Welcome to your online lesson notes page Laura!

Targets from grade exam:

  • Tone in loud playing – use arm weight rather than pressure to help project the sound.
  • Security in higher positions – use them as much as you can!
  • Neater bowing – listen to see how clear it sounds, especially on string crossings.
  • Become an expert on the grade 5 scales – it’s never too early! Print them off and stick them to the stand.

Mon 4th July 2022


  • Plan ahead with your 1st finger in bars 1-3.
  • Try not to let the trill disturb the rhythm in 3 and 11.
  • Practise Variation 1 at a steady speed for now, aiming for excellent intonation. F naturals can be a bit lower, and make sure 4th fingers in 2nd position are directly opposite each other.

Hay Barn Blues

  • Be super careful with bowings in this!
  • Keep your left wrist down so you can easily move your thumb every time you shift.

Mon 20th Jun 2022

Revise grade 2 theory and aim to complete the paper by the end of term.


  • Keep practising the curved finger scale.
  • Practise the first half thinking really carefully about how your hand moves as you shift.
  • Start looking at the semiquaver runs from bar 15 being really careful about tones and semitones.

Mon 13th Jun 2022

Revise your Circle of Fifths.


  • Warm up with the curved finger exercise.
  • Start with an up bow.
  • Aim super low with your C flats.
  • Any slurs with a tenuto under them (bars 1, 6, 11 etc) should sound like separate bows.

Mon 6th Jun 2022

Start each practice by reviewing our targets at the top of this page. Try to keep them in the front of your mind as you practice.


  • Play D minor to start – focus on posture, bow position
  • Learn the opening Theme.
  • Make sure your minims are all long enough – every other bar!

Hay Barn Blues

  • Imagine this in a 12/8 time signature.
  • Work on the first 14 bars, noticing when you need to change position on the slides (with your whole hand!) and when you need to use a finger to anchor you in the same position.

Mon 23rd May 2022


  • Your tuning in the opening section could do with a little more care, but on the whole it’s so much better once more for tuning.
  • WELL DONE on the middle section – it actually sounded easy!
  • See if you can get this all up to 66.

Congratulations to the Bridegroom and Bride

  • Use the C in the 2nd time bar to help you pitch the high C, but also practice the A-C shift slowly with slides like we did in the lesson, so you really feel the tone and a half distance.
  • Watch out for the A flat in bar 14.
  • Remember that the rhythm is twice as fast in bar 13 than in 11.
  • Practice the middle of this (from the 2nd time bar) with a metronome at 70.


  • Play a careful, in-tune A major scale before you start. This is an easy key, so don’t let yourself get away with bad tuning.
  • Careful with the rhythm at the start of bar 2.
  • Mark the end of the phrase (on the A) in bar 4.

Mon 16th May 2022


  • Practice from bar 37 in rhythms – lengthening the first of every group of 4, then the second, third etc. Be very careful of posture, tuning and bowing as you do this, and try to tilt the bow stick away from you slightly.
  • Once this is up to speed, add the rest of the piece.

Congratulations to the Bridegroom and Bride

  • Careful to do the right bowing on the repeat.
  • From bar 11, keep thinking about tones and semitones to help you be confident in the notes.
  • Make sure 11 and 13 aren’t the same rhythm!
  • Think really carefully about the length of the upbeats to each section, especially at the end of bars 14 and 18b.
  • Watch out for the bowings from 19.


  • Check the speed before you start so you’re not going too fast!
  • Use mainly the lower half of the bow, as if the bow is a paintbrush on the string.
  • Again try to tilt the bow stick slightly away from you.
  • Learn the first half.

Mon 9th May 2022

Warm up with some scales but focusing on your posture as you do this.


  • Keep this for one more week, tidying it up when playing it up to speed. Work especially from 37.

Congratulations to the Bridegroom and Bride

  • Think about the accidentals and key signature before you start, especially listening out for the F naturals.
  • Check the metronome speed before you start. It’s meant to be a little slower than you’ve been playing it!
  • Work more on the 2nd half, playing it slowly and thoughtfully as you work out the tones, semitones and shifts – remember, we want to avoid learning the wrong notes!

Mon 25th Apr 2022

Rieding Allegro

  • Keep reminding yourself to hold your violin up, and keep an eye on where your bow is – it was tending to slip too far over the fingerboard.
  • Brighter on the C# in 32.
  • Lower half from 60.
  • Play 67- 70 and listen for consistent tempo.
  • The icing and cherry on the cake: adding vibrato, and upping the tempo (you’re currently at about minim=50).

Congratulations to the Bridegroom and Bride

  • Tuning is super important in this! Try the opening slowly to listen for tuning, especially on the the ornaments. Spend some time with a tuner on the last 3 notes of bar 6 and the D in bar 7.
  • Play the upbeats to bar 9 and bar 9 very slowly to get used to the bowing.
  • Learn the rest of the piece.
  • Make sure you have G naturals in bar 11!
  • Try bar 13 an octave lower to help with the tones and semitones.

