingers down.

Thu 1st Apr 2021

O What A Beautiful Morning

  • In your warm-up scale, think about straight bowing (the top half of your arm coming forward as you head for the the tip).
  • Try to make bar 8 a bit more natural – use less bow on the D and release the tension towards the end of the note so you don’t need to retake.
  • On long notes (like 19&20, 27&28) keep your bow light and singing.
  • From 17, make sure your 1st finger is acting as a helpful anchor, even though you don’t use it much.

Fiddle Time Scales

  • A Major Scale – a bit less arm weight on the string.
  • Try the first phrase of Sweet Betsy one octave higher.
  • Two Little Angels – Practice getting your row of 9 quavers on line 1 with no pausing (make your bow be in charge and don’t let it slow down). Keep reminding yourself of low 1st fingers and a tone between your 2 and 3.


  • Remember that flowing bow we found earlier in the lesson.
  • Each time you start practice on this piece, play the notes in bars 14 and 15 slowly with a tuner.
  • Work on bar 16 for low and high 2nd finger positions.

Tue 16th Mar 2021

O What A Beautiful Morning

  • 4th fingers in bars 11 and 22.
  • Count yourself in 1231 to help the rhythm of the first 2 notes.
  • Practice 21-24 a few times til your 4th finger feels as easy as the other fingers. You might like to practice the open string version of this too.
  • On your string crossings, try to curve towards the next string you need next, i.e. every note should finish with your bow in the right place to start the next one.
  • Practice the new retake in bar 24.

Fiddle Time Scales

  • Practice A Major 2 octaves listening out for those high 3rd fingers.
  • Make sure you start F Major on F natural (close to 1st finger). Practice it in 1st position, then 2nd position (move your thumb up into 2nd position too and let your fingers just fall into place). Use your Pano tuner to help you!
  • Two Little Angels: Keep this in 1st position for now. Play it lots – I know it’s not your favourite, but I promise it’ll start to feel easier if you play it little and often.

Premiere Valse

  • Great rhythm today!
  • Focus now on dynamics and accurate string crossings.

Start looking at Humming Song. Try to focus on a smooth bow.

Tue 2nd Mar 2021

Fiddle Time Scales

  • Keep practising A major scale and arpeggio. Aim for a lighter bow. If it’s gone well, why not add slurs to the scale? Remember to slur from the first note.
  • In Sweet Betsy, work on getting your 3rd finger G#s higher.
  • F major scale – don’t forget to try this in 2nd position. You’ll need to use all four fingers on both strings.
  • Two Little Angels: remember to keep the 1st fingers super low (and your whole hand with them!). Practice bar 3 on its own a few times before you play the piece. Work now on ironing out any hesitations.
  • Write your own ending to Knock Knock: improvise a few different options and choose your favourite to write down.

Premiere Valse

  • When working with the metronome, make sure you count to 3 in time with the clicks before you start.
  • Concentrate especially carefully on the longer notes.
  • Tick off the pieces you have learnt on the inside cover of the book and feel free to have a go at any Grade 1 pieces you’ve yet to try.

Tue 16th Feb 2021

Fiddle Time Scales

  • Add A major arpeggio to your scale practice. Start with a one octave arpeggio from the open A, then try adding the lower octave.
  • In Sweet Betsy, watch out for G#s on the D string and play the last phrase p by tilting the hair and playing closer to the fingerboard.
  • Start having a look at F Major and Two Little Angels.


  • The opening section sounds fantastic!
  • Look out for patterns in the quaver groups.
  • Practice 13-16 several times in a row, always allowing time in between to assess what you’d like to fix next time. Things to listen out for – high B in 15 and low C at the start of 16.
  • In 16, try to slow down gradually – sing it in your head first to imagine how you’d like it to sound.

Premiere Valse

  • Make sure you count to 3 before you start, and it can be a bit slower – check with your metronome before you start.

Tue 2nd Feb 2021


  • Don’t forget to practice slurs too, and keep the bow light in these.

Premiere Valse

  • Great work on your flowing bow in this piece!
  • Use the first two bars to set your crotchet pulse. Use this to help with your rhythm in bar 3.
  • Be aware of your elevator elbow in bars 9 and 10 (maybe in a few other places too!).
  • Keep the crotchets even in 11 and 12.

