5 Tips to Make Practicing Scales Fun | Violin Lounge TV #235

by | May 31, 2016 | Play in Tune | 4 comments

This episode is about having more fun while practicing scales. You probably know that practicing scales is essential for building up a good violin technique and playing in tune with a beautiful tone.

1. Have a clear goal

Some students don’t really understand why they are practicing scales or why they have to do a specific scale or why they have to do it with a particular bowing rechnique. This can be very demotivating. Let me clarify some things by giving some examples…

When you are learning a piece in G major and you are practicing the 2 octave G major scales, these scales will certainly improve your intonation (playing in tune) in that specific piece and help you to learn it faster.

If this piece requires you to play at the extreme frog and the extreme tip a lot, then you might want to practice this G major scale with a bowing technique at the extreme frog or extreme tip. In the video I show an example.

If you are struggling with spiccato in the piece, you might want to practice a scale with spicacto.

Whatever the technique is that you want to learn, it’s important to understand the goal of the scale you practice. This will motivate you more and make your practice more effective then just practicing it because your teacher told you to.

2. Have a clear plan what you will do today, this week, etc

Don’t just start somewhere in your scale book every day. Be clear on your goal for today and how this fits into your long term goal.

For example: the first week you will play one scale very slowly with whole bow, the week after you slur some notes, the week after that you add the broken thirds to the scale etc.

This will give you clarity and fulfillment about what to achieve in a given week. It feels better than having a big scale book and just doing one little random thing.

3. Vary a lot in your exercises and don’t repeat too much

Repeating something a hundred times isn’t always the most effective way to reach your goal. Change something… the tempo, the bowing technique, the type of scale… Refresh your mind by doing something different. This motivates you and makes your practicing more effective than thoughtless repetition.

4. Enjoy meditative slow practice

This is something I learned in my conservatory days when I often played scales for two hours a day. After that I started with etudes and pieces. I had to find a way to make it enjoyable, or at least not horrible.

Don’t just count the hours. Enjoy the sound your instrument makes, enjoy the tone your create, your intonation, your bowing technique.

Find satisfaction and joy in playing something slowly and precisely… with as much attention as possible. Make it a moment of reflection and meditation.

Hi! I'm Zlata

Classical violinist helping you overcome technical struggles and play with feeling by improving your bow technique.

5. Join my online program ‘Sensational Scales’

finalSensational Scales is the newest course in the Violin Lounge Academy that will take violinists from their very first scales all up to all 3 octave major scales and arpeggio’s through an enormous step by step curriculum.
Music is made out of scales and scales are the foundation of your violin technique.

Sensational Scales is a strong combination of a big scale book, video lessons, fingerboard maps and audio files! This is far more effective than just a book.

You’ll improve your intonation and bowing dramatically if you implement this in your daily practice routine.

Here’s what you’ll get:

  • 80+ page scale book especially written for this program
  • 88 Instruction videos on how to play and practice the scales, exercises and bowing techniques
  • 125 Audio files with demonstrations of all exercises
  • 68 Fingerboard maps that indicate the exact spots on your violin

About Sensational Scales my Violin Lounge Academy student Ellie says:

“Hi Zlata!

LOVE the Sensational Scales – I’ve just been working with the first 3 major scales right now, but I’m very happy about the way the book is designed. The thirds, triads, and bowing technique included is great, and my intonation has improved a lot, as well as my use of the 4th finger.

You clearly put a lot of time, work and love into not just this, but the whole Violin Lounge Academy. I cannot fully put into words how grateful I am of you and everything you have done to bring the joy of music to people around the world!



Is this video helpful to you? Please let me know in the comments below! If you like it, share it with your friends!



PS: Do you have questions or struggles on violin or viola playing? Post a comment below or send an e-mail to info@violinlounge.com and I might dedicate a Violin Lounge TV episode to answering your question!


  1. Theresa Wernich

    Do you have a sensational scale course for viola as well?

    • Violinist Zlata

      Hi Theresa, too bad I don’t have a viola version, but you can learn a lot from the violin version.

  2. Thisbe

    “Enjoy the sound your instrument makes, enjoy the tone you create, your intonation, your bowing technique”. So true!!! In this time we call it “Mindfulness”, use your senses and enjoy the moment. You can play scales in a dramatic way or just romantic. Sometimes I imagine to be on stage at the Concertgebouw and the whole audience is longing for me playing the scales. Not a relaxing idea but it’s fun!


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