Mon 28th Mar 2022

Rieding Allegro

  • Your sound quality is much better this week!
  • Keep working on the bow distribution at 17-20.
  • Think about how gently you can start the first note of bar 21.
  • Don’t forget the 2nd position in bar 32!
  • Give some separation on the accented notes from 61.
  • Start to notch up the tempo now.

Congratulations to the Bridegroom and Bride

  • Be on the lookout for F naturals!

Keys of the week – D flat major, E flat major and F major 2 octaves, long tonics, scale and arpeggio, slurred.

Mon 21st Mar 2022

  • Practice standing up and make sure your mind is focussed on the task in hand! Think about your posture throughout your practice.
  • See if you can put more body into your loud dynamics.
  • Be sure you your notes in 32!
  • Be sure of your bowing in 36.
  • Work on middle section, from 29.
  • Keep your rhythms even in 69.

Mon 14th Mar 2022

Rieding Allegro

  • Check a metronome before you start.
  • Play the first 4- or 8-bar phrase from memory whilst watching your bow to check it isn’t straying all over the place! Also try to have either flat bow hair, or tilt the stick slightly away from you.
  • Practice bar 11 lots -get so used to the 2nd fingers that you don’t need to slow down for this bar!
  • Practice 6 and 7 really slowly for curved fingers and intonation.
  • See if you can make the section from 21 flow just as smoothly as the first section.
  • Work on matching the tuning in 26 and 27.
  • Get used to the bowings from 36.
  • Work on your bow distribution from 17-19, and 57-9.
  • Add some more character to the section from 61, using the accents.
  • See if your fingers can be ready a bit earlier from 69.
  • Aim for flat bow hair on the chord at the end.

Mon 7th Mar 2022


  • You’re almost there with this piece now, so I want you to aim for getting this performance ready.
  • Make posture a big part of your focus.
  • Bar 30 mustn’t slow down.
  • Be confident in your shift to bar 56.
  • Keep working on the section from 64 – lots!


  • Warm up with a 3 octave G major scale. fingering on the A string is 121234, and on the E string is 1212344.
  • The arpeggio is 020, 131, 1314131, then back down to 1st position.
  • The main thing to work on in this piece is accurate finger placement for good intonation.
  • Work on your bow distribution from 17-19.
  • Work on looking ahead whilst letting each bar flow into the next.
  • Work on getting both 33 and 34 in tune – keep that 3rd finger next to the 2!
  • Make sure you are playing quavers in 36!
  • Make 37-44 a metronome challenge.

Mon 28th Feb 2022

  • Read the targets at the top of this page and see how you’re doing with them.
  • Start looking at the grade 5 scales.


  • In the Scherzo, just neaten up bar 31, and aim for more contact with the string in this 2nd section.
  • Work even more on the tuning in the Trio.


  • Be really strict with bowing and tuning as you get to know this piece.
  • ALWAYS be thinking about tones and semitones so you can be confident about your finger placement – this is how we can minimise the amount of work our fingers have to do. Looking ahead will help with this too.
  • Try to learn this right the first time so you don’t have to unlearn wrong notes and bowing!

Wed 23rd Feb 2022


  • Work through last week’s lesson notes on this.
  • Practice bars 64+65+1 note LOTS to get used to the shift.
  • Work on the rhythm from 74.

Mon 14th Feb 2022


  • Think about your best posture as you warm up with a G major scale.
  • Without disturbing your great bow work, add a touch of vibrato to the opening section.
  • In the second section, make sure you can always hear the last note of the bar.
  • Practice the second section with the aim of keeping 31 the same speed as everything else. A great way to do this would be playing 30 and the first note of 31 in tempo a few times, then add a note etc.
  • Practice 52-63 to get the tiny shift to 2nd position really secure.
  • Spend at least 5 minutes on 64-73.

Mon 31st Jan 2022


  • Check how straight your bow is in a mirror from bar 17.
  • Also at 17, make sure you don’t slow down!
  • Before practising the section from 64, rest your left hand finger.
  • Use a tuner in your practice to check the notes at 56. Play it with your eyes closed a few times first, then open them on each note in turn.

Mon 24th Jan 2022


  • Start bars 1, 9 etc. in the middle of the bow.
  • Be very strict with dynamics and tone quality in the first 16 bars.
  • Try to play from bar 17 at the same speed as you played the opening section. Try as hard as you can not to slow down for the bars that change!
  • Count carefully in 36-39, and start them at the tip.
  • Try from 56 in 2nd position. Can you add vibrato on the hairpins?
  • From 64, make sure you’ve thought through every shift, rather than just letting your ears guide you.
  • Keep listening for your sound quality and tuning – practising a few bars with your eyes closed should help with this!

Mon 17th Jan 2022

Grade 5 scales

  • Nag me til I send you your scale pots page, then cut them up and find some pots or envelopes.

All You Wanna Do

  • Write this out on manuscript paper so you don’t have any page turns. Make it as neat as you can and add in some fingerings and bowings.
  • Every up beat should be on an up bow.
  • Check your list of things to improve at the top of this page and listen out for them at all times.
  • Work on keeping your bow as straight as you can.
  • Be really strict on your rhythms.
  • Try to keep your left hand fingers light and curved.


