Welcome to your lesson notes page Vicky!

Wed 17th Feb 2021

Mozart Contredanse

  • Practice a G major scale with the piece’s bowing before starting work on this piece. You could also try it as one crotchet and two quavers on each note to practice the two slurred, two separate bowings.
  • Practice bar 7 on its own, really thinking about how your bow arm feels so you can tap into that feeling when you get there.
  • Be on the lookout for pairs of quavers that you’re automatically slurring by mistake.
  • In general, Mozart happens more in the lower half of the bow with a bit of a lift between notes (banana bowing!).

Between now and next lesson, why not bookmark any pieces you’d like help with next time or even make a list of any questions you have for me.

Wed 3rd Feb 2021


  • Try E Major in 4th position.
  • Don’t be in a hurry – play them at a steady tempo.
  • Practice any shifts in isolation.
  • Think about the pulse a bit to hep with slurring.
  • Always play the relevant scale before playing a piece to get your fingers and ear used to the new pitches.

Sea Shanty

  • Make sure the first two notes are super in tune before you start.
  • Play the first few notes of the third line a few times to make sure you stay in tune as you transition between these two sections and change position – remember it’s only really 1.5 position!

On Loch Lubnaig

  • Try to keep your bow really smooth when you’re shifting. It’s sounding great when you’re staying in position!

Have a week or two of sight reading new pieces. But remember to always play the relevant scale as a warm-up for each one!

Wed 20th Jan 2021


  • Now focus on the right hand – aim for a light bow and consistent tone throughout each note, rather than having a bulge just before your bow change.
  • Let me know if you need anything clarified in the Grade 4 scales book.

Scarborough Fair

  • Practice bar 14’s shift by sliding from F natural up to the A. Remember the Czech King’s cup-bearer!
  • Keep the bow light and soaring from 21.

Have a go at the Peentatonic pieces in this book and, in general, feel free to move between pieces a bit more – you’ll find many of them have technical things in common, and encountering them in lots of different guises will help you get more used to them.

Mon 4th Jan 2021


  • D minor – try to keep the bow relaxed, especially in the upper octave.

Stringbuilder book 3

  • Ex 2 – practice finding 3rd position from scratch several times each practice.
  • Make sure all Fs are natural.
  • Start with line 2. Only do line 1 if your left arm feels up to it.

Sea Shanty

  • Play a few bars of Fs to get the bowing settled before you start.
  • Keep your right shoulder blade relaxed and don’t feel the need to take the bow off the string too far. Make any lifts vertical rather than disturbing the angle of the bow.
  • Try to keep the same articulation even when you reach over to the G string. The bow arm should still be moving in the same way, you just lift your elbow slightly to get to the lower string.
  • Try to stay in the lower half of the bow, especially after the dotted crotchets.
  • Try not to let your 4th finger in bar 13 alter your left hand shape.

Send me a WhatsApp picture of any Stringbuilder pages you’d like to work on for next lesson.

Mon 14th Dec 2020


  • Try to keep your bow smooth when shifting.
  • In D minor, practice A – B flat – C# – D up and down a few times to isolate the shift.

Sea Shanty

  • Warm up with F major in 2nd position to get your tuning spot on.
  • You could also practice this scale with 4 bows on each note, practising banana-shaped bows (using a few inches of bow in the lower half and letting the bow lift slightly at the start and end of each bow).

Scarborough Fair

  • Keep the bowing light, and no need to use the whole bow.
  • Count your long notes carefully – maybe using a metronome a few times.
  • Try to think ahead a bit more about finger placements.
  • Be aware of whether your bow is coming closer to the bridge as you shift up into higher positions.
  • Play bar 18 a few times each practice session just as crotchets in a slur.
  • There are plenty of places throughout this piece where you can check your tuning against your open strings.
  • Be aware of your bowing – almost every bar starts down bow, so if you’re upside down stop and start again from a suitable place.

If you see any Stringbuilder books on your ebay hunts, it might be worth picking up books 2 and 3 as they have things like bowing and shifting exercises in them as well as pieces. They’d be good books for you to work through by yourself and then come to me with questions about!

Mon 16th Nov 2020

If you feel tension in your left hand, try this harmonic exercise:


  • For E major one octave, use your 4th fingers instead of open strings so it’s very similar to the other two keys.
  • Use 4th fingers on all strings for the B flat major scale – this will help when we try D major starting in 3rd position in future.
  • For now, stick to your fingering for the D keys. Use this exercise before you play, remembering to move from the elbow so that your whole hand (including the thumb!) shifts as a unit:
  • In the chromatic scale, think about G# being lower than your usual 4th finger position.

Scarborough Fair

  • For the opening p, bow closer the the fingerboard and with the wood of the bow tilted slightly away from you.
  • Careful not to hold 13 and 17 too long!
  • You could try the last note of 16 tucked into another down bow so you don’t need a retake in 18.
  • Practice 37 using this exercise:

Sea Shanty

  • Play F major 1 8ve in 2nd position to warm up.

Wed 17th Jul 2019

Your first lesson with me! 😄🎻

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