I have been spending a good deal of quality time with the scales that live in the back of the Sevcik Opus 8 book of shifting exercises, and I thought I would share them with other people who take pleasure in building technique. These two pages, I believe, contain everything any string player (or any player of any other instrument able to make its way through three octaves) might need in order to be comfortable playing passagework in any key, in any meter, and at any tempo.
If you practice these scales with a metronome, they work wonders. I think that they are beautifully set up and extremely economical: you get hours upon hours of really worthwhile practice out of just two pages. But, most of all, you have to think while you are practicing these scales. It is so easy to let your mind drift off when practicing "normal" scales. These modal scales keep you on task, particularly the minor scales in keys with a lot of sharps and flats.
I set my metronome at the quarter note in a conservative tempo (96-104), and practice the scales with sharps on one day and with flats on the next day (the Julius Baker approach). I vary the articulation (the bowings to string players), and I try to do it mindfully and deliberately.
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