  • Make articulation the main feature of the opening section.
  • From 17, try not to move your elbow on the separate bow notes.
  • Aim for a sweeter mood at 56.
  • Try from 64-73 on the G string.

Mon 10th Jan 2022

Practice the orchestra music we played in your lesson to get used to the new fingerings. Be picky about your tuning and bowings.

Start learning Dvořák Scherzo in your encore book.

Mon 6th Dec 2021

Ding Dong Merrily

  • Warm up with a 3 octave scale – on the way up, 121 on the A string and on the E string.
  • Listen to the tuning of all 2nd fingers – they either need to go higher (sharps) or lower (naturals).

O Christmas Tree

  • Try not to pause before you repeat the first line.
  • Be picky on your tuning in bar 3.

We Wish You a Merry Christmas

  • Play this at pitch, then repeat it one octave higher.
  • Don’t forget to start on an up bow!

Jingle Bells

  • Warm up for this with a 3 octave A major scale. Going up, A string is 121234 and E string is 12121234. Coming down, E string is 43214321 then onto the A string for 432121.
  • Work out the verse, starting on an E on the D string. Feel free to use open A strings!

Mon 29th Nov 2021

Ding Dong Merrily

  • Think carefully before you start about your 2nd finger placement and aim to have the notes in tune before you’ve played them.
  • Think carefully about the slurs before you start too.
  • Practice the shifts so that you are ready for them.
  • Try not to slow down on the slurs in bar 1.

Hogamany Reel

  • Practice bar 4 for fluency.
  • Set yourself metronome challenges, starting at minim = 60.

The Holly and the Ivy

  • Make a difference between crotchet and quaver upbeats.
  • Practice until there are no note stumbles, so that the bowing works out to finish each phrase down bow.

Feel free to choose any other carols and approach them in the same way.

Mon 1st Nov 2021

Sight Reading

  • Start thinking more about the dynamics, especially crescendos.
  • Look out for any articulation, such as staccatos and tenutos.
  • Make sure sight reading features in every practice.
  • Clap rhythms, play the scales, record yourself, look ahead as much as you can and overall, concentrate!

Mon 18th Oct 2021


  • Don’t forget your short quavers in 7&8, 23&24 and 39&40.
  • Think about the mood before you start – think regal and robust. Do this with all your pieces.
  • Try to keep the same speed throughout, especially from bar 9. Practice with a metronome to help keep the repeated section steady.
  • In the section from 9, also listen out for neat string crossings.
  • In the section from 25, lighter with your bow and all in the upper half – this will help stop 28 sounding awkward.
  • Work on your dynamics so much that they become integral to the music.
  • Don’t let yourself get away with clumsy bowing in 32.


  • Think about sound quality – you can be lighter and more concise with your bow.


  • Remember the polo mint!
  • Your bow should never sound scratchy in this piece – think of a smooth piece of silk draping across your strings.
  • Imagine you were singing this piece and where you might breathe. Mimic this with your bow.
  • Be more aware of your tuning in bars 7 and bar 15.

Thinking and listening are your keywords for the week!

Mon 11th Oct 2021

Keep practising your scales using last week’s notes.


  • Play the first 6 notes a few times for clarity, always allowing time beween tries to reset your bow.
  • Practice bars 7 and 8 for correct bowing.
  • Aim for a clearer sound overall, with shorter, weightier bows.


  • Work on your transitions.


  • Focus on the details.
  • In quiet passages, keep your bow changes smooth enough not to disturb the polo mint!

Mon 27th Sep 2021

Abrsm scales and arpeggios

  • All notes even for your scales.
  • Check the tuning of your starting notes before you embark on the whole thing!
  • Sing the arpeggios with their fingering before you play them.
  • For E major, make sure your 1st finger is in the right place before you start by playing EAE.
  • Listen out for sound quality, especially on string crossings.
  • Practice both types of minor.
  • Flick a coin to choose whether you’re slurring or not.
  • Dominant sevenths – be as accurate as possible on the tuning, especially at the top.
  • Get used to your new chromatic fingering.


  • Focus on your dynamics and the modd
  • Gentle vibrato on any mf long notes (i.e. first section).
  • In the p, really small bows at the heel but make sure your quavers connect to the staccat crotchets.
  • Really let your hair down at 18, but still with good sound quality.
  • Leave the grace notes super late in 21 and 25.

Mon 20th Sep 2021

Sight reading

  • Keep working on this in the same way as last week.

Put the piano parts in your bag for next lesson please!


  • Keep up the good work on the dynamics!
  • Listen on any string changes to see how smooth the melody sounds.
  • In the p section, have a feeling of worried panic – remember your dressing gown story!
  • Try to tilt your bow away from you (a bow hold tweak will help). Also try to keep in the lower half of the bow.

Mon 13th Sep 2021

Sight reading

  • Record yourself doing a Grade 1 piece and listen back to it (looking at the music!) then see if you can improve it.
  • Record yourself doing a grade 2 piece and see if you can improve that too.


  • Record yourself playing this and all your pieces.
  • Remember to stand up properly when you’re playing!
  • Watch out for the tuning of your 1st finger in the 1st section.

