Open String Exercises

Separate and alternate bowing

It’s time! It’s time to practice changing strings. The main lesson will be in the video provided, but I want to lay out what you will be doing. Remember that all of your bows will be separate and alternating. In other words, your first bow will be down, your next will be up, and I want you to continue with that pattern. We will start with something new, then work with what you’ve already practiced in our “Let’s Play A” article.

Three Blind Mice

In this exercise, we will use the rhythm of three blind mice, but play only open strings. There’s plenty of time between “mice” and when you start “three” on a new string, so you’ll be able to make the changes easily.

Progress from the E string to the A string, the A string to the D string, and the D string to the G string.

Mississippi Hot Dog

In this exercise you will play the rhythm and bowing just like you did the first time. However, now we will start on the E string and after each time we play “Mississippi Hot Dog”, we will change strings. It’s important to start like this because after “dog”, you have some time to stop and change your string before you start “Mississippi” on a new string.

Again, progress from the E string to the A string, the A string to the D string, and the D string to the G string.

Supercalifragilistic

In this exercise, we play one bow stroke per syllable of this word. Yes, I know it’s not a real word, but it’s from Mary Poppins, for those who don’t know. To be clear, there are 8 syllables here. This exercise will be varied in speed, so I want you to start out slow, changing the strings after “tic”. As you get more proficient, I want you to increase the speed. We will also do this in the video.

Again, progress from the E string to the A string, the A string to the D string, and the D string to the G string.

Final thoughts

When practicing these exercises, I suggest that you play through each one multiple times. When assigning them to my students, I have them start with 10 times in a row. Once you’ve done that for one exercise, you can move on to the next. Become confident in your string changes by practicing them every day. Once you’ve practiced them a bit, head on over to Stage 2 and continue your fun-filled journey with the violin!

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