How to Practice FAST STRING CROSSINGS in Seitz Student Violin Concerto op 22 no 5 | Violin Lounge TV #380

by | Aug 26, 2020 | Bowing Technique, Practice Tips, Repertoire | 4 comments

Tackle those fast string crossings with these practice strategies.

I use the string crossings in Seitz concerto no 5 as example:

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The faster you play, the smaller the movements must be and the less of your arm you should move.

This means that to get those string crossings up to speed, you should learn the right motion.

In slow string crossings, where you don’t do many string crossings in a row, you do string crossings with your upper arm. This technique is usually taught in beginner lessons.

However you’ll notice that this technique doesn’t work when you speed it up.

In order to do fast string crossings, you must learn to make them with your wrist and fingers while keeping your upper arm almost still. In the video I show you the difference.

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Hi! I'm Zlata

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

7 Practice tips for fast string crossings on the violin

#1 Teacup motion

Move your hand with your wrist and fingers like you’d do when you stir the spoon in a cup of tea (or coffee in my case).

Make larger circles and really loosen up your wrist and fingers. Don’t move your arm.

#2 Practice the string crossings with double stops in between

This makes your string crossings efficient and teaches you how close the string are together.

#3 Practice slurred string crossings

#4 Practice the small crossings on open strings

#5 Practice the left hand in double stops

Carefully listen if the notes are really in tune.

#6 Apply your new string crossings technique to the original music

Start slowly and gradually increase the tempo. Use the fast string crossing technique you just learned also when playing it slowly.

#7 Practice rhythmical variations

When you notice your string crossings become sloppy, go a couple of steps back or slow down.

It might take you a few weeks or even months, but working on this is VERY useful. You’ll encounter fast string crossings a LOT in repertoire, solo as well as orchestra scores.

Let me know in the comments which tip was most helpful for you!


  1. John Norton

    Hi Zlata. This especially useful video solves a lot of problems for us. You show us how “easy” these fast string crossings are by doing them right from the start. I love the way you remove the mystery with a simple solution that saves wear and tear on the upper arm; but it still takes a lot of practice to get it right. This Seitz example helps because it limits the intonation difficulties to the first and third fingers on the A-string and coordinating those fingers with the bowing. We can deal with further intonation problems when we get the bowing to a more automatically correct stage, so these are “sufficient” for now. Finally, the way you “sneak” us into spiccato bowing is a gem that removes more mystery as we see how it is played and hear how good it sounds. But that is a separate subject for later classes. Our clever and sensible teacher leaves us satisfied, but anticipating more good things to come.

  2. Amanda Mylcraine

    This was VERY helpful! Thank you! Love all your bowing tips!


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