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

Etudes Violin Cover

“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”