As promised in my video series on Violin Tone Production, I am making this nifty little worksheet available to anyone who wants it. (Click here to download the PDF.) You can print it out and use it in countless ways, and in the video, I gave you my three favorite ways to practice tone manipulation using this worksheet. They are:

1) Two Constants, One Variable

Circle one element from any 2 categories. These will be your CONSTANTS. (i.e. circle “fast” under the BOW SPEED category, and circle “heavy” under the WEIGHT category”) This leaves your BOW PLACEMENT category as the wild card, or the VARIABLE ingredient. So, while keeping your bow speed FAST and your bow weight HEAVY, you must experiment with ALL 5 LANES of your highway, or Bow Placement.

Choose different constants each day until you’ve done every possible combination.

2) One Constant, TWO Variables

Choose one element from any one category, maybe something you struggle with. For instance, if you are bad at using lots of FAST bow, I would circle “FAST” under the “Bow Speed” category. Then, you will play with all possible combinations of the other 2 categories (Bow Weight and Bow Placement), keeping your bow moving FAST no matter what.

Try to make it sound good in all combinations, but I want you to finally settle on the combination that worked the BEST for fast bow, and WRITE IT DOWN on the worksheet. Keep in mind that what works in a piano dynamic may not work in a forte, so you may want to write down what dynamic you were using. (see the next exercise)

3) Changing Dynamics

Choose a dynamic, then figure out how to make a FAST bow speed sound the best.
Next figure out how to make a SLOW bow speed sound the best.
Try a MEDIUM bow speed.
Do this for the entire dynamic spectrum from fortissimo to pianissimo.
This exercise really pays off quickly!

Adapt this worksheet to fit your own needs! Be creative, and have fun! Good luck!