Fiddle Time

  • Try a two octave A major scale to warm up. Make sure the lower octave’s 3rd fingers are nice and high!
  • Whole bow for 4 neats at bar 19, then retake and count 4 beats’ rest.
  • Practice bar 27 for neat fingering. Make a gap between the G# and F#, and shorten it each time until there’s no gap.

Sweet Betsy from Pike

  • Warm up by playing the first 3 notes of A major.
  • Keep the crotchet pulse flowing.
  • Try the octave higher challenge!


  • Think carefully about the finger spacing before you start – flick the G major switch!

Tue 19th Jan 2021

Bow and finger warm up – long bows, and alternating between fingers: 0 and 1, 1 and 2, 2 and 3. Add 3 and 4 if you’re feeling good!


  • In C major, make sure the first note is in tune (use the first 4 notes of G major to help).
  • In F major, make sure your thumb is also in second position. Practice the arpeggio too.
  • In all scales, try to play them 3 times in a row once you’ve “got it”.

The Boat to Inverie

  • Brilliant bowing and tuning!
  • Sometimes your dotted minims could be a bit longer – work with a metronome for this, set to 100.
  • In the doted crotchet bars, make sure the crotchet lands on the 3rd beat of the bar. You could count yout yourself in “1 2+ 3”.

AndantinoPlay the hardest bits EVERY practice, even if you’re not playing the whole piece.

Make the difference between low and high 2nd fingers very obvious. They are all low from bar 9 until the 3rd note of bar 16, then they are all high for several bars. Think of it like flicking a switch.

  • 2nd finger warm-up exercise for bar 16: Slur C and A, then F sharp and A. Play this on a loop. Text me if you want me too write it out for you!
  • Play the open string version of this bar every time you practice, even if you’re not playing the whole piece.
  • Also play bar 22 each time you play.
  • Look at the exercise in the 26th Oct lesson notes.

Mon 4th Jan 2021


  • Read last lesson’s notes and have a look on the VIP page (password violinviola) for practice tracks.
  • If practising with a tuner, play semibreves. If you don’t get it in tune, go back to the previous note and try again, keeping it calm at all times.

Let me know if you need any help finding rosin!

The Boat to Inverie

  • A Major 2 octaves warm-up. Super high 3rd fingers.
  • Great rhythm!
  • Silk scarf bowing.
  • Dynamics now. Plan out the dynamics before you play. Use bow length to help the hairpin dynamics.
  • Think about the tempo markings too.

King George

  • G major scale and arpeggio warm-up – let gravity give you a rich sound using the weight of your bow arm.
  • Practice the first bar without the upbeat. Make sure you’re playing both quavers in bar 1!
  • Think about all fingers when you place your 3rd finger for the first note, then check your first two notes are in tune. Practice finding your first note in tune from scratch several times each practice.
  • Play the first 3 notes of bar 7 as long notes with your tuner to warm up the 4th finger.

Mon 14th Dec 2020

Scales – recap your Grade 1 scales every now and then, as you’ll keep coming across pieces in these keys. Work on the Grade 2 scales too, and you could also take a look at the Grades 1 and 2 technical exercises set by a new exam board Sam and I have started using (it’s more COVID-friendly!) here.

O Come All Ye Faithful

  • G major warm-up, thinking carefully about 2nd finger positions.
  • Up bow start, as for many Christmas carols!
  • Aim for a lighter bow: push yourself to the stage where you bow is too light, then come back slightly from there.
  • Prep your 3rd finger before you start.
  • In the bar with the 4th finger, prepare your elbow early.

The First Nowell

  • You’ll also find this in your Fiddle Time Christmas book, complete with useful slurs.
  • D major warm-up.
  • This has C#s, so make sure they’re nice and high.

The Holly and the Ivy

  • Use the Fiddle Time Christmas version.
  • If it goes well, record yourself and play the duet part along with it.
  • You could also have a go at playing along with Mimi on the advent calendar!

In general, try to imagine the sound you’d like to hear. Remind yourself of that sound every few bars to help yourself keep it up for longer.

