Slurs for Beginners

Or, if you prefer, slurring. This time we discuss how we use slurs, at two levels: first, for beginners trying this out for the first time, and second, for more advanced learners.

If you are trying to learn and figure out slurs for the first time, it may be difficult for you to do – I would suggest that you partner up with another learner and help each other to learn slurs.

Why are slurs difficult to do for beginners? One of the reasons is that we have the tendency to try and use our right and left hands together – so if we move a left finger, then we should change the right hand too. Slurring requires that we move one side, but remain the same on the other – meaning that we change left hand fingers, but keep the bow moving in one long bow stroke.

How do you work together to get it done? Well, my advice is to try to get your mind used to not using your hands in coordination (moving together), here. Try it out without the violin or the bow – keep the bow hand moving while move one finger of the violin hand. If this doesn’t work, just move the bow hand, and sing out the sound of two notes changing – like in the beginning of Fur Elise.

Then, meet your partner, and you bow a long bow stroke while your partner moves fingers on your violin (your partner does this by treating the violin like a cello – see the picture above – standing away from the scroll). First concentrate on keeping your bow moving smoothly, but then try and look at your partners fingers changing on the string while your bow keeps going. Then trade places, and you concentrate first on your fingers moving on the violin, and then keep that going while watching your partners bow moving in a long bow stroke while you change fingers.


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