Violin Tip of the Day
For Violin Students of All Ages
Practice and Rehearsal Tips.  Technique Pointers.  Violin Care Guidance. Exercises and Motivation for Violinists, Fiddlers or Anyone Interested in Stringed Instruments.
Today's Tip
Slow down!  When you are learning a piece, slow it down!

If I only had a nickel for every time my teachers have told me to slow down I could probably buy a very nice bow! 

I was fortunate enough to speak with Rachel Barton Pine, the incredible violin virtuosa from Chicago.  I asked her for a tip or two that I could pass on to readers.  Her first tip was, "Play slow."

"I tell them to slow down and they say they are playing slow, and I say, 'No, that's medium.  You really need to play a trouble spot slowly."

I would suggest that you use a metronome in a situation like this.  Set the metronome at one third the speed that you want to play the passage, then play it through.  When you can play it through at that speed flawlessly three times, then increase the pace five beats a minute.  Follow the same routine.  And I always suggest that you try to finish practicing that troublesome passage with a successful run-through, even if it's only at half speed.  You are building confidence and muscle memory.

Then start your next practice just slightly faster than you started today's practice.  Don't assume that the first time you play something right it will stay that way.  You are building muscle memory!  That takes repetition.

And you'll do a great job building that muscle memory of proper intonation and rhythm if you play it through S--L--O--W--L--Y.

I'm sorry, Rachel, that was medium.

Metronomes Can REALLY Help Your Practice, and Some of These are Tuners Too!