Improve your violin technique with scales!
Practicing scales is great to improve your intonation, bowing technique, confidence on the fingerboard and violin playing in general
Like Itzhak Perlman points out in his masterclass I followed, scales should be part of your daily practice routine to get to know the fingerboard and play in tune confidently. When Heifetz tested him at the age of fourteen, he had to play scales to really test his violin technique.
Music is made out of scales
If you have scales, arpeggios and double stops in your fingers, it will take so much less time to practice a new piece of music. You can focus on expression and musicality much earlier without getting lost in the technique.
What scales should you practice?
According to Itzhak Perlman’s practice schedule, you spend around a third of your practice time on scales.
Each day you can:
Practice a different scale each day to maintain and improve your technique in general.
Pick a particular exercise, like scales in octaves, and play them in each key.
Do various exercises in the key that matches the piece you’re currently playing.
Apply different bowing techniques to (for example) a three octave scale.
This all depends on your level of playing and what you want to improve on right now. Never practice scales mindlessly. Always have a clear goal in mind and correct yourself like you’re your own teacher standing in the room.
Beginner to Intermediate Violin Scale Books
When you’re new to the antique violins, complete advanced scale books like I mention later in this article, might be very intimidating.
As a beginner or intermediate violinist, you might want to look into a scale book that’s more of a curriculum and tells you exactly what to start with and which scale to practice next. You want a scale book in order of difficulty.
Please forgive me for tooting my own horn, but I’d like to start with my own free violin scale book Sensational Scales. Not because I have the arrogance of thinking it’s the best (don’t worry, I don’t). I just to give you a free possibility right away to get you started with violin scales today.
With my students I’ve always missed a book that takes them from first scales in the first position to all three octave scales and beyond. Easy scale books were too easy, but complete scale books like you see later in this article were too difficult and intimidating.
I wrote a scale book that is based on sequence of finger patterns you learn in the first years of violin playing
In this way the scales will match the method book you’re working from and will feel logical to you.
In the book I’ve included fingerboard maps for each scale that show you exactly where to find the notes in the violin
In that way you never have to guess if it’s a large or small distance.
After this book you can move up to a complete scale method like the ones described below.
The best part about my scale book is that it’s FREE. Click here to download the PDF.
FREE Violin Scale Book
Sensational Scales is a 85 page violin scale book that goes from simple beginner scales with finger charts all the way to all three octave scales and arpeggios
Serrano – Learn Music Theory & Violin Scales
A Fun & Comprehensive Approach To Learning Theory & Violin Scales
If you’re looking for a violin scale book that not only gives you the sheet music for all the violin scales, but also teaches you about music theory, this book ‘Learn music theory and violin scales’ by Amy Serrano is the best book I can recommend.
It’s very easy to understand and shows you finger charts, circle of fifths and all the violin notes in the scales. You learn exactly what the different scales are and the distances between the notes. At the same time you’ll really understand scales, chords, keys and arpeggios. It goes up to three octave scales, so this book can guide you on your violin journey for many years.