What Should I Practice? | Herriman Viola Lessons

What Should I Practice? | Herriman Viola Lessons



There are many elements of viola technique that need to be mastered in order to become a true musician. You may be wondering where to start or just feeling overwhelmed about the process. Today, I’m breaking down the process into actionable steps for you to include in your daily practice.



Scales are fundamental in helping you master the viola. All violists (yes, even professionals) benefit from doing scale work daily. In the beginning, scales teach you different finger patterns. As you progress, you can use scales to develop tone, intonation, and finger dexterity. Practicing your scales and arpeggios will always help you get, and stay, in great playing shape.



Etudes are technical pieces that train specific techniques. There are many different etudes, some focusing on left-hand techniques and some focusing on bowing techniques. For beginners, I use the various exercises that are included in the Suzuki method books. As students advance, I add in books for shifting (I love the “Introducing the Positions” books by Harvey Whistler), double-stops (I like “Melodious Double-Stops” by Josephine Trott), etudes that progress in difficulty (Wolfhart, Kreutzer, Dont, and Paganini Caprices).



I always assign one or two pieces for students to practice each week. I use a combination of the Suzuki and Solos for Young Violists books to start and then move on to concertos and other independent works.


Other Exercises

Other things I incorporate in my studio are tonalization exercises, bow exercises, vibrato exercises (around Suzuki Book 2 and up), and other specific exercises my students might need.


Looking for more viola practice tips? Find some here!




I’d love to work with you! Please contact me for more information about music lessons!


Posted in

Leave a Comment