Technique: Left-hand calisthenics


Quick warm-ups to help you improve strength, endurance, flexibilty and control

There’s no question that the level of viola playing has gone up in recent decades, but viola jokes exist for a reason and I don’t want my students to become one of them! Learning to control the left hand, by mastering intonation and the way you put your fingertips down on the string, is an important first step. Finger calisthenics will help you to improve strength, fitness, flexibility and grace. This language is not typical in the string world, but we are athletes in our own way.

Calisthenics are especially important if you only have a very limited time to warm up. Have you ever turned up for an audition to find that the person before you didn’t appear, so you have to go in to play immediately? These exercises can be used to warm up your hands very quickly so that you can play all types of fingerings and double-stops right away…

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