Welcome to your lesson notes page Kaye!

Sat 14th May 2022


  • Make more of the dynamics at the start. Less bow over the fingerboard for the p version.
  • Release the bow on the crotchets within the phrases and more care over the end of crotchets, 3, 6, 11, 13.
  • To start confidently at 14, practice from 13 and try just getting the A a few times. Then add the F, but still make sure you’re placing the 1st finger before the 3rd.
  • Be a bit gentler with the bow at 23 and 27 for the crotchets.
  • Don’t forget the rest in 39, and in 41-43.
  • From 45, practice with open strings until the phrase is on auto-pilot, with super short bows moving mainly from the wrost. Then add your fingers.
  • Confidence at 51.
  • Careful not to slow into your bottom note at 53.
  • Not faster at 57 and 78. Use a metronome to help sort this!
  • Loved 70!!
  • At 73 and 76, keeep working on a lighter bottom note.
  • 80 is much better but still has more space to be sound more natural. See if you can add in some echoes too.

Sat 7th May 2022

Vibrato exercise:

  • Start by loosiening up the top joints with the tfinger popping exercise.
  • Set a metronome to 70 and practice your vibrato in a scale, making sure to rock backwards from your in-tune starting note. Start with quavers, then triplet quavers, then semiquavers etc. until you reach ull speed.


  • Imagine how you want the first two bars to sound before playing them – the semiquaver needs to connect to the harmonics.
  • Feel as though you’re painting with a paintbrush in bar 3, making sure you’ve got to the right part of the bow at the end of bar 2. The three triplets should have gradually longer bows to lead us into the middle of the bar.
  • Practice 7-10 top line only, the bottom line only. Make each as musical as you can. Then play just the top line whilst having the fingers on for both, and vice versa. You can apply this practice techique to any of the double stop sections in the piece.
  • Look up Kreisler playing this on YouTube.
  • Be really careful from 11 with normal quavers vs. triplet quavers.
  • Throughout, be on the lookout for tenuto slurs, smooth slurs, and separate quavers with and without staccatos.
  • Practice some simple scales with up bow staccato to get more comfortable with this.
  • Ask yourself constantly about the melodic line as you navigate all the technical hurdles!

Sun 24th Apr 2022

Start looking at your scales and make your scale pots!

Find 5 YouTube videos of famous violinists playing the Bartok. Make a list of them with notes on their speeds and things you liked and didn’t like about the performances.

Bartok IV

  • Aim for broader triplets.
  • Add a rich quality from your vibrato, right from the start of your first note, whilst not slowing the tempo. Think of a whole hand vibrato, rather than each finger separately.
  • Think of how the minim at the end of line 1 leads into the next bar.
  • From 19, try to really let go with both hands – bowing and vibrato. As little tension as possible.
  • Think about how much bow you’re using to achieve the dynamics.

Bartok V

  • Start with a “bow shapes” 1 octave D major scale to get your right hand fingers warmed up.
  • Practice any triads (bars 51, 11 and 17) slowly and slurred for intonation and getting used to the hand shapes.
  • Make sure the 1st beat of the bar sounds like the first beat of the bar!
  • No gap between 13 and 14 (sustain the open strings).
  • Keep the articulation crisp throughout, especially from 17.

Bartok VI

  • Start at crotchet=60 with this. Try to observe the articulations and character even at this tempo.
  • As with the previous movemnt, more sustained on longer notes (end of 4 and 8 etc.).
  • From 33, match your down and up bow staccatos.

Sat 26th Mar 2022


  • We worked from bar 84 today.
  • Work from bar 88 listening for good intonation on the first note of each beat. Work on 127 in the same way.
  • Working from 112, try to memorise your hand shapes on each string and particularly where the semitones are so you don’t have to think about each individual note. Remember to keep the bow flowing.
  • From 117, work really slowly and analyse the gaps between notes.
  • Be on the lookout for C naturals from 141!
  • Anywhere you have a few quavers in a row, like 145-6 and 155-156.

Sun 20th Mar 2022


  • Play the opening harmonics in 1st position. Make sure there’s no separation between the semiquaver and the harmonics.
  • Triplets should sound indulgent, with a free right arm and no gap before the next beat.
  • In the section from 7, always ask yourself if the melody lines are flowing as well as they would if you didn’t have the double stops. This requires a more on-the-string stroke.
  • Watch out for the dotted rhythms from bar 7.
  • When working on shifts in this, before repeating the shift over and over, make sure you’ve worked out extactly how far you’re shifting.
  • To practice the up bow staccatos in the middle, start with a B minor 2 octave scale.
  • Then practice 35-39 with a metronome set to quaver=60. When you’re comfortable with that, you can start to notch it up.
  • Next, practice a stopped harmonic scale, 1 octave D major. Keep the bow strong and near the bridge, your 4th finger light and the gap between 1 and 4 consistent.
  • Practice bar 40 adding a note at a time. Start with the Nicola Benedetti exercise of sliding your finger all the way up the end of the fingerboard.
  • Just a tiny bit less A string from 44, with some vibrato on the E string melody line.
  • Can the ends of 48 and 50 sound like up bows, so nice and short?