Mon 7th Dec 2020

The Christmas Song

  • Prepare for your first bar by playing A B C# D with the tuner. Then imagine putting a needle on a record and relax your arm onto the string as you start bowing.
  • Aim nice and high for your F# at the end of bar 26.
  • Remember you can have a few false starts on the same video, but always make sure you’ve buit your fingers up with the tuner before you start.

Still, still, still

  • Let the bow flow smoothly.
  • Remember to use more bow on the crotchets to help get the rhythm right.
  • You could try this with a metronome.

Mon 23rd Nov 2020

The Christmas Song

The Christmas Song

  • Play a D major scale before you start. Make your right arm as relaxed as possible and try to return to this feeling whenever you feel it tensing up during the piece.
  • Practice any tricky spots first. This will include:
    • Memorising any bars which you find particularly tricky;
    • Practising C#, B, B flat, C natural a few times as long notes with your tuner (for bars 8-9);
    • Practising bar 17 open strings;
    • Practising bar 26 with the added notes, then doing the fingers but no bow.
    • Holding long notes for their full length (imagine a metronome in your head!)
  • Get your backing track ready, then get your left hand ready and play the first bar a few times.
  • Play along with the track.

Fri 20th Nov 2020

The Christmas Song

  • Once you’ve practised a few of the tricky spots, try playing along with this track. There are two bars of metronome at the start – one bar rest and the second bar would be where I play. For the pause, I counted 3 ticks. I’ll send my part over once I’ve finished arranging it!
  • Always play D major before you play this.
  • Keep your bow as smooth and flowing as you can – aim for no crunches!
  • Remember that bar 9 is in half position, except the last note, so really make sure you consciously shift back up into 1st position.
  • Wallow in the triplets a bit more! Remember they are longer than quavers but shorter than crotchets.

Mon 9th Nov 2020

Theory Quiz

For the following questions, make sure you have worked out what key each piece is in first.

  • In Hoe Down (p.9), find one bar which contains the notes of the tonic triad (tonic = the key note and triad = the notes of the arpeggio).
  • In Hoe Down, what degree of the scale does the piece start on?
  • In Kemp’s Jig (p.11), how many bars ONLY contain notes found in the tonic triad? Include bars which only have one or two of them.
  • In Kemp’s Jig, what degree of the scale is the second note of the piece?
  • In Andantino in G (p.12), how many bars start with the tonic?
  • In Andantino in G, what degree of the scale is the first note of bar 9?

The Boat to Inverie

  • Warm up with the recorder stretch, then play A major 2 8ves. Remember the high 3rd fingers on the G and D strings, then keep this in mind as you play the piece.
  • Keep the bow flowing all the way through, especially when you change direction at the heel.
  • Try adding 4th fingers instead of open strings (except bars 18, 23 and 27).
  • Think a bit more about the dynamics.


  • Keep practising last week’s 4th finger exercise, but make sure you play all 3 bars! Listen carefully for the tuning on the E string.
  • From 13-16, low 2nds and high 3rds.
  • Play bar 15 plus a note. Stop on the first note of 16 and hold it, then check it with your pano tuner.

Mon 26th Oct 2020


  • Print off the bass clef cheat sheet from your emails and keep it with your theory things. See if you can answer the bass clef questions in that theory paper without my help!
  • Have a look at the rests quiz (attached to the same email) and see if you know the answers.

Theory Quiz

For the following questions, make sure you have worked out what key each piece is in first.

  • In King George I’s March, find one bar which contains the notes of the tonic triad (tonic = the key note and triad = the notes of the arpeggio).
  • In King George I’s March, what degree of the scale is the dotted minim in bar 8?
  • In Daisy Bell, find one bar which contains the notes of the tonic triad (tonic = the key note and triad = the notes of the arpeggio).
  • In Daisy Bell, what degree of the scale is the dotted minim in bar 17?
  • In The Boat to Inverie, how many bars contain ONLY the tonic?
  • In The Boat to Inverie, what degree of the scale is the dotted minim in bar 11?


