Your Fingers are Sightless Animals

The fingers of your left hand cannot see.

You must give them eyes with your ears.

Play any passage, concentrating on how your fingers depend on your ears for guidance.

Tuning the violin like a drum

Every time you use your left hand to choose a pitch, you must be confident in its tuning.

It is as though you are playing the timpani: once you tune it, you can concentrate much more clearly on how it is struck, and how it makes sound.

And know, when you start playing, that what’s done is done.

7. Lightness

Play a scale or arpeggio, placing your fingers on the strings as lightly as possible.

Use again the image of the breaking wave: think of the curl at its forward edge.

Imagine that your left hand must simply point to the string rather than press it.

3. Energy to Pitch

Play a scale slowly, combining two exercieses:

  1. Think clearly of each pitch before playing.
  2. After the string length is set, pour energy smoothly into it with the bow.