- Ongoing exercises – left-hand finger independent movement, rhythmic exercise from lesson 2 (clapping with metronome set to 60bpm)
- Bow Distribution - The bow is divided simply into either two halves (UH – upper half and LH – lower half) or three points (at the frog, in the middle, and at the tip). Most comfortable place to start playing is the middle of the bow where the weight of the bow is nicely balanced. For the first exercise I would start in the middle and play four short notes and two longer ones (four 16th notes and two 8th notes) on all open strings. For this exercise make sure you keep the bow straight and don’t use your upper arm. All motion for small notes comes from “small” muscles – just use the wrist and little bit of forearm. This exercise can be found under “Exercise for Proper E-String Posture” in the Suzuki book1
- Left finger placement and elbow position - Do the previous exercise with 1st finger on the E string, then with 2nd, and finally with 3rd. You don't have to worry about the pinkie just yet. Start on E string and repeat on all strings and at all points of the bow - middle, tip, and frog. Make sure that the left elbow is moving left and right to help reach the strings. For example, if you’re holding 3rd finger on the E string your elbow is pointing slightly to the left of the vertical line but if you are holding the same finger on the G string move your elbow to the right in order to make the reach little easier.
AFTER MASTERING THE ABOVE EXERCISES WE WILL BE ABLE TO PLAY THE FIRST REAL SONG – TWINKLE, TWINKLE LITTLE STAR.
Theory Lesson: please click on the link below, read and do the exercises
- Clap your hands with of your favorite song. First clap on the beats and then try to clap off beats (between the beats, syncopation).
- Above exercises - small bow strokes and finger placement (Video)
- First line of the "Theme" of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star on page 9 of Suzuki Book 1 (Video) - if it's you'd like play the wole song.
We are now ready to practice playing first three fingers of the left hand which is everything we need to play the entire Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.
The violin has three stripes of tape on the fingerboard corresponding with where the fingers of the left hand should be placed. There is a gap (whole step) between the 1st (index) finger and the 2nd finger. The 2nd and 3rd are right next to each other. Practice playing 4 short notes, then a short break and 4 notes again in the middle of the bow starting with 1st finger. Repeat 5 times each finger on each string. We will add the 4th finger in near future.
Before you start playing Twinkle Twinkle sing it quietly. It will give you an idea of what you is your ultimate goal. Melody and rhythm. Sing and tap your foot before playing.
Tap the tip of the foot with each beat. I don't mean anything heavy or distracting. Just tap lightly with every beat. It'll be difficult at the beginning to sync it up with the music. There is a lot to think about, the left hand, right hand, rhythm, and now taping too. The more you practice it the better. For example the first 6 notes of Twinkle are each on the beat so tap with the beginning of each note. The 7th note is two beats long so you tap twice(in the same tempo) and so on. This will help to achieve sense of tempo and rhythm.
How to practice
Practice Twinkle Twinkle bar by bar until it feels comfortable and sounds good. Listen to quality of your sound!! Then connect two bars together and play those several times, add more bars and do the same until you cover the entire song. This is a simple and effective method to practice any piece of music of any level of difficulty. I also recommend to look for the same (or similar) music in the song to avoid practicing the passage you've already practiced, it will save you time. For example the first line of Twinkle Twinkle is exactly the same as the last line. If you master the first one, you got the end too. Practice slowly, keep the same tempo you choose in the beginning and make sure each finger is ready before the next one.
Learn the names of notes. On the last page of Suzuki book 1, there is a picture of D major scale with names of notes below. Learn the names and write the name above each note in Twinkle Twinkle. Also put a number corresponding with the finger you are using to every note.
Practice Twinkle Twinkle with tapping.
Keep practicing Twinkle Twinkle. Concentrate on the passages that feels uncomfortable or difficult. Try to play it from memory and keep attention to beautiful sound. Practice in front of a mirror in an angle so you can see your bow hand if it is straight (parallel with the bridge). If the bow is in an angle other than that the sound will be affected and not clear.
Read and finish the following exercise:
The music staff and low and high notes - reading
Make sure you only play using about 2-3 inches of the bow. Keep the bow on the strings while not playing (counting the rests aloud). The bow should be always straight and placed between the bridge and fingerboard. Start playing both down and up bow on each string. Play in the middle of the bow first until the hand feels comfortable, then move to the frog and repeat again until perfected. The same rules apply to the tip of the bow. This exercise may be boring but is essential for beginners to learn the bow distribution and feel correctly.