Watch me PRACTICE VIOLIN – Professional Violinist’s FULL Daily Routine | Violin Lounge TV #361

by | Apr 22, 2020 | Practice Tips | 22 comments

What does a classical violinist do exactly in those many practice hours a day?

I invite you to practice violin with me!

Discover the structure of my routine and learn how to practice effectively yourself with my practice techniques:

Watch this video for some great violin practice tips!

Yup, in this video you see me struggle with all the stuff I find difficult

Below are the resources I mention in the video. For the actual practice tips, watch the video above!

Watch this video if you want to learn how to practice effectively, while babies, pets and family members might distract you.

Watch this video with 3 violin hacks I learned from Itzhak Perlman’s masterclass.

Scales

I was ‘raised’ with the Scale System by Carl Flesch, that I still recommend.

This is the scale book by Ševčík that I currently use to allow myself to cover all keys and positions on all strings in a relatively quick warm up.

Learn more about scales in this article I wrote about my favorite scale books on different levels.

Bowing technique

A lot of students spend plenty of time training their left hand, while it’s SO important to also do specific exercises for the right hand, your bow technique and tone production. No matter whether you’re a beginner, intermediate, advanced or professional player.

The go-to book for violin bowing technique on all levels is 40 Variations by Ševčík. However, you need to know how to practice them and what to look out for. My online students have extensive tutorial videos on that. Also they have recordings of the piano accompaniments they can play at any desired speed. This is REALLY useful if you’re practicing these. Want to be my student? Click here to learn more and enroll.

School of Bowing by Ševčík is really useful to have thousands of patterns. I recommend buying all of the books, but the example in the video is from book 6.

After all my out-of-tune notes in this video in order to teach you about practicing, please make me feel better by sharing this on Twitter:

Video topics:

(use the controls in the video player above to review the topic you’re interested in)

00:08 Scales
08:06 Bowing technique
13:12 What I practice when I don’t have much time
13:46 Paganini Caprice 5
16:13 Coffee break
16:25 Orchestra scores
18:28 Debussy sonata
20:30 What most teachers will tell you NOT to do (but what I recommend)
21:34 Brahms concerto
23:21 Bach 3rd sonata

Hi! I'm Zlata

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

Etudes and caprices

Currently I’m studying the 5th Paganini caprice as an etude. That’s pretty crazy stuff.

If you’re a beginner, look at Wohlfahrt etudes. They are great as your first etudes and match first position concertinos like these.

For intermediate students, consider Mazas etudes.

As a more advanced student, you probably already know Kreutzer, the bible of violin playing and Rode caprices. Consider studying Fiorillo etudes as well. You might know the ‘hard’ Dont, but his op 37 to prepare for Rode and Kreutzer is also very useful.

Brahms concerto

Here’s the Brahms concerto with the preparatory exercises I talk about. What preparatory exercises can you do for the piece you’re playing?

Bach

A good edition of Bach’s sonatas and partitas for solo violin can’t miss in your sheet music collection.

Hope this video is useful and inspiring to you!

When the great cellist Pablo Cassals asked why he continued to practice the cello three hours a day at the age of 93 he answered…

“I’m beginning to notice some improvement.”

Happy practicing to all of you! Let me know in the comments what you’re working on right now!

22 Comments

  1. Marie

    thank you very much for this video. I really needed it in the protracted corona crisis

    Reply
  2. Ann Marie

    This was a breath of fresh air & so reassuring. I’m hardly Zlata, but I do creep along. I usually do only two things in my practice: 1. scales & arpeggios and 2. orchestra music. Thanks for the permission to do other things! You were great Zlata and your child’s little sounds very sweet. My dream piece? I hate to even say, it is so simple, but here goes: Bruch Concerto #1 in g minor.

    Reply
    • Violinist Zlata Brouwer

      Well, Bruch is the easiest of the big concertos, haha, but of course still challenging. Oh yes, full permission to play as many things as you possibly can. It makes you flexible. I’m glad you like this video. I’m experiencing with some new formats to see what you like :).

      Reply
  3. Carol Brown

    Once again you inspire me. I have lack of confidence since I have had very sporadic lessons and am my own teacher especially now. You sound great even with mistakes. Keep up the work and encouragement for me and others. I have no violin friends so I go it alone.

    Reply
    • Annette Nelson

      Thanks Zlata. Love you lady for all you do to help us. I am dying to see those happy little angels!…..well…?

