Ten Minute Technique: Open String Ladder Scales

Hi Everyone! Welcome to music education in the era of COVID-19. It seems like a good time for us to share teaching ideas and ways of working with students via video uploads, so here’s my first, highly casual, and imperfect attempt. I’m a regular violin/viola clinician in the public schools in Houston, TX. I’m also a Feldenkrais practitioner, so you’ll find that I sneak some of that into my approach, ninja-style!

My plan is to start uploading some Ten Minute Technique videos of exercises and processes I use in lessons with all levels of string players. I am hoping this will provide a practice resource for students, especially those without private teachers, and a reference for educators who are looking for teaching tools in this challenging time.

My first technique, Ladder Scales, is one I use in school clinics to teach the movement of shifting and position mapping in 1st through 5th positions. This video includes 2-3 minutes of introduction and explanation (including basic breakdown of the actions and functions involved) plus 10 minutes of active playing. This exercise is done at a quarter note = 60. Students should tune to a 440 A to either play along, or listen to the recorded version of each exercise, then stop the recording to try it.

I hope you and your upper strings students will find these useful!

Please feel free to suggest new topics in the comments.

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