Welcome to your lesson notes page Roderick!

Sat 2nd Jan 2021

Key thing – elbow levels for string crossings.


  • Keep listening out for matching tuning between 4th fingers and open strings
  • Watch tuning on 2nd line, esp. 3rd position 4th finger
  • Keep observing rests on 3rd line
  • Last section – practice your open strings exercise in smaller sections til you feel your bow is relaxed and accurate
  • Buy a new E string?
  • Use a metronome starting at 45 for the whole of the last section, then up to 50. Next practice at 50 then 55, etc.
  • Remember to think about the elbow levels.


  • Metronome at 100 for the first section.
  • Longer 4th note in bar 21.
  • Bar 22 keep 3rd finger constant – shifting the hand weight to that finger will help the tuning.

Sat 19th Dec 2020


  • These are good warm-ups for the second line:
  • Aim for higher 3rd fingers on the E string on line 4.
  • Remember to hold the crotchet long enough in bar 16.
  • Practice the last section in 2 bar chunks with open strings. Use shorter bows and see how neat and precise you can get these string crossings.

Pastime with Good Company

  • Here’s a recording of the second half with a metronome set to crotchet=80. It’s ok to slow down very slightly in the last bar.
  • When listening to this recording, or a YouTube version, follow your part and clap the rhythms as you listen.
  • Here is a tenuto definition for you.
  • Think about where you might use 4th fingers.
  • Start bar 22 with a nice low 2nd finger.
  • Watch out for the rests in bar 26.

Sun 6th Dec 2020


  • Watch out for tuning when playing the same note with different fingers.
  • Keep your rests precise and clear, especially in line 3.
  • Keep the crotchet pulse the same when switching to triplets.
  • In bar 13, position your high 2nd finger when you play the last note of the bar so it’s ready for the next bar.
  • In bar 16, imagine a group of triplets to help play the crotchet long enough.
  • Practice the triplet sections in two-bar chunks , and especially from bar 17, try to look ahead and register each triplet group as a whole, ahead of playing it.

Pastime with Good Company

  • Play a 1 octave G melodic minor scale to warm up, keeping the 3rd finger’s tuning stable as you move the 2nd finger, plus this exercise to warm up 2nd finger independence for bar 4:
Aim to play this at the speed of the piece.
  • Don’t rush the crotchets from bar 9.
  • Use a 4th finger whenever the note is surrounded by lower notes, e.g. the semiquaver A in bar 14.
  • Start looking at verse 2.

Sat 21st Nov 2020


Here’s a video of the real thing!

  • Watch out for the G and F sharps in bar 2
  • Keep the rhythm as good in lines 2 and 3 as it is in line 1, especially observing the rests.
  • 3rd section warm-up (repeat a few times):
  • Talk yourself through this last section, identifying the arpeggios.
  • In bar 21, notice your 1st finger needs to move for the first half of the bar, then the 3rd finger in the second half of the bar.
  • Practice doing the p repeats, as suggested.

Study in C

  • Slightly lighter with your bow – keep it flowing.
  • Careful of 3rd finger tuning in bars 7 and 9.
  • Try bowing variation (iv).

Sat 7th Nov 2020


  • Warm up with an A melodic minor scale to help with the #s in bar 2.
  • Practice this scale to warm up (you can practice it two different ways: with the position changes as suggested, and in 1st position to practice string crossings, except the last bar which needs to move to 3rd position regardless):
  • Always think horizontally with your bow, keeping it light, especially on string crossings.
  • In bar 3, play the first note with a 4th finger, then move to open A after the rest. If this is tricky with the bow, practice the first two notes of bar 1 a few times, then try the first 2 notes of bar 3.
  • Always stop the bow for the semiquaver rests. They will help you have time to think ahead.
  • In bar 6, move to 3rd position after the rest. Shift back to 1st position after the next rest in bar 7.
  • To help your fingers in bar 8, focus on the C being the bottom note.
  • In bar 11, use your 4th finger for the D# (think of it like an E flat instead).

