Technique: Scale and arpeggio practice

Andrea pc Brian Sweeney

Violinist Andrea Gajic gives hints and tips on practising scales and arpeggios

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Good scale and arpeggio practice is a vehicle for developing and refining every aspect of violin playing – building the control necessary to enable freedom of musical expression. A progressive approach is essential and huge improvement can be seen in students who work consistently and effectively. Rhythmic acceleration (with the Galamian turn) provides the ideal practice model because the tempo builds gradually. This is a useful approach that can be applied to studies and the wider repertoire.

It is often evident, when first hearing a student play scales and arpeggios, that they haven’t considered what they are trying to achieve; however, the benefits of scales and arpeggios are multidimensional. The absolute focus required in scale and arpeggio practice builds the mental stamina which is essential in the performance of repertoire. There should be no trace of autopilot.

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