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VC VOX POP | “Do You Still Practice Etudes?” [Q&A]

“Do you still practice etudes?”

The Violin Channel recently caught up with 40+ of the world’s top string players to find out …

German-American Violinist, David Garrett:

"Yes ... it is very important to maintain your technique"

French Cello Soloist, Gautier Capuçon:

"Shall I really be honest???"

German Violin Virtuoso, Julia Fischer:

Not much ... I practice scales though ... every day"

German-Canadian Cellist, Johannes Moser:

Always ... Popper and Piatti” 

Canadian Violin Soloist, James Ehnes:

Nope ... I figure that solo Bach and Paganini are as useful as any etudes"

Korean-American Violin Superstar, Sarah Chang:

“Ugh ... Yes!"

Georgian Violin Virtuoso, Lisa Batiashvili:

“Yes ... Paganini Caprices ... and Dont Etudes ... from time to time ...

Canadian Cellist, Amanda Forsyth:

I like to practice etudes after I get back from holiday … Popper gets you back in shape pretty fast!"

Russian Violin Virtuoso, Ilya Kaler:

“ I study and re-study them with my students ... and of course, practice Paganini Caprices regularly

Dutch Violinist, Rudolf Koelman:

Yes ... occasionally some Kreutzer and Dont with some of my students

Australian VC Artist Violinist, Ray Chen:

"These days not so much anymore ... But when I feel like I need to be humbled I practice the 6 Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin by J.S. Bach ... intonation, bow control, sound, phrasing, multiple stylistic choices ... what else do you need to practice?"

VC Artist Violinist, Stefan Jackiw:

Life's too short ...

Russian-American Violin Soloist, Philippe Quint:

"Occasionally I go back to Paganini Caprices and scales ... I always find it important for stamina and staying in good shape"

Mozarteum University Salzburg Pedagogue, Pierre Amoyal:

“Yes ... Heifetz scales system ... and Dounis left hand exercises

South Korean Violinist, Dong-Suk Kang:

No ... but I try to practice scales regularly."

VC Young Artist Violinist, Timothy Chooi:

"I don't do etudes anymore ... however, I do many scales and arpeggios"

VC Young Artist Violinist, Ioana Cristina Goicea:

"I do practice scales ... every day"

VC Artist Violinist, Igor Pikayzen:

"I am more of a scale man ... but always warm up on Kreutzer 9 before going on stage"

German Violinist and Kronberg Academy Artistic Director, Friedemann Eichhorn:

"To be honest, no ... don't tell my students!"

VC Young Artist Violinist, Stephen Waarts:

"Not regularly ... but I do take excerpts from or related to pieces I'm preparing"

VC Artist Violinist, Benjamin Beilman:


New England Conservatory Cello Pedagogue, Laurence Lesser:

"I like to review Piatti and Popper ... hoping someday they’ll be decent"

Berlin Philharmonic Concertmaster, VC Artist Noah Bendix-Balgley:

"I Dont really. (Get it? *Groans*) ...  these days I will take a passage from my repertoire and turn it into an etude ... to work on a particular technical element"

American Violinist, Rachel Barton Pine:

"I love various technical work as warm-ups and maintenance ... Vamos double stops, 3 octave scales, 2 octave scales across the fingerboard, left hand pizzicato and up-bow staccato ..."

Japanese Violin Pedagogue & Former Tokyo String Quartet Violinist, Koichiro Harada: 

Yes ... Galamian scales ... and Sevcik ... even if it's too late

Romanian-born Israeli Violin Pedagogue, Miriam Fried: 

"I do practice etudes on a fairly regular basis ... I do it for myself, because it is a wonderful way to 'clean up my act' ...  I do it also so that when I tell my students I think they should practice etudes ... I can truthfully say 'I do it myself'..."

Russian-born Austrian Violin Pedagogue, Boris Kuschnir:

“I hardly practice etudes  ... but I do practice from the Schradieck: School of Violin Technique" 

American Concert Violinist, Anne Akiko Meyers:

I LOVE Kreutzer No.13 ... and the opening Schradieck pages ... always sharing with students how awesome these are to practice!

Russian-German Violinist, Kirill Troussov:

Yes ... Paganini and scales are everyday's breakfast

Portuguese-American Violinist, Elmar Oliveira:


Boston Symphony Concertmaster, Malcolm Lowe:


British Violinist, Alexander Sitkovetsky:

"Absolutely ... and exercises ... a friend of mine told me about these books by Emile Sauret … they are fantastic ... and hard!"

Ukrainian-Israeli Violin Virtuoso, Vadim Gluzman:

I don't practice etudes (or scales) ... but now and then I do go back to exercises that I felt were helpful to me in my youth ..."

Dallas Symphony Concertmaster, Alexander Kerr:

Only very basic etudes that keep me in shape ... Sevcik op. 1 left hand etudes ... and Yost shifting exercises and scales

London Symphony Orchestra First Violinist “Queen of Bling”, Maxine Kwok-Adams:

Unfortunately the books are hidden under a huge pile of dust ...

Armenian-American Violinist & Pedagogue, Ida Kavafian:

“After a long hiatus, I sometimes revisit Rode ... as well as Galamian arpeggios"

VC Artist Violinist, Paul Huang:

"Yes, I make up exercises myself ... I definitely start my practice every day by doing some scales and double-stops"

VC Artist Cellist, Pablo Ferrández:

“Not really ...”

VC Artist Calidore Quartet Violinist, Ryan Meehan:

"Yes, everyday ... a combination of various exercises from Sevcik and Dounis ... and my violin teacher Robert Lipsett's personal favorite ... Gavinies"

VC Young Artist Violinist, William Hagen:

Nope ... it's depressing for me to practice music that I wouldn't play in a concert” 

VC Rising Star Violinist, Anne Luisa Kramb:

Is my teacher reading this? .... of course ... every day

VC Young Artist Violinist, Luke Hsu:

Yes ... it's the safest space for me to keep my fingers in shape

VC Young Artist Cellist, Zlatomir Fung:

"Yes, I practice scales and etudes every day ... I love that feeling of structure ... something which is often difficult to find in practice of longer, more complex musical works"

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