William Fitzpatrick - violin expert

Exploring One-Finger Scales

Learn this very useful technique to help with shifts

In this video, Prof. Fitzpatrick shows you how to improve your left-hand shift technique by practicing with unique "one-finger scales."

Released on February 7, 2018

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DISCLAIMER: The views and the opinions expressed in this video are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Virtual Sheet Music and its employees.

Video Transcription

Well, let's see. It all started while I was at Julliard. You see, though I wasn't the best release back then. What was considered the best orchestra of the school, sitting and assisting concertmaster, I felt that I had a good understanding of what I could and what I couldn't do as a violinist. But despite all of this, I felt that my position did not at all reflect a certain reality, quite honestly. I was afraid that I would graduate and not find work because I did not feel I was as good as I needed to be, as good as everything around me was saying for I was. So, much to the consternation of Ms. DeLay, I decided to become the second violinist in the player quartet Nashville Tennessee. I figured, this would give me much time to work and I was right, you see. I was up every day at six o'clock in the morning and started practicing by 6:30.

All this time was available, but I needed to know what to do, so sitting on my bed, and trying to think through this problem I started reading the introduction to Yost, and it was there that I began to understand what I needed to do. I mean, what we can do as a violinist? what we can do with our left arm as a violinist or right arm for that matter? But a small concern was my left, well, we can move across the strings like this, or up and down the strings like that. Basically, or we can move around against the body of the instrument, but basically, that's it, that's all we can do. So, I decided that for practicing moving across the strings, I would recommend Schradieck, you know, Schradieck, which I did for an hour and a quarter every morning, I went through the whole book. But before I did this, I decided to work on Yost, which I did for an hour and a half every morning. Yost, being one finger skill, each finger all the strings, and with that, I established my daily routine which I did every morning. That was from 6:30 until 8:00, I did Yost and the Schradieck, I did from 8 till 9:15.

Through the years, I have taught Yost one finger skills, but the actual book is out of print. And so, with that in mind, I decided to make one myself, this one, one string skills. As I said before, it's one finger skills that are done like this, with the first finger, second, third, fourth. Can be one octave, can be two octaves, major or even chromatic scales, even arpeggios. Again, with second finger, third, etc. Exploring this idea, you see, one can do finger replacement like this, one, two, one, two, one, two, one, two, one, two, one, two, or one, two, two, two, two, two, two, two. All of this as you can see, its all flat, but there are no requirements as to how many notes per bow. It just depends. But, we really want to pay attention to is that the pitch is really, really good. Now, continuing our exploration, we can do intervals such as thirds, again, for all the fingers, combination of fingers. We can do fourths, fifths, sixths, sevenths, octaves. So, this is the Yost that I know and as I said before, I found it incredibly useful. And so, with that, when it all said and done, please, please, do remember my first rule, never press, never be tight, never squeeze because it's really hard to do Yost when you are tight, when you are squeezing and when you are pressing. Have a great day.
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Comments, Questions, Requests:

Davina on February 28, 2018 @6:40 am PST
Thanks for the info! Reprints of Yost are now available on Amazon and the Yost Family Trust. My teacher said it's the one she used as a kid.
Fabrizio Ferrari - moderator and CEO, on February 28, 2018 @8:05 am PST
That's good to know Davina. We'll check that out. Thank you for letting us know about it.
William - host, on March 5, 2018 @9:53 am PST
Thanks! This is great to know!
Stewart H Holder on February 21, 2018 @9:02 am PST
Dear Professor Fitzpatrick,
I would very much like to thank you for so freely giving your regular email lessons to which I look forward and from which I benefit.
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