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Do you really feel that scales become less important as you progress? That's a notion I have not ever heard before. I think, on the contrary, if anything, they become more and more important. Scales, arpeggios and études. There are teachers who don't use études, though. They just use pieces, though I don't know -- I've never been comfortable with that idea.

You know who does that, that I know of: Eduard Schmeider. He's a wonderful musician. And gallant, in the old Russian way. There are probably others...??

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well yes it does depend on who you are.

And i'm talking about Scales not "Scales, arpeggios and études" etudes are i think quite different from scales.

etudes - They involve a certain musical element. But the truth is all music is made up from scales and arpeggios. Why not warm up with a tricky taxing passage of your current piece? I personally find play scales rather tedious.

For professionals, it's just simple as whether you want to do it or not. I think less experienced players benefit a lot more from scales.

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Well, I am not a pro - studied violin looong ago, but never used it as a profession.

Anyway, I practice scales, a different key every day, from Carl Flesh's scale system. It takes me about one hour to go through one key, and there is a lot in it - scales, chromatics and arpeggios through one octave on one string, same through three octaves, scales in thirds, double stop scales and thirds in thirds, sixths and octaves, arpeggios in octaves, tenths and harmonics.

A great advantage of this is, that during practicing I can fully concentrate on a relaxed motion and intonation and good bowing and sound without being occupied by the emotion which comes with "real" music, and as soon as I start practicing my repertoire evrything falls into place smooth and nicely and I can concentrate on the music itself.

IMO one should be able, more or less, to play the peaces she/he wants to study, from first sight and study the musival content rather than on and on practicing technical challenging passages and thereby losing the sense for what the "content" of the piece is.

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I practice scales every day - sure, but not every 'key' variety (I tend to think in terms of fingering groupings more than keys anyway).

It is easy for me though partly because I play every scale (from the smallest 4 note 'mini-scale' to huge fast 3/4 octaves in one bow) with my pupils. It wasn't until I did them all (over the period of say 20-30 lessons) in the period of say a week or two that I could do them 'off the bat'!

Also, because I have to explain why and how, the learning has become more more ingrained.

When I was *studying*, I was less perfectionistic about them, unless I was nearing a technique exam.

If you want to be able to do them 100% you need to ingrain the fingering patterns, stick to them religiously (like a mad & obsessed person) and develop the kind of knowledge and experience that allows you to play stuff in tune 'regardless' of where you are on the fingerboard. If I ask a pupil a scale, they won't always get it in tune on the 1st (or 5th! ) go, even if they know the finger pattern - this ability comes with years of learning and brain/ear control.

T_D

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Personally, I think scales are essential for good technique. My teacher insists on scales, but rather than demanding a lot of keys, bowings etcs. he demands perfect intonation, which is daunting.

I do know of a teacher who seems to be very good, but rejects the use of scales. I think Milstein didn't believe in playing scales, but Heifetz and Kogan both thought them highly necessary. It depends on your approach.

Carlo.

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If you look at many many pieces, especially orchestral pieces, you'll find that a lot of the time you are playing scales or arpeggios One of my chamber music (quartet) partners is a retired professional musician and he found that really knowing scales in all keys contributed to being able to sight read well. He could see at a glance that a certain formidable looking fast bit was just a run of b-minor (say) scales or arpeggios. Then he could play it without having to read every note.

You need to know scales in all keys because of accidentals and modulations. Other reasons for scale practice include reinforcing intonation. You should practice scales in all keys and in all positions. If they are really in your ear and in your fingers then you'll play better in tune.

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I have to disagree with the comment 'Scales become really less important as you progress.'

I believe you cannot do without 'Scales, arpeggios and études'. Replacing as you progress, études with your current piece/s, also in the interest of time and maintaining a required level of focus thru your practice sessions.

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A different take on this might come from the non-classical musician set. Jazz musicians are constantly working on scales because of their importance to improvisation. I find it hard to believe that most serious players, amateur or professional, do not play significant amounts of scales. There are undoubtedly a few who do not, thus giving rise to the myth or "accepted wisdom" that the real superstars do not play them, but I would treat this as vastly exaggerated.

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I agree with robertmcnally on this one. Scales deff become more important over time. Think about all the orchestral passages/mozart concertos/Beethoven cocerto and countless other examples of pieces that are in a way scales. I know many musicians (professionals) who will tell you that they are in their best shape when they devote between 30mins-hour+ on JUST scales and arps. Think of all the ways you can use scales with different bowings and articulations. I've never known or heard a person who can play all major and minor scales perfectly. It might be an impossibility. Why do you think orchestras ask for Mozart concertos in their auditions. Scales, broken thirds, etc. all are the basis of Mozart's concertos. I practice scales for a great deal of my practice time. There are certain basics that ALL violinists should never stop practicing: scales, double stops, arps, and etudes. Being i'm not personally a professional violinist yet, i am speaking on observation only, but i do feel scales are basic and one of the most important parts of violin playing. I know that i have imrioved leaps and bounds because of sclaes. Great topic guys!

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For whatever my amateur opinion is worth, I've found out the hard way over the years that if I don't do my daily regimen of scales, arpeggios, broken thirds and double-stop scales (different key each day), I simply can't play decently. I always spend 30 - 45 min on the above before doing anything else. I use the Barbara Barber book when I'm practicing violin (seldom these days), and Michael Kimber's similarly-organized book for viola.

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I used to use the B. Barber scale book also. For a long time i really hated scales. The whole concept of practicing them was like biting nails. Later on i began the Svecik, Galamian, and Flesch scales. I just finished up my college auditions where i used the Svecik scales. I really liked them because they stick with a certain principle of fingering throughout all of the major and minor keys, thus very easy to memorize. Aside from their extremely helpful use for auditions, I believe the Galamian and Flesch systems are maybe the best systems of scale studies. They are deff harder and really challenge your fingers to a new level of technique and intonation. I find that scales not only warm the hand up but center your pitch and awareness of tone. I even slowly play through one scale with a tuner at the begining of the day to really center and rearticulate each pitch to my ear. I find if you forget about the fact that they are scales and instead think how you can improve each octave (intonation, eveness, fingering) and each bow (tone, articulation) it can become the most enjoyable part of your practice. I cant say enough how scales have improved my intonation and tone. Intonation is something i personally struggle with and scales are a great way to become more accurate and confident about it. Does anyone use a system not mentioned above that you highly suggest? what do others think about Svecik method?

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I think the best scale book (available at sheetmusicplus.com) may be Gammes Pratiques by Nadaud (the version edited by Bozza). My teachers have unanimously agreed that it seems better than any of the more traditional books used in this country (Flesch, Galamian, etc.).

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