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Violin Lessons: Schradieck

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The first three pages of the Schradieck
School of Violin Technics
are very famous and very simple.
But like any simple etude or
piece you can extend it to serve many
different purposes.
My old teacher, Dan Mason, reminded me
that this was Heifetz's favorite warm-up.
And that when he would arrive at class, he
would often play these first three pages.
And his quote was that, you were never too
rich or too famous for
the first three pages of Schradieck.
These etudes teach basic hand frame
working within a hand frame,
pitch, light even finger pressure, and
evenness of the finger articulation.
Very simple.
And it's nice that it's simple because it
gives you the chance to
really set the hand frame that you'd like.
Remember that when you're setting that
frame, you need to base it so
that the upper two fingers can reach
As they can here, nice and curved.
Now my one reaches back for first
My thumb is in a nice supporting role with
barely any pressure necessary.
It just ma, it should match the finger
Now, because I want only as much finger
pressure as necessary,
I might assign my finger pressure a
number, from one to ten.
Only you need to know what these numbers
But it's nice for you to assign a number
you can compare different finger
So let's say I play.
I'm gonna call that a six out of ten.
So now I wanna see what a three feels
And I'm surprised to see that actually a
three feels even better.
And that's great.
If you're still getting the articulation
that you need with a three
then why have more pressure, why have more
You're gonna be able to play more quickly
and your career will last longer.
If you're not getting the articulation you
need you can certainly see what a seven,
eight, or a ten would feel like.
Remember these numbers are relative,
they only have importance to you as a
learning tool.
So one of the best techniques you can use
to even this out,
if you hear that it's not quite even.
Is to force some unevenness.
So you force it by playing with dotted
rhythms, and
you make those dotted rhythms as tight as
And the opposite.
So you almost think that the string is
hot, a little hot potato.
It's like a hot wire that the finger can't
stand to be on any more than necessary.
Then when you go back.
You'll find that it's very even.
You'll also want to notice times here when
you can put
more fingers down than absolutely
For example, something like this.
Would certainly be possible to play it
like that, but how about this?
Right at that moment is where I can put my
three down to prepare it for
alternating with the four.
There are all kinds of opportunities in
here where you can do that.
So it's a nice puzzle to figure out how
you can play this with the most
efficiency possible.
You can also mix different keys.
This is written with three sharps,
but there's no reason that it has to stay
that way.
You can make all kinds of variations with
the key signature, with bowings,
with rhythms.
The sky's the limit.
And the more you challenge your mind, the
more games you play,
the more dividends this will pay.
Now when you look at exercise number two
or what's the third page.
Aside from having a different key
signature this one
really emphasizes the work on finger
Already we have a high three which we
didn't have in the previous exercise.
>> [MUSIC].
>> And the low two.
So this requires that our basic frame be
able to handle a low two to a high three.
>> [MUSIC].
What I don't wanna see is the hand
constantly moving around and adjusting for
every note.
This means that the frame isn't really set
And you'll never be able to play quickly
and with consistent intonation that way.
So, you know, a little, little stretching
here and there is not out of line.
Especially depending on the size of your
But you'd like your basic frame and the
thumb to be able to remain calm and
still to play this whole etude.
Now a couple places here have chromatic
Now, it is right and proper that the
fingers should change shape here,
rather than the hand.
Going from a high three to a normal three,
the fingers should get more upright.
Again, it's the fingers that change shape
while the, the,
the frame of the hand stays in the same
So look for that feel, calm, even,
light pressure when you're playing these
Schradieck pages.