Why Viola Scales are Helpful

I love the fact that scales are such a great vehicle for learning different skills on the viola! Scales can and should be much more than just playing notes in order in a particular key in a particular set of places on the viola; they can also be used for learning rhythm and bowing skills. These free viola scale bowing variations give you new ways to work on tone, bow control, and more. 

Free Viola Scale Bowing Variations 1
Free Viola Scale Bowing Variations 2

Today in the blog, we’re going to focus on using a simple C major scale to work on viola bowing. Now, the possibilities here are endless. I could start writing today and never ever reach the end of variations I could make with this scale. But there are other books to write and so I will stop at 15 pages for this little booklet. Of course, I’ll probably come back every once in awhile with another blog post on scales; scale variations are a bit of a passion of mine!

Free Viola Scale Bowing Variations 3
Free Viola Scale Bowing Variations 4

Scales are helpful because they are so predictable. You know what’s coming and the notes (at least in these scale pages) are fairly easy. But that doesn’t mean you should turn off reading and play from memory just yet; I have some breaks in the pattern built into these scale pages to help keep your attention while you play.

Free Viola Scale Bowing Variations 5
Free Viola Scale Bowing Variations 6

Scale variations are a perfect way to multitask. Variations are a great way to train your left and right hands to be more coordinated and also a great way to make your practice even more efficient; you’re working on multiple skills at once!

Free Viola Scale Bowing Variations 7
Free Viola Scale Bowing Variations 8

Feel free to make variations on the variations! Boredom lets you turn your brain off and can be the opening for building bad habits! Viola technique should never be taken for granted; every minute of your practice should be spent actively trying to improve. 

Varying the exercises can help you stay focused. I play different pages of scale exercises every day (that’s one reason why I had to write so many books!) These variations can be played on any scale but they’re simplest on a 2-octave scale that starts on an open string.

Free Viola Scale Bowing Variations 9
Free Viola Scale Bowing Variations 10

If you’re looking for more scale variations, First Position Scale Studies has variations on one-octave scales and The Two Octaves Book has variations on two-octave scales!

Free Viola Scale Bowing Variations 11
Free Viola Scale Bowing Variations 12
Free Viola Scale Bowing Variations 13
Free Viola Scale Bowing Variations 14
Free Viola Scale Bowing Variations 15

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