Here are some helpful links to sheet music that will be good for your daily practice. I will be suggesting particular books to you as our sessions go on, depending on your level. You are welcome to browse here and get yourself acquainted with these titles. This list will likely expand gradually in the future, so feel free to stop by periodically.
Recommended Practice Resources
Practicing the violin leads to the acquisition of new skills on a daily basis. The learning process involves deliberate focus, dedication and repetition on behalf of the student, in order to cultivate the necessary muscle memory that will allow for each skill to eventually become automated. Luckily, plenty of learning tools have been created during the centuries of violin history.
Scales and etudes are the fundamental building blocks when it comes to solid violin technique. Their contribution to a musician’s development of posture, muscle coordination, solid sense of rhythm, high quality intonation, and quality of sound, to name just a few components, has been widely recognized by performers and teachers alike in just about every part of the world where people choose to master the art of the violin.
As part of my teaching strategy, I recommend the materials listed below, according to the student’s age and level of development. Upon discussion of recommended materials for your needs or your child’s individual needs, you can easily buy the books directly from this page, which will save you time from browsing the huge websites of the stores that sell this sheet music. Once you click on one of the three available links for each item of your choice, all you need to do is enter your address and payment information, and the store will promptly mail you the purchased book. You can click on the on the image of the book itself, or on the title provided above that image.
This book, entitled Scales for Advanced Violinists by Barbara Barber, contains a complete cycle of scales, arpeggios, thirds, octaves, sixths, etc. Many teachers prefer it to the Flesch scale system shown next, the reason being that the Flesch volume is almost never played in its entirety.
The Scale System: Supplement to Book 1 of ‘The Art of Violin Playing’ by legendary violin pedagogue Carl Flesch is an iconic work that has been a constant part of the warm up routine of world class violinists such as Henryk Szeryng,Yehudi Menuhin, Anne Sophie Mutter, and many others. I strongly recommend this book to students who have decided to pursue a career in violin performance.
In his three volumes of the String Builder: A String Class Method (for Class or Individual Instruction), Samuel Applebaum gradually introduces young children to the intricacies of violin playing. His gradual approach is the key here, since the complexity of violin can be overwhelming to many new players.
Heinrich Ernst Kayser’s 36 Elementary and Progressive Studies for the Violin Op. 20 are the basic building blocks for a solid left hand technique. These exercises contain “fingers down” indications that help learn economy of motion and focus on muscle work in the proper direction. These studies also teach developing violinists how to use their bow. Shown here are images of and links to two versions of the same work. Depending on a student’s individual needs, I may recommend one or the other. The difference is in the fingering and bowing approach since they come from two different editors.
In this edition by K. H Aiqouni (Carl Fischer Publications) of the two volumes of short etudes by Franz Wohlfahrt, you will find a DVD recorded by violinist Rachel Barton Pine. She offers fingerings that target the 4th finger significantly more than violinists in previous editions do, as well as dynamics, an important aspect of classical music. Here, you can purchase one or both volumes of Foundation Studies for the Violin.
The School of Violin Technics by Henry Schradieck is a crucial resource for development of strength and articulation in the left hand. These studies involve stretching of the hand and finger joints, enhancing the overall left hand’s flexibility.
For those of you who like complete editions, check out
When violinist Jascha Heifetz was once asked “Which music pieces do you consider to be of utmost value to you?” he simply replied “Scales and the Kreutzer Etudes.” This came for a player who during his lifetime was revered as a genius. Ever heard of the “Heifetz disease”? If not, watch The Art of Violin and listen to what Mr. Itzhak Perlman has to say about it. This work entitled Forty- Two Studies or Caprices for Violin by Rodolphe Kreutzer builds on complexity as you progress through the book. Offered you will find two different editions. I may recommend one or the other depending on your particular needs.
The Seventy-Five Melodious and Progressive Studies for the Violin Op. 36, Book 1, by Jacques Mazas differ from most etude books by having melodies and phrases, plenty of dynamic indications, encouraging the student to creatively develop his/her control over bow pressure and speed, sound, and phrasing by actually making music. Many students find this collection truly inspiring.
Even though the Twenty-Four Exercises for the Violin Op. 37 by Jakob Dont were intended as preparatory material for the Kreutzer and Rode etudes, many of these pieces are in fact harder to master and perform than any of the Kreutzer or Rode caprices. The same applies to the 24 Etudes and Caprices for the Violin Solo Op. 35 by the same composer. Both volumes are great for high level technical development. They require many hours of practice on a daily basis in addition to the rest of your repertoire.
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