Tue 20th July 2021

Play all your Grade 4 pieces and decide if you’re still excited about them, or if you feel you need to pick any new ones so they feel fresh!


  • Make sure the 5 quavers are all the same length in bars 2 and 10.
  • Make sure the A in bar 5 is late enough too.
  • Watch out for any other bars starting with a dotted crotchets too.
  • Keep a good eye out for quaver rests.


  • Play D minor harmonic minor up to A on the E string really carefully, aiming for no wiggly fingers.
  • Short staccatos in 7 and 8 and everywhere else this happens (practice these few bars a few times on their own til it feels like you’ll remember it).
  • Listen out for the tuning of your F naturals.
  • Careful of your C naturals from 25.

Find/make some grade 4 scale pots. Take as much care over these as your pieces. This means no wiggly fingers!

Tue 6th July 2021


Valse Lente

  • Practice from bar 29 mainly this week. Finish each practice with a run-through.


  • If this has gone well in your practice, add the icing to the top of the cake – posture and bow hold!
  • Pay particular attention to bow hold and get a volunteer to tell you if your bow is straight. If your little finger feels tense, rest your bow on the strings and tap it til it feels relaxed but secure.

Tue 29th June 2021


  • Violin up and bow straight (checking in a mirror) for all of these.
  • Aim for good sound quality, particularly as you’re changing string.
  • The rhythmic version is easier faster.
  • Sing your starting notes to get your ear nice and awake before you start each scale.

Valse Lente

  • Keep a practice diary this week. Which piece and what’s your aim?

Tue 22nd June 2021

Technical exercises

  • Ex.1 – notice the the patterns so you don’t ever have to pause and the notes are always correct.
  • Ex. 2 – record yourself and improvise an accompaniment based on the notes of the arpeggio you’re playing in each bar.
  • Ex. 3 – Keep your fingers down for each bar. How smooth can you get the start of the chord at the end.


  • Aim for a strong, clear sound throughout.
  • 1st fingers are all low – keep your finger there!

Valse Lente

  • Make as beautiful a sound as you can.
  • Work on getting more familiar with the notes from bar 37 to the end.

Mon 14th June 2021


  • Be much more careful finding your starting notes accurately.
  • 3 things to aim for on every scale: intonation, attention to detail (slurs, rhythms etc.) and tempo (check the metronome mark).
  • In the B major scale with rhythms, make sure you’re splitting the beat into 4 in your head.
  • No C#s in your Dominant 7th!
  • In the chromatic scale, try to move your fingers quickly (like a light switch)r ather than being too slidy. Write in any fingerings you might need!

Mon 7th June 2021

Technical Exercises

  • Ex. 1 – Work on making the best sound you can. Sometimes practice this with dotted crotchets instead. Keep the bow flowing consiently and smoothly, making just as nice a sound at the very ends of the bows. Another way to practice this is to see if you can play each bar separately at speed.
  • Ex. 2 – try to get all your spiccato notes as good as the best ones. Hold the last note to the end of the 4th beat.
  • Ex. 3 – try not to land on D string too heavily each time – preparing your right elbow ahead of time will really help with this.


  • Be strict about all the pencil markings.
  • Make sure the listener knows it’s minor!

YouTube homework: Elena Urioste.

Mon 24th May 2021

Make sure you practice Rondeau at least once a week, being very strict about F naturals and B flats!

Valse Lente

  • To warm up. practice the first 5 notes on every string and aim for 10/10.
  • Do a little retake in every quaver rest on on the first 2 lines – you can practice these with some little up bow circles near the heel. Can you make the start of each note smooth?
  • Make sure your ears are turned on all the time as this piece needs a really lovely sound quality.
  • Practice the shift in bar 19 very carefully, remembering George and his cup-filling!
  • Start thinking about where you might add some vibrato.

YouTube homework: find a video of Hilary Hahn. Give me some comments next time about her playing and her posture.

Mon 17th May 2021

Valse Lente

  • Warm up with G major, getting those low 2s warmed up for th A and E strings.
  • Careful of the rhythm in bars 6, 14, 16 and 18. Use a metronome to help you, and maybe do some clapping to help prepare.
  • Practice 11 for the high B.
  • Don’t forget to think about the ghost finger with your 1st finger in 19.
  • Try from 21 quite slowly a few times til you’re really sure of the notes. Let your bow soar on the 4th fingers.
  • Aim for real contact with the string from 29.
  • Get to know the rest of the piece, being as careful as you can on rhythms and tuning – learning it well first time is always the best way!

Mon 10th May 2021


  • Remember to play your hardest scales (rated 3) EVERY practice.
  • For F melodic minor, find the F, then find the B flat with your 1st finger. Bring your left thumb up to meet the body of the violin.

Valse Lente

  • Do a harmonic warm-up (see bar 5). Try not to reach for your harmonics, and try each one again if you don’t hit it right the first time.
  • Be stricter with your rhythm.
  • Practice getting your 3rd and 2nd fingers on the string in your first quaver rest so your F# is ready and the rhythm is completely up to your bow.
  • Practice bars 19 and 20, and 35 quite a bit for the shifts (don’t forget the ghost note!).
  • Notice from 29 when your slurs are split and when they are smooth.
  • Go onto bar 36.

