C-Major No.1

Here is a video of how I think No. 1 should be executed.
Notice the following:

  1. I use a metronome
  2. I distribute the bow evenly over 8 beats for the scale and 6 for the arpeggios.
  3. Shifting is executed slowly and with even speed between the two positions (more on this later)
  4. bow changes are slow
  5. contact point of the bow and the string does not change and the sound is concentrated and even.

For each number of the Flesch book, I will focus on a different element. First, I would like to talk about bow division. In the scale, we want to divide the bow evenly for each note. The metronome helps us achieve this, so does playing in front of a mirror.

If we want to play with even bow speed across the bow, we must learn to start the bow with the correct bow speed, weight and contact point (the position of the bow on the string between the bridge and the fingerboard). It's important to be aware of how we intend to use the bow before we start playing as opposed to constantly adjusting during the scale. The sound should be concentrated, even and resonant. The contact point should be as close to the bridge as possible, and the bow parallel to the bridge.

When I practice scales, I'm in a "zone". In a way it's like meditating or doing Yoga. Whereas yoga addresses the mind-body connection, I like to think of scales as the mind-instrument connection. I try to find a calm, quiet space in my head, and use scales as a mental exercise for focus, concentration and awareness. Try to create a connection between your mind - through your arms - to the bow and the string. This starts to incorporate the instrument as an extension of your body.

Most important, never practice when you're not concentrated and aware. It's better to do 5 minutes focused, than 60 absentmindedly. Train yourself to extend your concentration. If you can do 5 minutes the first week, and 6 the second week, you'll be able to do 30 minutes in no time. And you'll get more out of your practice time. The trick is to recognize the moment when your concentration has gone and bring it back.

I welcome your comments and questions.

Ori Kam