Archive for August, 2016

Violin Lesson 7 – Third Finger Notes

Tuesday, August 30th, 2016

I know, you’ve already been playing with your fingers on the strings in your Five Note Scales! But now we are adding them to our note reading and using them in our songs. By adding these 2 third finger notes, we will have 6 notes to use in arranging/composing songs!

Keep practicing your Five Note Scale Exercises! They will continue to be helpful in establishing a great hand frame foundation. To be honest, we never stop practicing hand frame! I still focus on hand frame in my own practicing. This week we are going to get a little more creative and include Rhythm Scale Practice with our hand frame exercises. The rhythm will be done with the bow, you will still finger the Five Note Scale in the same order. Keep those flashcards going too!

Take note of the Time Signature I will include on your sheet music this week. Remember that the top number represents how many counts are in each measure, the bottom number tells what type of note receives one beat. Today I’m going to be teaching you about Key Signatures.

Answer Keys for Lesson 6

How did you like the worksheets for Lesson 6? If you need more practice with Note Spelling, just print the worksheets off a couple times for repetition. I mixed the notes up pretty well so this really should give you an excellent start! Here is the answer key so you can check you work:

Crossword Answer Key

Note Spelling Answer Key

Fingers on the Strings

Okay! You ready for some more interesting songs this week!? Now that we have all 4 open strings PLUS our 2 third finger notes on the strings, we are going to be able to play a lot more interesting music. Get ready to practice! As things get more complex, a little more time commitment is sure to be demanded. BUT, it will be more enjoyable, I promise! I’ll try to go easy on the rhythm this week, and add that in the mix next week. After all, we still have to learn about sixteenth notes!

We have already played these third finger notes within our Five Note Scales, but now we are really going to adopt them as our own, learning their location on the staff very precisely, and hopefully naming them off on a flashcard very quickly and easily. I really want you to wrap your mind around these new notes as we add them.

First we will add the third finger on the A – String = D. Here is a visual for all the fingers on the A – String in relation to their home on the music staff.

Fingers on the A String

Next we will also be using the third finger on the D – String = G. Here is a visual for all the fingers on the D – String in relation to their home on the music staff.

Fingers on the D String

Just as you checked your intonation of fourth finger with the open string to the right, now you can check your third finger intonation with the open string below, to the left. Time to really establish muscle memory for these third finger notes! Hopefully hand frame muscle memory is already kicking in for you which will make this so much easier.

Sixteenth Notes

“Not another note value!”, you say. Well, yes. Yes, actually there is another note value. A few more to come actually. But hopefully they are all starting to make sense together. Most beginners are a bit intimidated by sixteenth notes, but there is no reason to be! These are not fast notes, unless you are playing a fast song, which we don’t need to do right now. As long as you are playing a slow-medium tempo, sixteenth notes aren’t that fast at all.

The sixteenth note is a black dot with a stem and TWO flags/tails

Sixteenth Note Flashcard

As you probably figured, a Sixteenth Note is half the value of an Eighth Note. So a sixteenth note receives 1/4 of a count. This means that 4 sixteenth notes fit inside of a quarter note. Also, 2 sixteenth notes fit inside of an eighth note.

Sharps & Flats, Accidentals

Accidentals. Why are they called that!? I have no idea. No, they didn’t accidentally put these notes in the music. What are they? Now that I do know. Accidentals include sharp (#), flat (b), and natural signs. They change the pitch of the note to a higher, lower, or natural pitch.

  1. The Sharp (#) is not a hash tag. You might have to re train your thinking on this matter! 🙂 When you see a # sign in front of a note, it raises that note by 1/2 step. On the violin, this is a width of about 1/2 inch. This is why you see 2nd finger (C# and F#), in the diagrams above, close to 3rd finger and more space between the other notes.
  2. The Flat looks like a lowercase b and lowers the note by 1/2 step.
  3. Then we have the natural sign which cancels out a sharp or a flat and moves the note back to it’s natural pitch.

Accidentals Flashcard

Key Signatures

Rather than putting accidentals all over your sheet music, we use something called Key Signatures. You could think of these much like a family’s last name. The notes within a Key Signature are all related to each other, they go together. You will find the key signature on each line of music, unlike the time signature which only appears on the first line of the music.