Mon 3rd May 2021

Allegro ma non Presto

  • Work really carefully on getting comfortable at the slow speed. Spend a few bars listening to the metronome and imagining the speed of your semiquavers before you start playing.
  • Pick bits out to troubleshoot if you know they are slowing you down (or the opposite!).

Valse Lente

  • Think about the neatness of your rests.
  • Work on getting the rhythm really obvious in 13, 15 and 17.

Mon 26th Apr 2021

Valse Lente

  • Violin up nice and high to help get the harmonics.
  • Keep the harmonics nice and light – they will ring after you’ve taken your bow off.
  • Practice doing a retake in your quaver rests in bars 5 and 7.
  • Listen to your sound quality after those rests: if it’s a bit crunchy, just practice up bow circles on that note.
  • Careful of the bowing from 8-12. Try to get it right 3 times in a row each practice.

Allegro ma non presto

  • This week, split the piece into sections and work with the metronome, practising all the “B” material first. Don’t move up to the next speed til you’re comfortable and accurate at the speed both on the day and at the start of the next practice session.

Mon 19th Apr 2021

Keep checking your posture this week – weight equally on both feet and elbow off your hip.


  • Give each scale a rating, 1-3. Make sure you practice the 3s every practice, plus two 2s and one 1.

Valse Lente

  • Use your 4th finger for the harmonics.
  • Do a teardrop-shaped retake after your first 3 harmonics.
  • Aim for a nice flowing feeling.
  • Just work up to bar 20.

Allegro ma non presto

  • Make sure you settle really well in bar 20, counting 3 beats before starting the next bar.
  • Listen to the sound quality at the start of each note – sometimes it’s a bit harsh. Can you make it bright and light?
  • At 24 and 25, keep track of the crotchet pulse to keep you moving through, but also make sure you’ve got a high 3 on the D string and low 3s on the A and E string.
  • Learn the rest of the piece.

Mon 29th Mar 2021

Allegro ma non presto

  • Careful with your rhythm in bar 4.
  • 5-12 is really improving! Make sure your Gs are #.
  • Work on light quavers from 13, and set your metronome to crotchet = 60. This will actually be a great speed to practice the whole of this first section at!
  • Look at the rest of the piece. Remember the bouncy quavers everywhere!

Take Five

  • Make sure your first 4 notes are swinging the right way! Think “Laura Laura”.
  • How clear can you get the B and D either side of the grace notes in bar 5?
  • On the last note, let the note die away, towards the fingerboard with your bow.

Keep practising the technical exercises this Easter. Start looking at Valse Lente on p. 12.

Mon 22nd Mar 2021

Allegro ma non presto

  • Great metronome work on 13-20!
  • Keep all your quavers light, even if they’re not staccato.
  • Practice 5-8 with the metronome, starting at 90, first with just a semiquaver and dotted quaver, then add the G#s. Keep your right shoulder down – quick down bows, slow up bows. Make sure you’re only doing 3 beats per bar!
  • Try 9-12 one bar at a time with the metronome.

Mon 15th Mar 2021


  • Learn the fingering for the chromatic scale. Keep it slow, but when it’s confident, add the slurs.

Allegro ma non Presto

  • ALWAYS think about your key signature before you start.
  • On line 1, try not to hesitate on the bar lines.
  • Practice 13-20 with a metronome, starting at quaver=90. Be super careful about your 2nd and 3rd finger tuning. Ask someone to listen and see if you’re with it before you increase the speed.

Take Five

  • Work on your swung quavers, especially if a string crossing is involved.
  • From 13, super low 2nd fingers and nice and clean on your quaver rests.
  • At the end, die away to nothing, including your vibrato.

Mon 8th Mar 2021


  • Practice your F minor scale very carefully. Get the first 3 notes in tune and sounding neat with the bow before you try the whole thing.

Allegro ma non Presto

  • Add some bounce to your quavers.
  • Practice bars 1-4, then bars 13-20, then do some troubleshooting practice on bars 5-12.
  • From bar 5, each bar should start on a down bow. Try to keep the semiquavers even, despite the slurs, no matter what speed your’re practising it at.
  • Practice 5-8 as quavers without the G#s. Then change the rhythm to a semiquaver and a dotted quaver. Next, do the same whilst making sure your 1st finger is resting right behind the 2nd finger. In all these exercises, aim for the best sound quality and tuning possible. Ideally all these exercises should be played at the same speed you’re playing bars 1-4.
  • The try 5-12 under tempo and only speed it up if you’re feeling confident.

Take Five

  • Think about how tidy this is as you play through it.
  • Work in sections tidying it up – section A then C, then B then D.
  • At the start, make sure your 2nd finger is in the right place before you start.

Mon 1st Mar 2021


  • Learn them! Ask for my help on any you need to next lesson.

Estampie Royal

  • This sounded so much better once we started thinking more about the beat.
  • I loved seeing you start to use the piano part to help you play in time. Any time you play withe piano now, try to work with the pianist. You’re on the same team after all!

Allegro ma non presto

  • Clap the first line a few times before you start playing.
  • Play an A Major scale as a warm-up.
  • Keep the quavers light.
  • Try to get up to the double bar.

