Violist Misha Galaganov recommends exercises from August Wilhelmj and James Brown’s out-of-print A Modern School for Violin,  to accompany his Technique  article in the October 2021 issue


The following is related to The Strad’s October 2021 issue  Technique feature ‘Trills and Embellishments’. To read it in full, click here  to subscribe and login. The October 2021 digital magazine   and print edition   are on sale now

August Wilhelmj was a famous German violinist and virtuoso, a child prodigy, who studied with Ferdinand David and then came to England at the end of the 19th century. He and his colleague James Brown wrote a wonderful series of six books called A Modern School for the Violin, each divided into part A and part B. The A books provide basic technical exercises and advice; the B books provide more musical context. They contain some great exercises for developing the trill. To practise last-moment finger lifts and drops, and the development of trill speed and control, I particularly recommend:

Book 1b, exercise nos.9, 21, 33

Wilhelmj, Book 1b, IX- finger training and trill practice-1 crop

Book 1b, exercise no.9 - finger training and trill practice

Wilhelmj, Book 1b, XXI - mordent and grace notes practice, trill preparation-1

Exercise 21 - mordent and grace notes practice, trill preparation

Wilhelmj, Book 1b, XXXIII - trill practice-1

Exercise 33 - trill practice

Book 2a, exercise no.18

Wilhelmj, Book 2a, XVIII preparatory trill exercises-1 crop

Book 2a, exercise no.18 - preparatory trill exercises


Book 2b, exercise nos.19, 22, 26

Wilhelmj, Book 2b, XIX, short trill, mordent training-1 crop

Book 2b, exercise no.19 - short trill, mordent training


Wilhelmj, Book 2b, XXII trill endings, turns, mordents-1

Exercise no.22 - trill endings, turns, mordents

Wilhelmj, Book 2b, XXVI, trill-1

Exercise 26 - trills

Read: 3 simple trill exercises for players and teachers

Read: Technique: Trills and embellishments

Read: 7 ways to improve your trills