  • Practice F Major scale and arpeggio in 2nd position (don’t leave your left thumb behind!).
  • Add C major to your scale wall.
  • Practice your two types of minor starting on G and D – try to memorise them.
  • Practice your two octave scales and arpeggios too. Text me if you have any problems!


  • In the first section, keep the bow flowing when you change direction at the heel.
  • Practice this exercise to help with your 4th finger tuning:

Pracitce The Boat to Inverie for next lesson.

Mon 12th Oct 2020

Theory: compete 2017 paper Y and drop it in at my parents’ house.

Scales: We’ll go through all of these next lesson.

Low D High D

  • In the first half, smooth bowing with no stops.
  • In the second half, light left hand and strong right hand.
  • Warm up for the second half by playing an open string with a sow long bow and gradually lowering your harmonic finger onto the string to see how light it can get away with being.
  • Don’t forget the crotchet rests!


  • Work on the first section for smooth bowing and dynamics.
  • You can make a p dynamic by:
    • bowing at the edge of the fingerboard;
    • tilting the stick away from you, so you only use the side of the hair;
    • using shorter, slower bows;
    • less bow arm weight.
  • Remember that the left hand needs to keep the same structure despite the quieter dynamic.
  • Troubleshoot the tricky bars in the second half by building it up note by note. Start it this way every practice and it will get stronger and stronger!

Mon 28th Sep 2020

Theory – Send me a list of the year and letter at the top of the papers you’ve already done.

Little finger – Rest the bow on the string at the heel then tap your pinkie a few times to curve it.

Scales & Improvising

  • Once you’ve warmed up with a scale, improvise around its notes to free your bow. Why not try it on something easy like D major, then you could play Low D High D to practice your harmonics too (p.3).
  • D melodic minor – make sure the F natural is low. Great work on the top of the scale!

I gotta play those fiddle blues

I gotta play those fiddle blues
  • Keep 2nd finger low on the D string.
  • Question the placing of 1st and 2nd fingers on the A string according to the key signature and the accidentals.


  • Practice tricky bits in smaller chunks, adding a note each time you feel secure.

Mon 14th Sep 2020

The TwoSet video I mentioned is here.

A general technical point to watch out for this week is a curved little finger on your bow.


  • After working on accuracy, follow with a play through of the scale focusing on flow.
  • Practice the top half of your D melodic minor scale slowly, thinking about magnets repelling each other when you get to the crotchet rest:

King George

  • Remember flow in this too!
  • To warm up, play the first line of Fingertips (Fiddle time scales) on the A and E strings, keeping your A string fingers on the string.
  • Practice the first two notes of the piece as semibreves, up bow start, trying to apply the Fingertips technique.
  • Try stopping on the F# in bar 11 5 times in tune.
  • Practice from the upbeat of 13 with a relaxed bow.
  • Find the place in bars 16-17 where you pause and use the troubleshooting technique: practice the two notes either side of the pause, then add a note afterwards, then one before etc. etc.

Mon 31st Aug 2020

Have a go at another Theory paper – I’ll put together a bass clef info sheet for you to have on hand though – I should get that to you on Wednesday. It might be worth doing a bit of revision on the Circle of Fifths before your next paper.

Scales: Don’t forget to listen out for the sound quality – keep the bow gliding smoothly and freely. Practice D harmonic minor and D melodic minor, being particularly aware of the tuning of the 6th and 7th notes.

King George

  • In bar 1, make sure you detach the last two crotchets.
  • Let bar 3’s scale lead into bar 4 without delay and with a clean string crossing.
  • Careful to give a crotchet’s worth of silence in bar 4!
  • Practice the first 3 notes of bar 7 for tuning, perhaps with an open E every other time to keep as a reference point.
  • Aim higher with the 4th finger in bar 14.
  • Sam has brought my attention to a fantastic feature on YouTube whereby you can slow down the speed! Look in the bottom right-hand corner of the video and you’ll find a settings cog. Click on that, then “playback speed” and then choose how slow you’d like it. Then you can play along with the video you found, and then work up to normal speed!

Whenever you’re aiming for a 4th finger note, remember to relax and reach as opposed to stretching and tensing.

Mar 2020

Grade 1 Distinction! 👏

Sat 15th Mar 2014

Your first violin lesson! 😄🎻

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