Keep practising Take Five, and try really hard with your posture this week.

Mon 24th Feb 2021


  • In the rhythmic exercise, remember the piccadilly rhythm and hold your last note for two full beats. Try it in second position.
  • In E Major, work on getting the first fingers really in tune. Maybe even play the E and A before you start. This applies to F minor too – think of Heigh Ho!
  • Try practising your scales with your eyes closed to listen really carefully for tuning and sound quality.

Estampie Royale

  • Lighter quavers.
  • Try to land a bit lighter on the double stops.
  • Practice with the piano part to perform next week.

Take Five

  • Make sure you start up bow.
  • Be a bit more precise with your grace notes.
  • Keep the chromatic quaver passages relaxed.
  • Troubleshooot any untidy bars by just working on that bar.
  • Memorise as much of it as you can.

Mon 8th Feb 2021


  • Keep your violin up nice and high as you practice these.
  • When playing with the track, be ready to play before you press play.
  • Be your own teacher as you practice and think of ways to improve.
  • Try to cover all your scales at least every two practises.

Estampie Royale

  • Aim for neater landings on retakes and lighter quavers.
  • Always be listening for neatness in tuning and rhythm.
  • Practice this in as much detail as we did in the lesson and aim for a performance for me at the start of next lesson. Maybe your descendants piece too?

Keep practising Take 5, also in this much detail!

Mon 1st Feb 2021


  • Practice the scales alone, then with the backing tracks, focusing on tuning and slurs.
  • In the dotted rhythm exercise, careful you’re tight enough with your semiquavers. Try it in 2nd position.

Technical exercises

  • Check last week’s notes for these.

Estampie Royale

  • As this piece is more familiar now, use it as a chance to work on your bow hold. Set it very deliberately before you start, maybe even doing some pinkie push-ups.
  • Take care of crotchets with a quaver rest afterwards – they should be finished off neatly.
  • Start to introduce more lightness to your quavers.

Take Five

  • You’ve got the style of this piece really well!
  • Make the crotchet before the grace notes a bit longer, eg. bar 5. How precise can your string crossing be there?
  • Practice any chromatic sections a bit more and at a steadier speed so they’re really secure. It’s actually getting the tones big enough that will really help here!
  • From 26, aim for the crotchets so your last semiquaver isn’t too long.

Mon 25th Jan 2021


  • Get used to the slurs.
  • I’ll record a track.
  • B major rhythm exercise – longer dotted quavers, smaller gaps.
  • E major is in 4th position. Careful of the tuning of your 4th note in particular (it’s like We Wish You a Merry Christmas).
  • F minor – careful of the tiny angle between strings.
  • Chromatic scale – light up bows so they don’t stick out. Try 0112234 on GDA strings and 0123 on E. Try with your old fingering too and pick the best.

Technical exercise 1

  • Lighter bow – let the vibrations be free!
  • Don’t start til you’re sure of your first note’s tuning.
  • Careful to keep at 6 notes per bow!

Technical exercise 3

  • Higher F#.
  • Can the crossings back to the lower string be just as smooth?
  • Practice the last bar and a half to get no hesitation.

Mon 18th Jan 2021

Technical exercises

  • Ex 1: Much better with the fingers this week! Now try 6 notes per bow, really letting it flow, especially on the bow changes. Aim for olympic swimmer bowing – this requires looking ahead so your fingers know what’s coming! Set metronome for 50.
  • Ex 2: Great start! Listen to make sure it’s as neat as possible.
  • Ex 3: No slurs, and with C natural. Middle of the bow. Why not put a bit of string on the middle of the bow as a marker as you get used to it?

Estampie Royale

  • Practice the section from 23 the most, with a metronome to make sure you’re not skipping ahead anywhere.
  • Practice bar 23 (minus the last note) on a loop at a speed you can rely on for tuning, then speed it up when the tuningis secure.
  • Careful of the dotted crotchet in 27.
  • Playing from 19, make sure the start of 23 sounds confident.

Mon 11th Jan 2021

Technical exercises

  • Ex. 1: Practice 6 notes per bow for now, planning how much bow to use on each note and letting the bow flow freely.
  • Remember to honour accidentals for the whole bar.
  • Ask someone to play along on the piano until your tuning is more reliable.
  • Work out the hand shapes of each bar and trust them instead of what you think you should hear.
  • For exercise 2, practice the second half of each bar first, curving your pinkie, relaxing your shoulder and raising your elbow slightly to help the off-the-tring bowing.
  • Exercise 3: make sure you follow all 3 instructions.

Estampie Royale

  • Read last week’s notes.
  • Careful of your 1st finger tuning in the section from bar 12.
  • Use more bow at the start of 24 to help with the two ups after.

Check previous weeks for practice tips for Take Five.

Mon 4th Jan 2021

  • Print off the MTB exercises and scales (see links above).
  • Always play a relevant scale to warm up for each piece.

Estampie Royale

  • Think about posture and bow hold at all times.
  • Watch out for slurs and bowing in general.
  • Keep double stops strong for the whole note.
  • Keep the semiquavers flowing in 21.
  • Practice the first two notes of bar 23 on their own, then bar 22 plus one note. For each exercise, play it 3 times right in a row before putting it back into context. Do these exercises EVERY prcatice session til it’s bullet-proof.

