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Free PDF: Maud Powell's 10 Practice Rules

Free PDF: Maud Powell's 10 Practice Rules

Tips to help you get the most out of each practice session – from one of America's foremost violinists.

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Producing Different Colors

Han-Gorski doesn’t rely solely on intuition to produce a range of colors. He is very conscious of how he produces a wide range of sounds, just as one might be conscious of their emotions in a conversation. The key is to have the tools required for expression.

Any time you change your hand position, you get a different color.

Heifetz once told Han-Gorski, “take your wrist off!” Han-Gorski prefers to utilize an arm vibrato instead of a wrist vibrato. At a high level of violin playing, using vibrato efficiently makes a very significant difference (just as shaving body hair provides Olympic swimmers a small but critical time advantage!) If you’re striving for a solo career, every detail makes a very important difference. Han-Gorski even takes his watch off while he plays because the added weight isn’t what he’s accustomed to, and it adds some resistance over time.


Efficiency of Movement

Even the act of slightly raising your first finger can create unintended consequences. Raise one finger and look at the muscles throughout your arm – you can see the tension this causes all the way down. The left-hand fingers should not wander from a neutral, relaxed position because this forces us to either rotate the wrist or risk grazing another string. Try holding the bow in the left-hand parallel to the strings as if looking through a spyglass.

Parallel Vs. Perpendicular

Han-Gorski plays with the fingers parallel to the strings, not perpendicular. This position requires training – it’s not completely natural. Once you get it, you can place all four fingers on the same string and go up and down without touching the other strings, and you can play very fast without a lot of work.


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Dave McLellan

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