Improve your Left-Hand-Fitness with Slurs!
The Fitness of the left hand is responsible for how comfortable you feel on the guitar. Regular slur practice will improve your stability and agility and opens your hand for more fingering possibilities! Two Weeks, Fingers 1234, a gazillion different possibilites! Let me show you my workout tips for the left hand and let us improve together!
Fellow Participants in Group 3:
Oscar Leonardo Molina Sierra
Some tonebase productions to get you started
How to get the most out of this course
- Start by watching the introduction video and practice the exercises given in the video.
- Write a post with your experiences with Slurs.
- At the same time, start practicing the first bars of Etude #3 by Villa-Lobos. If you are new to the piece, start with my livestream on this piece!
- Share two videos per week and help your course partners through feedback on their submissions!
Zoom Check-In: Friday, June 24th at 6 pm CET (9 am PT)
I have been working on Bouree I and II from Bach Cello Suite 4. It is full of slurs, including slurs with a fixed finger. I did a short technical practice of the first three exercises and then played the Bouree. The combination of relaxation, thinking about the weight of the fingers, and using the first finger whenever possible for hand position led to an improvement over how I have previously played it. This will be a great challenge for me.
My slurs are ok but there’s always room for improvement and I have been looking for a succinct way to incorporate them into my warm up routine. I especially like exercises 3 and 4. I’ve been using Estudio del ligado by Barrios as a slur practice piece but I’ve never played Villa-Lobos #3 so I’m excited to learn it. I’ll check out your livestream on that. Ok, off to practice now!
It's been a while since I've focused much on slurs. My pinky is quite weak and inaccurate. I just went through the first 4 exercises using all finger combinations for each and across the entire fretboard range (5th position up to 9th, down to 1st and back up to 5th). I did all possible fixed finger combos in just the 1st position using alternation on all 6 strings when I could reach them (almost inaudible or altogether unplayable for me on the higher strings with most combos).
I focused on shifting finger weight, using gravity as much as possible, playing just behind the frets with the very tips of my fingertips, relaxing each finger immediately after each note, keeping all unused fingers relaxed and close to the fingerboard and/or following along in position above each successive string, keeping the rest of my body relaxed and in good posture, listening for tone clarity, volume and consistent rhythm, and trying to maintain steady and deep breathing throughout... It's pretty amazing how many things you can be aware of even when practicing such simple exercises! Almost inevitably while focusing more intently on one or two aspects, others will slip up a bit and so I find myself constantly shifting my primary focus around the different areas mentioned as I see, hear or feel inconsistencies arise while playing.
Going at a comfortable and steady pace, it took me almost exactly one hour to complete. I took a 5-10 minute break after the first 2 exercises to get up, walk around and stretch a bit. I also made sure to pause briefly while letting my hands hang down loosely away from the guitar after each finger combination had completed its cycle for the current exercise and shake them out a bit while taking a few deep breaths to stimulate my circulation before continuing with the next finger group.
Now, if I can only maintain such enthusiasm and focus long term, on a daily basis - then perhaps great things could be possible!
Happy practicing and good luck, everyone!
This is my starting video for the slur challenge. I recorded exercises 1-3, 5th fret only. I did a complete practice for frets 5-9, 9-1, 1-5. I feel a shorter video for feedback on hand position and overall technique would be appreciated by the other participants.
- My left hand pinky needs special attention.
- I need to make more time in preparation before plucking
- I need to improve the accuracy of the hammer-on slurs
I would appreciate any/all feedback and recommendations.
Martha Kreipke, St. Louis, MO