Phillips would say that the most brilliant exercise by Dounis is the one titled “Absolute Independence of the Fingers,” from the recently published Dounis Collection.
Try This Exercise
In this exercise (copied below from an earlier publication), one finger remains stationary, another moves up and down, another moves sideways, and another plucks. The objective is to slowly combine them until we’re playing all three types of motion at once. Don’t forget about musical expression and great sound! You’ll never run out of combinations in the book based on what Dounis wrote. Try these exercises for five to ten minutes, and then return to the repertoire – you’ll play better immediately.
The stages of a left-hand shift can be broken down as follows:
- First, the finger lightens to a harmonic pressure.
- Second, the wrist bends in the direction of the shift.
- Third, the hand slides up to the new note with harmonic pressure.
- Then, “snap and sizzle” when you press down on the new note.
Think of bending your knees when you go to jump; if you move a short distance, you only bend your knees a little, but when you’re shifting a lot, you bend your knees a lot (pictured above). The same applies to how we bend our wrists.
A less conventional technique to practice shifts is to play the goal note and then force your left hand down to the original position. You snap right back to the in-tune goal note when you let go of the resulting tension.
If you’re ready to learn from all 23 lessons of Daniel Phillips’s comprehensive course on the Dounis Principles of Violin Playing for the Left and Right Hands, start your tonebase membership with a free 14-day trial.
Inside tonebase, you’ll find 100s of in-depth lessons and structured courses, LIVE weekly workshops, and tons of digital PDF scores and workbooks to help you become the violinist you’ve always dreamed of being.
Get complete access to everything tonebase has to offer by starting your trial today!