Having proper technique is not something that one can hope to grow into, it really has to be cultivated and practiced. Holding the viola properly is so important, and keeping the left hand positioned to easily play quickly and reliably in tune is really challenging. Holding the bow has its own special technique, with proper finger positioning of the utmost importance. However, students also need to enjoy the music they are playing, while they are learning correct technique! I break each student’s weekly practice routine into technical exercises and musical pieces. The technical exercises include scales for intonation and tone, finger dexterity exercises (such as those written by Schradieck and Sevcik) for knowledge of recurring patterns in key signatures as well as intonation, etudes for putting technique and bowing studies together in a more melodic format (beginning with Wohlfahrt, continuing through and including Dont, Sitt, Kreutzer, Mazas, Rode and Vieux), and solo repertoire (I like the collection of pieces in Suzuki books 1-4, and then move away from those mostly Baroque solos to more lyrical and increasingly technical sonatas and concerti from the Classical, Romantic and 20th century repertoire).

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