Mon 14th Dec 2020

Take Five

  • Count the beats in bar 1 really carefully.
  • You’re playing this with really good style!
  • Try not to hesitate in the semiquavers, especially when changing string for a C on the G string.
  • See how you get on with the whole piece!

Take Five

  • Start in the middle of the bow with an up bow.
  • Clean string crossings at the start.
  • Aim for a longer B before the grace notes, and no slidy fingers! Remember it’s like a chromatic scale.
  • Practice from 14 with a metronome at about crotchet = 80 til it feels easy, then speed it up a bit.
  • Can you disappear to nothing on the last note?
  • Check the top of this page for links to the MTB technical exercises.

Mon 7th Dec 2020


  • Remember there are three things to focus on: intonation, sound quality and fluency.
  • Aim to find your starting notes silently.

Estampie Royale

  • Google what a Hurdy Gurdy is.
  • Add the accents at the beginning and in bar 6.
  • Practice up to bar 11.

Take Five

  • Remember to start with an up bow.
  • No need to clap the rhythms anymore, but approach the music with as much care as you would if you were clapping.
  • Carry on and see how far you can get!

Pick some Christmas tunes to do next lesson and send me a copy (unless they’re in Fiddle Time Christmas, as I have that book here).

Mon 30th Nov 2020

  • Start EVERY practice with at least 3 scales from your pots. Try to get into the habit of doing this so it’s second nature.

An Chloë

  • If you practice this at all, work on cleaning up the last section, from the upbeat to bar 23. Otherwise, well done!

Estampie Royal

  • Work on getting your rhythms really strong, both by clapping and playing, but think just as carefully about them when you’re playing!
  • Try to get the balance between waiting on crotchets and hitting the ground running on semiquavers.

Don’t forget to always ask if you don’t understand something!

Mon 23rd Nov 2020

Rhythm challenge: Which of these two pieces is in 7/8? And what time signature do you think the other is in?

O Come, All Ye Faithful

  • Start up bow and don’t forget the retake after the rest on the 2nd line.
  • Great dynamics!
  • Practice repeating the whole thing, going back to the 2nd violin part.
  • Practice with this guide track. It has 3 full bars of metronome at the start, plus 3 beats. Use headphones and have one ear in.
O Come, All Ye Faithful guide track

An Chloë

  • As neat as you can in bar 10, finishing the last phrase and then starting the next one cleanly.
  • Practice bar 13 for the bowing (it starts with a down bow).
  • From 17, longer bows to connect the crotchets in a flowing line.
  • Practice bars 29 and 30 the most – the quavers need to be quite fast and definitely neat.
  • Practice the last line, thinking about the semitone between 3rd and 4th fingers on both strings.

Mon 16th Nov 2020

To improve your rhythm, read last week’s notes on how to do the post-it note challenge.

An Chloë

  • Aim for good sound quality throughout – your first full bar sounded great when you started today, so try to match that.
  • Flow from one line to another.
  • If bar 9 feels like hard work, practice it like we did in the lesson, getting rid of the semiquavers at first and then adding them back in, keeping your bow just as relaxed and flowing.
  • Longer bow stroke for crotchets at 11 and 12. Making each crotchet progressively longer will help achieve the crescendo really well.
  • How tidy can you make bars 15-20?
  • How beautiful can you make the last line?

Practice O Come, All Ye Faithful. Think how you want your posture to look on video!

Mon 9th Nov 2020

Read last week’s notes if you haven’t already.

Sound quality – I think you can fix 90% of this by curving your little finger and thumb. Take a moment before everything you play to rest the bow on the string and tap your little finger. Check the thumb each time too, and make sure your right shoulder doesn’t shrug.

Joshi’s Dance

  • For vibrato, make sure violin is secure on your shoulder and keep your thumb gently resting on the neck.
  • Don’t always start from the beginning – practice the secion from bar 24-41 more than the rest. Get someone to listen, following along with the piano part, to give you a score out of 10 for your rhythm.

An Chloë

  • Use post-it notes so Mum, Dad or Matthew can set you a rhythm challenge each day. Find 10 post-it notes:
    • One one, write a 4/4 time signature
    • On three of them, write one crotchet rest
    • On three of them, write one crotchet
    • On three of them, write a pair of quavers.
  • For the rhythm challenge, clap a few bars of 4 crotchets, then when you know you’re feeling the steady beat, change to clapping the rhythm they have set you.
  • Then practice the piece, remembering the up bow start, curved little finger and to count yourself in.
  • Watch these videos whilst following your music through and let me know what you thought next lesson:

Mon 2nd Nov 2020

LISTENING – we had a good chat about how to achieve your full potential today: imagining the sound you want to make and listening to see if you have achieved this. Don’t let yourself get awau with less than your best!

Listen carefully in everything you do in your practice, from now until… well, forever!!!

Scales – make sure you always warm up with at least 3 scales from your scale pots.

