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Violin Lessons: Kreutzer Etude #1

In this sample violin lesson from the Online Violin School with Nathan Cole, he takes you through an important piece for violin auditions -  the Kreutzer Etude #1.

This Kreutzer Etude is a very versatile piece that can vary greatly in the amount of difficulty based on the tempo you play it.  What makes it unique in that it is actually harder when it is played slower. The challenge is saving the bow to play all the beats at the particular tempo while maintaining your tone, and also playing dynamics that don’t match with the bow placement (reverse dynamics).

Because the placement of the bow are in reverse of the conventional and advantageous placements, it is important to remember other important variables of bow control while practicing this etude which include:

  • Bow speed
  • Bow pressure
  • Sounding point

Sounding point for this etude would be near the bridge. Otherwise, it is hard to produce a good tone for a long, sustained note. To add the dynamics to the tone, the first variable comes in - bow speed. For the quieter parts, a less and slower bow is used. When you increase the bow speed, the dynamic gets louder. At the same time, with using a fast bow speed, a greater pressure needs to be applied to avoid the wispy and glassy sound.

Once these variables of bow control are clear, try to practice this with a metronome. This will challenge yourself to play slower and remain on tempo, which will overtime give you impeccable bow control the more you practice it. To get outside your comfort zone with this piece, try clicking down to a slower tempo to really test your bow control and mastering of this etude.

This exercise is applicable to all orchestral violin music where violinists hold long slurred notes. Often times in sustained orchestral notes, musicians are independent from the conductors to rely on their own internal beats. Chances are, if you can play this etude at quarter note speed (50 or slower), you can take on any length notes in orchestra.

Also, remember that when you’re drawing your long note and using the entirety of the bow, you still have to produce a good tone around the frog area. Here's Nathan's tip for that: just keep your entire arm, wrist, and hands "flowy", yet still keep the elbow elevated to the level of the hand.

Another way to practice this etude is to work on different variations of vibrato. Try to vary the vibrato by volume; faster vibrato with louder parts and slower vibrato with quieter parts. This is just few of the ways you can practice the Kreutzer Etude as Nathan Cole instructs. Be sure to check out more sample violin lessons from his online school by filling out the form below.

Fiill out the form for more sample lessons and visit for more information about how the online violin school works. 

violin lesson kreutzer etude


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