Although scales, arpeggios and repertory are necessary for any musician’s development, etudes and exercises such as the ones below should also be part of any instrumentalist’s diet. Such exercises allow us to focus on a single aspect of technique. Single task left hand drills are essential if we desire to have true dexterity in the left hand fingers.
There are innumerable books out there that elaborate on the exercises presented below. Rest assured there is nothing new under the sun. Such books are worth perusing.
You can also make your own challenges and expand on these drills.
Some keys to success:
- Start very slowly, and gradually speed up the tempo
- Use a metronome to ensure a steady tempo and to help you mark your progress
- Use minimum pressure and minimum muscular effort
- Never “play through the pain.” If you get tense, stop.
- Gauge your progress in months, not days.
These exercises can be done pizzicato or arco.
Neck Position Drill
Thumb Position Drill
Photo by Dustin Fenstermacher