This is a public version of the members-only Violin with Nathan Cole, at ArtistWorks. Functionality is limited, but CLICK HERE for full access if you’re ready to take your playing to the next level.

These lessons are available only to members of Violin with Nathan Cole.
Join Now

Beginner Violin
Intermediate Violin
Advanced Violin
Orchestral Excerpts
Concertmaster Solos
30 Day Challenge
«Prev of Next»

Violin Lessons: Expressive Shifting

Lesson Video Exchanges () submit video Submit a Video Lesson Study Materials () This lesson calls for a video submission
Study Materials
information below
Lesson Specific Downloads
Play Along Tracks
Backing Tracks +
Written Materials +

+Beginner Violin

+Intermediate Violin

+Advanced Violin

+Orchestral Excerpts

+Concertmaster Solos

Additional Materials +
resource information below Close
Collaborations for
resource information below Close
Submit a video for   

This video lesson is available only to members of
Violin with Nathan Cole.

Join Now

information below Close
Course Description

This page contains a transcription of a video lesson from Violin with Nathan Cole. This is only a preview of what you get when you take Violin Lessons at ArtistWorks. The transcription is only one of the valuable tools we provide our online members. Sign up today for unlimited access to all lessons, plus submit videos to your teacher for personal feedback on your playing.

CLICK HERE for full access.
Expressive shifts are ones that should
be heard, as opposed to transportation
shifts which should be hidden.
Expressive shifts are the ones we all love
when we're listening to great violinists
in, in live performances.
We wait for those shifts, they're almost
like the, the,
the tricks that ice skaters do and
gymnasts do, they're big moments.
And they should be big, so make them
For example, if you have a big
shift like this
You want to hear all the in between.
Now it can be done at so many different
speeds at different pressures but
for all of them, your bow is your fuel.
Without using the bow, without bow focus
into the string, the shift dies.
Those shifts may be fine but
their success is determined simply by
whether I hit the top note or not.
There's no interest in the middle because
I've cut out the bow pressure.
I want bow pressure like this.
With that basic idea of putting speed and
pressure through the shift into the
arrival note,
I can still do the shift at any speed.
Really fast, [SOUND] when we slow.
And my success won't be determined just by
whether I just hit that top note but we're
often so obsessed about that.
But we need also to practice the
choreography of the two hands.
Now because a shift is expressive, it's
almost certainly going to have vibrato.
The vibrato should happen before, during
and after the shift.
Too many times I hear people cutting out
the vibrato right before and
also right after.
So the, this sort of bad habit shift would
that has a big dead spot right in the
[SOUND] Instead, the vibrato should
propel you to the top note and through it.
Now, there are a few more types of
expressive shifts than there
are transportation shifts.
We've got, the same finger ascending and
We usually have more
leeway in ascending shifts,
as far as how slowly we can do them.
The descending shifts can start to sound
in bad taste if they get really slow.
I'm talking about now the the expressive
There are exceptions and you know, the
greater the risk, the greater the reward.
But generally you can do an ascending
shift much more slowly.
Then you can the equivalent descending.
So you have to pick your moments for that.
Now of course, we've got the old finger,
ascending and descending.
Again, with the descending
shifts, use your ear.
Those can tend to sound less vocal,
because of the, the gap, the interval.
Here, I have a gap of a third between
the old finger and the arrival note.
So, the timing on those you want to switch
to the new note as
soon as the guide finger gets to where
it's going.
Rather than
which sounds a little messy.
Also got the new finger up, new finger
[SOUND] Now that's a kind of shift that we
did not
have with the transportation shifts.
A transportation shift from one to two,
you would shift on the old finger.
[SOUND] And drop the two.
Here, this is the new finger, so as soon
as you start the shift,
the new finger goes down and it arrives to
the new note.
We don't do that
with descending shifts.
It just, there's no real vocal
equivalent and it never sounds good so
new finger ascending but not new finger
So, for your video for the expressive
I'd like you to pick a couple of these.
The longer distances are easier to for
you to show me that you really understand
what's going on.
When you pick your shift, make sure you
keep the bow in the string and
vibrate before, during and after.
You can pick a couple different ones.
And I'd like it to be slurred and
then I'd like you to show me several
different types,
same finger, ascending and descending.
An old finger, ascending and descending,
and finally a new finger,
ascending, and it'd be great if you could
show me on a few different strings.