      Reply
      • Violinist Zlata Brouwer

        Haha, I hide them from the internet, but here and there I share pics in my e-mails :).

  4. Cesar Hernandez

    Those are very useful books/lessons for practice; maybe will help me remember when playing the higher positions.
    Got so much email every day but my priority are those coming from you Ms Zlata. Thank you so much.

    Reply
  5. mike

    I totally agree about picking a song out of your reach. I started playing when I was 11 and played until about age 20. I played in our local symphony in college and liked some of the music, but was never really inspired. I stopped then for almost 20 years and then got exposed to Grapelli and Lockwood and one of your countrymen Tim Kliphuis. I found some arrangements of jazz standards that they did that I really liked and got them transcribed and struggled to learn them, but eventually I got them to a level I was ok with (but never performance level) and now practice almost every day for the last 15 years. I used to travel a lot and sometimes in remote areas where no english was spoken. I always noticed little children singing pop songs in almost perfect english and thought why dont they teach language like that? I think that the key to learning anything well is inspiration and music can be very inspiring. Let the student choose and then teach them how to learn what they want to learn. It will make it a life long pursuit. And when someone pursues something as a hobby they appreciate the professionals much more, so it has a long term good effect on the industry as a whole.

    Reply
    • Violinist Zlata Brouwer

      Yes, exactly, Mike, in high school I used to learn my Latin by making up melodies.

      Reply
  6. Laura

    Thanks for sharing your practise routine! It’s comforting to see that also you professionals need to practise! You are doing grate! Playing the violin is a dear hobby to me, and I’m just now practising to improve my vibrato, which I never really practised properly. My dream has been the Theme from Chindler’s list. It’s not the most difficult song I play, but forming a beautiful sound and finding the right expression is challenging, and with that song I find motivation to practise. I miss playing together with others, but on the other hand, during this isolation when there are no new peaces that you have to learn, one can concentrate to practise technics 🙂

    Reply
    • Violinist Zlata Brouwer

      Oh, especially the pros practice a lot, haha, when the great cellist Pablo Cassals asked why he continued to practice the cello three hours a day at the age of 93 he answered… “I’m beginning to notice some improvement.”

      Reply
  7. Stewart

    Hello Zlata,

    Once again thank you for letting us into your practice world and methods of overcoming ‘out of tune notes’
    by going back to the previous note.
    You are an inspiration to those of us at the bottom.
    My very first book on practicing is entitled: Practicing The Violin Mentally and Physically by Louis Kievman.
    It is a Programmed Instruction of Studies For Daily Reference and covers both left and right hands. Tossy Spivakovsky endorsed it as “It is a very useful guide for the aspiring – thinking -violinist
    Hope this may be of interest to someone.

    Reply
  8. BRIAN CLARKE

    Thanks Zlata great confidence booster. Good to see how you overcome your difficulties. Brian.

    Reply
  9. Gerard

    Thank you for the video, you are a great help, I love the way you describe everything.

    Reply
  10. joeri stubbe

    hello zlata, nice video, , i play violin about 20 years now, but self-taught, (i play several instruments) improvisation, making compositions, writing songs, …now i admit i have not been practicing enough the last years (made a baby and it has serious consequences,eheheh…) on the violin i play a mix of folky tunes mixed with some classical influences and experimental improvisation ,so i don’t play partitions, but my own compositions and lots of improvisation, now i have a small question: do you think it is more important to practice scales as they are, combining one or two scales, play the notes, search the easiest way to combine and play them, or do you prefer to start from the positions and play a scale in one or more positions? as i always played and thought in scales (impro) and since not long started practicing the positions, i experience and feel the differences, the possibilities offered by positions are widening my vieuw , but a bit confusing . as if i start from scratch, so i was wondering what you thought about the importance of the positions towards the practicing of scales and the different possibilities of playing them…

    Reply
    • Violinist Zlata Brouwer

      Hi Joeri, scales are VERY important for improvisation (I’ve heard from pro jazz players, I don’t improvise much myself). You don’t have to invent the wheel and can make use of handy fingerings for each key that are already out there. Learning positions is really useful to make your intonation reliable. Here’s my article on scale books, so you can find the best fit for yourself. Also check out jazz violinist Christian Howes, who’s written a scale book and teaches online as well.

      Reply

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