Worksheets and Music

Now for the fun stuff! I made a couple songs for you to play using all the open strings, plus our third finger notes. COMING SOON: You can find the sheet music below, and the play along video on my YouTube Channel.

I’m taking the next two weeks off from teaching private lessons and plan to FINISH THIS ONLINE COURSE!!! If you are following, please comment to encourage me! 🙂 Summer isn’t over just yet, and this is a summer course, so let’s finish this up while it’s still Summer!

Violin Lesson 6 – Five Note Scale

Thursday, August 18th, 2016

My apologies for taking so long to get this lesson blog posted for you! I have accepted a side job that has taken some extra time learning the hoops. Let’s see if we can get back on track here! In this lesson we are going to learn how to play the Five Note Scale on all 4 strings!!

4th Finger Muscle Memory

You’ve been practicing bringing your hand up to the violin, setting up all your fingers using the baby wave, and then checking the intonation of 4th finger with the open string to the right. I hope you are establishing great muscle memory habits as you practice this!


We are getting quite a little collection of flashcards! Keep reviewing them regularly. If we are able to build concept upon concept, hopefully nothing will feel overwhelming. We are moving through a lot of material in just 10 weeks time. My hope is that by the end of the course, you will be able to play some simple melodies.

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Review Test Answer Key

How did you like the halfway review test? Did it challenge you? Was there anything you didn’t know the answer to? Let me know in the comments. Here is the answer key.

Answer Key

Hand Frame to Five Note Scale

Oh this is exciting! Now you are going to practice playing with all 4 fingers on each string!! We have gone over the names of these notes a few times, and how to walk up and down the staff to figure out the names of the notes. It is not super important to know their names as you play them this week, but I would definitely start practicing them. The more you familiarize yourself with naming the notes now, the easier it will be to read sheet music for a tune when we get there in a couple weeks. That is why I have created a couple worksheets to help you learn to read the note names.

This is part of the reason I am getting behind with posting these lessons weekly! I am writing all of this material as we go and as we build, I have more and more content to create. 🙂 So please be patient! This is the first time I have created a course, and the first time I’ve tried to create this type of content; flashcards, sheet music, worksheets, and quizzes. That is part of the reason this course is free! 🙂 We are learning together.

So, with your left hand frame set, go ahead and play the Five Note Scale down the A-String. 4E, 3D, 2C#, 1B, 0A. Keep your fingers hovering just above the strings as you life them off!! This is such an important habit to develop!! You should maintain the hand frame shape as you play. If you can do this well, you shouldn’t struggle too much with intonation.

I’ve put together a sheet of music for the Five Note Scale Exercises on all 4 strings. You will notice that they always go from top (4th finger) to bottom (open string). I did this on purpose as it will help you establish good technique and posture in the left hand. Please DO NOT walk back up the scale YET. 🙂 We will get there, but I want to teach your muscles some good habits first.

Eighth Notes and Eighth Rests

Time for one more note value! The eighth note. You should notice there is a mathematical pattern the note values follow. The whole note is the longest, 4 counts. Cut that in half and we have the half note, 2 counts. Then in half again we find the quarter note, 1 count. Now we are going to cut the quarter note in half and find the eighth note, ½ count. Here is a flashcard visual of the music math for you.

Eighth Note Math

Time Signatures

You will find the time signature on the left hand side of your music, right beside the treble clef. These guys can seem confusing at first but it is important to understand what they mean.

The top number specifies how many counts/beats are in each measure. The bottom number defines what type of note receives one count/beat. Let’s take 4/4 time signature, the most common, for our example.

Top 4 = four counts/beats in each measure

Bottom 4 = quarter note receives one count/beat.

So there are 4 quarter notes, or the equivalent, in each measure. Now let’s use a more complex time signature such as 3/2.

Top 3 = 3 counts/beats in each measure

Bottom 2 = the half note gets ONE count/beat.

So there are 3 half notes, or the equivalent, in each measure.


Alright! That pretty much covers it for Lesson 6!! I’m excited to move into the next few lessons! They will be a lot of work, but we get to dive into some exciting things!!

I’ve created several worksheets for you this week. I hope you enjoy the variety, let me know what you enjoy most about these worksheets!

Five Note Scale Exercises

Note Spelling Worksheet

Crossword Music Puzzle – Lesson 6