Joshi’s Dance

  • Remember this is a grade 3 piece – how can you get 30/30?
  • In the rustic sections, see if you can up your speed even more using a metronome.
  • In the cantabile sections, imagine the soft sound you want to hear. Light bow, fingerboard and a bit of relaxed vibrato (careful not to press in your left hand).

An Chloë

Mon 19th Oct 2020


  • Try to get through them all over the next 2 weeks and let me know which ones you need help on.

Joshi’s Dance

  • We were working at minim = 70. When you’re happy with that, go up to 90, then 100, then 112.
  • Don’t forget the marcato bowing!
  • At 12 go into daydream mode – a sweet sound and whispy bow.

Air de Ballet

  • Make the dynamics super obvious.
  • Can you make the repeated down bows have poise like a ballet dancer?
  • Stop to think about the F naturals and C naturals before you start playing.
  • I’d love to hear a performance of this next lesson!

I’d love to mark some theory papers for you soon too!

Mon 12th Oct 2020

Joshi’s Dance

  • To warm up, play C Major scale, arpeggio and Dominant 7th (what note does it start on?).
  • Try it at minim=50 for a few practises, then try it a bit faster.
  • Hold your up bow semibreves for their full length with no gap before the next note.
  • Practice the section at bar 24 for bow co-ordination.

Mon 5th Oct 2020


  • Same as last week – so read last week’s notes carefully!
  • Keep your thumb relaxed but secure and try to keep your violin stable so you can bow smoothly.

Air de Ballet

  • Try with a metronome so that each 4 bar phrase is the same speed.
  • If anything is a bit messy, stop to neaten it up – you know how!
  • Listen for the sound quality at the start of each repeated down bow note – can it be smoother, like your bow is travelling in one big circle?

Have a look at Joshi’s Dance if you like, but make sure you observe all the details!

Mon 28th Sep 2020

To really get the most out of practice, have these notes to hand for reference – if Laura can bookmark them on her device that would be great!


  • Keep going through the vibrato book – I’d love to hear a report at the start of next lesson telling me what you’ve worked on from it this week!
  • Memorise the vibrato scale (see last week) and practice it slowly – maybe even with a metronome – at about crotchet=60.

Air de Ballet

  • Play C major scale as a warm-up to help get your ear used to F and C naturals.
  • Practice the first line just for F and C naturals – trust your finger placing more than your ear!
  • Always stand up straight and use your bow with care – control placing the bow on the string and the timing of your string crossings (practice this on the very first note of the piece, and on bars 5-8).
  • Read through the piece without your violin to spot the dynamics, then play through aiming to make them really obvious.
  • Practice with a metronome a few times: are you playing each section the same speed?

Mon 21st Sep 2020

Vibrato exercise

  • Start with a high violin, then slide the hand up and down the fingerboard by closing and opening the elbow. Then make the movement progressively smaller until you land in 1st position.
  • Use a slow, full bow.


  • Start with a relaxed left hand and aim for a constant light vibrato.
  • Here are two vibrato champions – watch their left hands!
An old great, Jascha Heifetz.
And a modern violinist who plays lots of Romantic repertoire (music starts at 3:15)
  • Keep an eye on how straight your bow is – this will help with the next point:
  • How clean can you make it? Listen to the sound – is your bow crossing the strings cleanly and is your tuning pure (yes, it IS important!! The head of strings at my music college once told us tuning is the one thing you can’t get away with in an audition! If you’re out of tune, you’ve lost the job straight away!)
  • Take a quiet moment to look through the piece for dynamics. Play it through once each practice JUST for dynamics.

Air de Ballet

Start looking at this, but read the lightbulb at the bottom of the page first!

Mon 14th Sep 2020


  • I have written which position to play Cs and Es in on the list above.
  • Think in halves of octaves to help with thinking ahead.
  • Close eyes to concentrate if you need to.

Viva Vibrato

  • Revise what you had done before and keep going!

Down By the Riverside

  • Press play on this track and follow the music through to see where we have rhythms together:
  • Get ready to play – little finger curved, violin up, first notes ready – then press play. Remember the staccatos!
  • Check last week’s notes to see if you can improve any of those points even more.

Baklanova Romance

  • Check last week’s notes.
  • Try to start your first note smoothly, in the mood of the piece.
  • Practice bars 7-10 for tuning and rhythm.
  • Practice 19-38 for bowing. Maybe try to memorise the bowing?

Mon 7th Sep 2020

Baklanova Romance

Before you start:

  • Violin up nice and high, so your left elbow can swing freely.
  • Play EFA so your first 3 notes are ready.
  • Don’t forget it starts on a down bow!


  • Slow crotchets in bars 8 and 44.
  • F naturals from bar 16.
  • Spend a few minutes working on the bowing (especially slurs) between 29 and 38.
  • B flats from bar 50

Down by the Riverside

  • Don’t forget the rests!
  • Full length minims in 17, 25 and 33.
  • In 18, 26 and 34 – make sure the crotchets are on beats 3 and 4.
  • Practice 20-23 for the top notes in 21 and 23.
  • Play along with this track if you’d like to play it as a violin duet with me!

Wed 4th Mar 2015

Your first violin lesson! 😄🎻

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