Beginning Violin/Viola

Practice for the winter concert on January 17, 2018 with a special playlist:

Find a link to the songs in the brown method book as mp3 files for free to download and practice with at home here: Beginning Strings Practice Files

Week 1 Instrumental

Dear Parents and Students-

I’m excited that you are starting an instrument here at Fairmount Park! This is our first week of lessons and I want you to understand the following principles that will help you progress on your instrument:

  1. Plan time this week when you will practice by using the sheet I gave you. By scheduling a daily practice time, just like you do for your homework, sports events and other activities, you can prepare yourself to actually do it!
  2. Find a practice space that is free of distractions, is well lit and use a chair that will give you the correct posture for your instrument.
  3. Practice for brief periods of time (10-15 minutes) every day. This will get you into a routine and avoid tired muscles, especially in the beginning.
  4. Be patient with yourself if you don’t get a certain skill right the first time.
  5. Record your practice time on the sheet I gave you at our lesson. Have your parents initial the column when you are done and return the sheet to Mr. Pendergrass at your next lesson.

*If you practice twice in one day, put a / in the box with a new time, minutes and skills practiced.


Violin/Viola practice. Put the number of the skill you practiced in the column above labeled “SKILL PRACTICED.” Do skills 1-7 each time you practice and and at least three of the skills numbered 8-12 at each daily practice session. Remember to try and imitate what we did in class by listening and paying attention to the sound your instrument makes. Repetition is the key to success. You should be able to show me the skills on the back of this page you have practiced at our next lesson on October 5.


*means you must do this every time you practice

  1. *Point to and name the parts of your instrument out loud.
  2. *Point to and name the parts of your bow out loud.
  3. *Tighten the hair on your bow.
  4. *Attach your shoulder rest so you can hold your instrument under your chin without your left hand. This make take more time and patience and getting your shoulder rest in the right position.
  5. *As you hold your instrument under your chin on your left shoulder, it should not droop, but be at a 90 degree angle to your body and parallel to the floor. Practice this position in front of a mirror.
  6. *While in shoulder position, bring your left hand up to your instrument in the proper position. Can’t remember? Look at the picture I’ve provided.
  7. *Point to and name each of the strings with your instrument in guitar position.

Do at least 3 of the following at your practice session:


  1. Pizzicato on open strings- In shoulder position with your right hand in the proper position, place your right thumb against the fingerboard, pluck or pizzicato each open string with the side of your index finger. Don’t pluck with your thumb.
  2. Balance bow grip- put your instrument in it’s case. Pick up your bow. Put your right thumb and 2nd finger on the bow stick near the middle of the bow or the balance point. Shape your right hand on the bow stick as shown in the picture provided. Turn your right hand over, and be sure your thumb and fingers are curved.
  3. Shadow bowing- with your bow hair tightened, place some rosin in your left hand. Hold the bow at the balance point. Shadow bow by slowly moving the bow back and forth on the rosin. Be sure to move the bow not the rosin. See picture provided.
  4. Pick up your instrument and go to shoulder position. And try and pull a note on an open string with this bow hold.
  5. Show a parent the proper way to tighten and loosen a bow.








Some violin instruction videos you should check out:

Still looking for some good viola ones…