Scale practice creates foundation of good technique for virtually all musicians; the violin is no exception. If you practice your scales each day, you will learn new pieces faster and improve all facets of your playing more quickly than you would without daily scale practice. Scales are not the only technical studies that violin students should devote their time to, but they are a good place to start. Scale-like passages are present in all kinds of music. Arpeggios (the first, third, and fifth scale degrees played consecutively) are derived from the underlying harmony of a musical piece, and are often featured in musical passages for melodic instruments, such as the violin. Thus, learning your scales and arpeggios not only helps your technical ability on your instrument, but also provides a student with a foundation of knowledge for later learning about musical structure and harmony.
So, what is a scale?
Very simply put, a scale is a group of pitches dividing an octave, arranged in ascending order. An example is a G Major scale starting with the note G (open G-string) then ascends to A (first finger G-string), then B (2 on G), C (3 on G), D (open), E (1 on D), F# (2 on D), G (3 on D). For a more detailed overview, click here.
This scale challenge is for my violin students at the Evola School of Music in Canton, MI, but anyone can adapt this challenge for their needs or the needs of their students. Each of my students will be assigned at least one scale a week to learn depending on their level of playing. Most of my students have been playing less than three years, so you could certainly make this challenge harder by changing the bowing patterns, increasing the octave range, or having them learn more scales each week.
The Challenge begins Monday, July 22nd. I will be assigning scales no later than Monday, July 15th.
Several scales and arpeggios can be found in the Suzuki Books, however, the Suzuki books alone do not provide the best format for learning scales and arpeggios.
I suggest the following books for scale study:
You can find all of these books online and Evola Canton stocks "A Scale in Time ($8)", the Suzuki Books, and Essential Elements Book 3 ($10).
What do you think of the challenge? Do you have any suggestions? Do you have an idea for a bonus point opportunity?
Teachers: What scale books do you think are indispensable for daily scale study?
Let me know your thoughts in the comments.