Sun 13th Mar 2022


  • In general, quavers as short and light.
  • From 44, make sure the quavers are nice and long.
  • Keep the quavers in 54.
  • Get used to the tones and semitones from 112.
  • Be on the lookout for F and C naturals!
  • Careful of the notes in bars 62, 66, 149, 153.

Sat 5th Mar 2022


  • Listen for the length of the crotchets at the end of 3, 6, 9 etc.
  • Spend some more time really solidifying the section from bar 14.
  • At 58 make sure your down bows aren’t heavier than the ups.
  • In 73 and 76 listen for clarity of the bottom notes, with more of a horizontal bow stroke.
  • Keep working on the rhythm at 80 – clap it or sing it first to make sure you don’t delay the crotchets.

Bartók IV

  • Never delay the 2nd beat of the bar. This means really even triplet notes and no delay on the last semiquaver of any groups of 4.
  • Try not to cut your minims short at the ends of phrases.
  • Work on the espressivo element with consistent vibrato.
  • Keep the dotted rhythms nice and tight.

Bartók V

  • Try playing this with no grace notes first, making sure to keep in the lower half of the bow. Careful not to lift your right elbow too much as you do this, and keep your right hand relaxed.

Bartók VI

  • As with the other two pieces, try to identify one or two things the examiner will be looking out for. Which elements of violin technique are showcased in each piece?
  • Try the printed bowing now.
  • The whole thing could be lower in the bow.
  • In the first 3 lines, aim for more flick at the end of each slur.
  • In bars 4 and 12, think of those toy cars that you pull back (a weighty down bow) and let go (the springy up bow in the next bar).
  • From line 4, add the staccatos and sfs.
  • Shorter at 25.
  • From line 7, add the staccatos.
  • Practice just the top line for sound quality and intonation. Experiment with different parts of the bow and different lengths of bow to see what gives you the clearest sound.
  • Practice from 41 very under speed (a speed where you don’t need to hesitate) but still with character.
  • In 42, use as little bow as possible on the the semiquavers so you stay in the right part of the bow.
  • Practice the first 3 chords of 43 several times for a clean shift.
  • The quintuplet notes should be slightly slower than the triplets in this section, so careful not to play 5 sextuplets and a rest. Practice this by playing just the quintuplet and the next chord a few times, with no hesitation.
  • Practice the last line really slowly to get used to the Fs at the top of your chords.
  • Practice octave shifts on the E string to help with the penultimate bar.

Sat 26th Feb 2022


  • Aim for a slight crescendo through the first two beats of bars like bar 1 so the third beat doesn’t sound too heavy.
  • In bars like 3, don’t rush beat 2.
  • Practice bar 1 and bar 14 in tandem and try to make your bowing in 14 as neat and precise as it is in bar 1.
  • Practice 32 to get used to the new bowing and fingering. Once you’ve got used to it, remember that this needs to sound drunk.
  • Practice 36 with a metronome.
  • Practice 41 for strict rhytm and changing bow according to the beats, not what’s going on in in your left hand.
  • Watch a few different videos of people playing this and see what bowing they’re doing in 44. Keep the crotchets long enough at the end of these phrases.
  • If any fast separate triplets (like 49) are feeling lumpy, move further up the bow.
  • In the trills at 50, more length on the upper notes and expand your bow as you go up the crescendo. Watch out for the tuning of the E natural.
  • Practice the scale at 53 backwards – adding half a beat at a time.
  • Careful not to slow down too much in 54-6.
  • At 80, use more of a swinging motion so that your bow doesn’t stop as you start the crotchet.
  • Try to use more flexible fingers at 87-8.

Sat 27th Jan 2022

Two things to help with aches and pains:


  • Do the “recorder stretch” before you start to open up the base joints of your fingers.
  • Practice shifts like the one in bar 7 by stopping to work out how far each finger is travelling, then play the shift up and down, one string at a time – you know what I mean!
  • Try to start building your dynamics in as soon as possible so they become integral to the music.
  • Aim for a really relaxed bow at all times, especially on the double stops.
  • Practice a D major 1 octave scale in harmonics to prepare for bar 40. Keep your bow near the bridge and don’t use too much bow. If it’s not working, go back to finding the 1st finger in tune. Be VERY aware of tones and semitones in this.

Have a listen to Bach’s Concerto in A minor as a possible 4th piece.

Sat 22nd Jan 2022


  • Warm up with F major 2 octaves in 5th position, thinking lots about your left elbow amd hand shape.
  • In the piece, listen out for the length of your last notes of phrases.
  • Keep an eye on your 3rd fingers – are they staying curved?
  • On fast separate bows, if it feels uncomfortable, try it a little further up the bow.
  • At bar 76, start in the middle and try to get to the tip on every G. Make sure you don’t delay at the end of each beam of semiquavers.
  • From 80, keep a relaxed right shoulder.
  • At 87, listen to the quality of your last note and keep an eye on the bowing.
  • Try bar 67 with longer notes in the upper half of the bow.
  • Practice from 70 for accelerating into the 3rd beat and changing bow exactly on the top notes.
  • At 50, work on starting the trills with an upper apoggiatura.
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