How to work on hand coordination and intonation


Violin lessons for hand coordination and intonation


You will find in this violin lesson two exercises to improve left and right hand coordination as well as a procedure to correct intonation, to be applied to exercise 1, but also to exercise 2 as well as to all exercises, scales and pieces you work!

These are exercises that are not specific to jazz but which relate more to the technique of learning the violin in general. Of course, these exercises are very useful for playing jazz as well, because this music requires good violin technique.


2 exercises for hand coordination


Here are two exercises to work on sequentially, which improve coordination between the left hand and the right hand, and better control intonation. With better coordination comes more speed control! Even though these exercises are done slowly, you’ll be amazed at how much better you’ll get at playing a fast piece after practicing it this way! I know this because I have worked on whole sixteenth-note studies in this way, as well as sonatas and concertos…


The originator of this violin technique: Tibor Varga

I learned this way of working at the Tibor Varga school from my former Hungarian teacher Gyula Stuller who himself had been Varga’s student. I myself once attended a masterclass with Tibor Varga: he made me work on exercises in this way throughout the course! What patience he had to listen to all this…



What to use these exercises with?


These exercises can be applied to everything! On left hand exercises, on pieces, scales, arpeggios, phrases…

Here is the phrase I used as an example in the video:




Here’s the video, and the exercises described below:




Exercise 1: note by note with STOP


The principle: play note by note, placing the finger of the next note IMMEDIATELY after the end of the note being played. On the example, at the end of the first E note, put the third finger directly on the G note and simultaneously stop the bow completely. Once the left finger of the next note is placed, wait a moment with the bow then play the G, at the end of which you will have to remove the third finger to go to the 2nd finger of F#. And so on.

It is an exercise of anticipation of the left hand on the right hand; this allows for better coordination of both hands later on, as it is usually the left hand that lags behind the right hand.

It is very important to practice this exercise WITHOUT VIBRATO! Don’t forget that you must put down the finger of the next note immediately, but once the finger is put down, you can take the time to operate the bow! This time before drawing the bow is very important for coordination because it will allow you more quickly to put the finger of the next note each time.


What if a note is intonated badly?

Above all, do not grope by moving your finger at random or continue without having heard the perfectly in tune note!


  1. Search for the note by moving the finger until the note is in tune. (You can check with the open strings). When you have found the note, do not move the finger concerned nor the left hand!
  2. Close your eyes and memorize the position of the left hand, try to focus on its position when the note is in tune!
  3. Replay the note preceding this note
  4. Replay the note in question which has a good chance of being right this time!


If the note is out of tune again, repeat the process. Concentrate on the position of the whole hand when the note is in tune.


You can use this procedure any time you have a problem with intonation!


Exercise 2: Long bow without moving the fingers of the left hand


Connect each note together, use the whole bow and link the notes together, no longer allow STOPs or gaps between the notes!

So each note is long; the finger of the left hand which makes the note must not move at all from the beginning to the end of the note! You should hear a smooth sound and a note that does not move! Listen carefully to each note, and try to listen as soon as the note moves in pitch. With each small movement of the hand, the note will necessarily move, even minimally: you have to be on the lookout for these small movements while listening to the sound, that’s what will make the difference in your playing! You can record and listen to yourself to check that the pitch does not waver.


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