3 octave scales violin

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Amy said: Jul 15, 2008
 Violin, Viola
7 posts

I have noticed that a lot of my students who are just learning the 3 octave scales have the same problem. They either modulate up or down a half step somewhere in the middle of the scale. I am wondering if anyone has a reason why this happens and how to prevent it.
Thanks!

Jennifer Visick said: Jul 16, 2008
Jennifer VisickForum Moderator
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Suzuki in the Schools, Violin
998 posts

I was just playing (or trying to play) whole tone scales today. It’s difficult! Why? Because I don’t have the sound in my ear: it’s not memorized.

I have a feeling that the Major and minor scales are easier for me to play (than the whole tone scale) not because they are actually easier to play, but because I have their sound already “programmed” into my mind’s ear.

Can they sing it (in an appropriate range)? Can they match a piano? Can they match you?

If they can play single octave scales against the tonic (have someone else play the tonic, not an electronic drone) and learn to “hear” the resonance of each interval, this might help.

Or, maybe learning to play single octave scales with one finger on one string (this is like a shifting exercise or a Yost thing)—that will force them to “hear” where they’re going for each note?

Or, let them focus on the name and possible “ring” of each note: This is an A (ergo it should ring with my open A or, if I am playing on the A string, it should sound like the octave harmonic). This is a G. It should ring. If it doesn’t, it’s out of tune (etc.)

Simon Fischer’s book “Basics” has a few exercises for tuning scales against open strings or ringing notes, and that might be of help also.

Gabriel Villasurda said: Jul 16, 2008
Gabriel VillasurdaViolin, Viola
81 posts

I find students just simply “lose track.” They get going and fail to keep in mind the tonic and the half-steps.

RaineJen suggests drones, and this can help keep tabs on the tonic.

Remember, young students need help listening in these stratospheric regions.

These days it is very easy to make a practice sound file with your computer with which the student can practice. You can use Finale, Sibelius or any notation program.

If you give me your scale format (Flesch, Galamian, whatever) I’ll make you a sample midi file. It’s easy to repeat and to vary tempo if you use Quicktime or another dedicated midi player..

Gabriel Villasurda
Ann Arbor MI
www.stringskills.com

Teri said: Jul 20, 2008
Teri EinfeldtTeacher Trainer
Institute Director
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
West Hartford, CT
367 posts

Lately I have found that if I have my students first practice each of the three octaves separately, then repeat the “key note” every time they arrive at it, and lastly play a “regular” three octave scale, they are more successful.
Having them say the name of the note before they play it is also helpful.
That way they are not playing by ear but actually involving the analytical side of their brain.

Suzukilady

Amy said: Nov 6, 2008
 Violin, Viola
7 posts

Thanks these were all very helpful!

Connie Sunday said: Nov 6, 2008
Connie SundayViolin, Piano, Viola
667 posts

amyrucinski

I have noticed that a lot of my students who are just learning the 3 octave scales have the same problem. They either modulate up or down a half step somewhere in the middle of the scale. I am wondering if anyone has a reason why this happens and how to prevent it.

I guess this would happen if the students are not aware of the “frame” of the octave. They must be made to hear and reproduce the tonic in all three spots, and the half-steps between 3-4, and 7-8. I have a handout I use for three octave scales for violin, viola and piano. Please see:

Handout: Violin/Viola, Piano—3 octave scale fingerings
http://beststudentviolins.com/3octave_fingerings.html

Also see:

Free one- to three-octave Printable Violin and Viola Scales:
http://www.theviolincase.com/music/freeviolinsheetmusic.htm

Free Handouts for Music Teachers & Students:
http://beststudentviolins.com/library.html#handouts

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