Sat 24th Oct 2020

Study in C

  • Watch out for 4th finger tuning.
  • Practice bars 5, 7 and 9 like so:
  • Always keep your bow light and flowing.


  • Start bars 2, 3 and 4 with 4th fingers.
  • Play the p repeat in the upper half of the bow.

Mon 12th Oct 2020

Study in C

  • To improve string crossings:
    • Slow the tempo down;
    • Pick a problem bar and play the open strings version until your bow arm feels smooth and natural, keeping the string crossing movements as shallow as possible;
    • Alternate between the open string version and the written notes.


  • Warm up with a 2 octave A minor scale (both melodic and natural minors will be useful);
  • Make sure the semiquaver after the semiquaver rest flows into the following group of notes;
  • 4th fingers instead of open Es;
  • Shift to 3rd position after the rest in bar 6 and back to 1st position after the rest in bar 7. Use the rest to help you shift calmly and accurately – there’s no rush.

Pastime with Good Company

  • A G minor scale would be a good warm-up;
  • Feel free to work on pitches and rhythm separately at first.

Sat 26th Sep 2020

Try not to sit too close to your desk so that you can bow freely out in front of you, all the way to the tip.


  • Play the strings with a long slow bow so the tuner has time to register the sound.

Castle on a Cloud

  • When warming up with C major, make sure you use 1st and 2nd fingers to help you tune your first note.
  • In A harmonic minor, aim for a higher G# on the D string. Use the tuner to check your first and last notes.
  • In the piece, start in the middle of your bow to help with the quiet start.
  • Careful of the repeating rhythm you have at the start (quaver, two semiquavers).
  • In the second section, make the dotted rhythms a bit more precise.


  • Use a melodic minor scale, just ascending, to prepare for your first bar.
  • Retake for line 3.

Eta Cohen Scales

  • In the semibreve scale, aim for a consistent tone all along the bow (not too heavy-handed at the heel) and curl your little finger as you approach the heel.
  • In 2, start with a tiny bit of air bowing so that you really touch down lightly at the start of the crescendo, then make sure each note starts the same dynamic as the previous one finished.
  • In 5, use the full length of the bow, pulsing slightly to define the crotchets.

Study in C

  • A slightly lighter bow.
  • Look ahead so you read scales, arpeggios and direction changes rather than each individual note.
  • Start to try some bowing variations.

Fri 11th Sep 2020

In general when sitting at your desk to play, make sure you have both feet flat on the floor and sit on the highest part of the chair (is that the front edge?) to keep good posture. You should almost be mimicking standing from the waist upwards.

Angry Tango

  • From b.11, test how quiet you can go! You could try out some vibrato here too, but we can work on that together in the next lesson if you’d prefer.
  • In 19 and 20, imagine the notes are staccato except the accented note. Try a double up bow in 20 to help with this.
  • Careful of the tuning of you last note.

Castle on a Cloud

  • Count yourself in out loud with a bar of 3 and a bar of 2. Try to keep counting in your head throughout.
  • Start in the upper half near the fingerboard to help achieve pp.
  • From 12, keep the bow smooth. Watch out for dotted rhythms vs. straight quavers.
  • To work on the end of bar 13, practice just the last note of bar 13 going into the first note of bar 14 – start near the heel despite it being an up bow.


  • Warm up with D harmonic minor and F major scales, going as high as B flat on the E string.

New Book

  • Try the different bowing variations on any scales you play this week.
  • Learn the notes in Study in C – we can add the bowing variations once you are familiar with the piece.

Thu 27th Aug 2020

Here is the vibrato video. Take it slowly and gently and always make sure your whole arm is relaxed throughout.

Sat 14th Jun 2014

Your first lesson with me! 😄🎻

%d bloggers like this:
search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close