To execute a specific skill, an athlete’s movement goes through 3 phases: the preparation, the action (this can be a tennis serve or golf swing, for example), and the follow-through. String playing is no different when it comes to consistency in the beginnings and ends of our notes. The quality of these prep and follow-through movements will determine the quality of the note(s). Continue reading “Unilateral & Bilateral Motion for Healthy Prep and Follow-through Movements in String Playing”



This is a follow-up to my YouTube video The Art of Effortless String Crossing.

Here is a compilation of important etudes for string crossings not mentioned in the video. There are thousands of variations and options out there. You can use this guide to help select studies that would be most helpful based on the repertoire you’re currently working on. Please note that this set is mainly recommended for intermediate and advanced players. All these etude books are in the public domain and available for free on However, if you do wish to own a hard copy, I will provide affiliate links wherever possible. Most of these have a viola version available as well.

Continue reading “Essential Etudes & Exercises for Mastering String Crossings”

Tone by Simon Fischer

Last week on Tonebase, I was very inspired by the live interview between Daniel Kurganov and Daniel Rowland and their discussion on tone colors. In particular, their exploration of the first movement of the Franck Sonata prompted me to whip out Simon Fischer’s book Tone. Sometimes, when we look for that special sound in a piece, we can imagine it or sing it, but not always sure how to execute it on our instrument…at least not consistently. This is where a lot of experimentation comes in. But for successful experimentation, we also need a deeper understanding of how the different elements on the violin/viola work in tandem.

Continue reading “Exploring Dynamics and Color with Simon Fischer’s ‘Tone’”

bow hand

I’ve been thinking long and hard about where to begin the discussion on best practices to minimize unnecessary tension in the bow arm. The complexities of bow technique development for good tone production, various articulations, dynamics, and expression can easily lead one to develop bad habits somewhere along the way.


The most common problems with bow arm tension in players of ALL levels are: Continue reading “Unfolding Tension in the Bow Arm & Hand”

forearm rotation vs index finger pressure

An alternative approach to bow “pressure” involves the entire forearm and using the natural arm weight. Develop beautiful, even sound with more consistency and less effort with these exercises.

Continue reading “How To Get a Good Sound at the Tip with Less Effort and More Consistency”


Do you ever have days when your body needs a longer time than usual to warm up when you start practicing? Perhaps there are moments when one hand is ready much sooner than the other. I know that on certain days my bow arm needs a LOT of extra time to “wake up” at the start of my first practice session. On other occasions, I feel like I’m accomplishing very little during my 20-min-long scale routine. Whenever I sense that it will be one of “those” days, I like to change up the entire fundamental routine. If you tend to experience something similar, are short on time, and/or just want to have a productive “bow day,” kick off your session with the following 5 bow exercises.

Continue reading “5 Quick Bow Warm-ups”