Virtual Learning

Virtual advice from the pros

TFO’s Teaching Artists offer tips on practicing and techniques for strings teachers and students stuck at home. The exercises and videos below have been assembled by TFO’s Community Engagement team.

Instrumental Technique Videos and Exercises

TFO Teaching Artist Kristin Baird explains how shifting works on the different string instruments of the orchestra in a two-step process

Shifting Step 1 Video – Follow along with the worksheets:
Violin | Viola | Cello | Bass

Shifting Step 2 Video – Follow along with the worksheets:
Violin | Viola | Cello | Bass

Shifting Explained! On the Cello – with TFO Assistant Principal Cellist Lowell Adams

Shifting Explained! On the Double Bass – with TFO Principal Bassist Dee Moses

TFO Teaching Artist Kaitlin Springer introduces vibrato in a 4-part series that will help you get started and hone your vibrato technique. Get ready to add an extra level of artistry to your music!

What is Vibrato? – The first video in our series introduces the idea of vibrato. We learn how it works so that we can understand the technique at the most basic level and practice it for the first time. Follow along with the What is Vibrato? Worksheet.

The Fundamentals of Vibrato – In part 2 of our series, we continue to explore the fundamentals of vibrato as we learn a new vibrato exercise.

Vibrato and Left Hand Flexibility – In part 3 of our series, we explore left hand flexibility as we continue practicing our new skill.

Vibrato Practice – In our fourth and final part of the Vibrato Series, we review the fundamentals of vibrato and introduce a new vibrato exercise. Follow along with the following vibrato practice worksheets: Violin and Viola.

Vibrato Explained! On the Cello – with TFO Assistant Principal Cellist Lowell Adams

Vibrato Explained! On the Bass – with TFO Principal Bassist Dee Moses

All State Viola Packet

This packet is a comprehensive guide to help students practice for All State 2021. It contains the All State requirements for this grade level, the required scales with fingerings, practice guides for each etude and excerpt, a guide on sight reading, and a guide on score studying for the high school levels.
7th & 8th Grade All-State Packet
9th & 10th Grade All-State Packet
11th & 12th Grade All-State Packet

Viola Wohlfart Op. 54, etude No. 20 Practive Tips Video – TFO Teaching Artist Kaitlin Springer explores some ways to start practicing this etude for Middle School All State auditions before performing it.

Viola Wohlfart Op. 74 Book 1 etude No. 26 Practive Tips Video – TFO Teaching Artist Kaitlin Springer explores some ways to start practicing this etude for Middle School All State auditions before performing it.

Viola Kreutzer 7 Etude Video – In this video we demonstrate a few different ways to practice Kreutzer 7, the viola 9th & 10th grade etude requirement for All State 2020/2021. Follow along with the Kreutzer 7 worksheet.

Viola Kreutzer 12 Etude Video – In this video we demonstrate a few different ways to practice Kreutzer 12, the viola 11th & 12th grade etude requirement for All State 2020/2021. Follow along with the Kreutzer 12 worksheet.

9th/10th Grade: Mozart Symphony 35 Excerpt

Practice Tips Video – TFO Teaching Artist Kaitlin Springer shares some tips on how to practice this excerpt for 9th/10th grade Florida All State. Follow along with the Mozart 35 Excerpt Worksheet.

Mozart Symphony 35 Exerpt Performance – Teaching Artist Kaitlin Springer performs an excerpt from the first movement of Mozart’s Symphony 35. This is the 9th & 10th grade Florida All State excerpt requirement.Follow along and study the excerpt using our 9th & 10th Grade All State Packet.

11th/12th Grade: Brahms 4 Excerpt

Practice Tips Video – TFO Teaching Artist Kaitlin Springer shares some tips on how to practice this excerpt for 11th/12th Grade Florida All State. Follow along with the Brahms 4 Excerpt Worksheet.  

Brahms Symphony 4 Excerpt Performance – Teaching Artist Kaitlin Springer performs an excerpt from the 4th movement of Brahms’ Symphony 4. This is the 11th and 12th grade Florida All State excerpt requirement. Follow along and study the excerpt using our 11th & 12th Grade All State Packet.

Practice your All County music with Teaching Artists and musicians from TFO! These videos go through all of the All County requirements and have some practice tips to help get your audition in tip top shape.

9th & 10th Grade

Violin – Teaching Artist Kristin Baird demonstrates the audition for violin in this video. Follow along with this worksheet.
A Major Scale 1:55 | F Major Scale 2:26 | Prepared Except 2:47 | Comments 3:23 | Recording of the original piece 6:46

ViolaPlay along with TFO Teaching Artist Kaitlin Springer and follow along with this worksheet.
D Major scale: 0:26 | F Major scale: 0:50 | Excerpt from Farandole: 1:23 | Practice tips: 2:15

Cello – Assistant Principal Cello Lowell Adams takes you through the All County Requirements in this video.
D major scale 0:41 | F major scale 0:56 | Farandole excerpt 1:12 | Helpful tips 1:59 | Recording of the original piece 3:30

BassIn this video TFO Principal Bassist Dee Moses performs the Pinellas County All County Requirements for bass and gives advice on how to practice so that you can have a great audition.
D Major 1 Octave Scale: 0:16 | C Major 2 Octave Scale: 0:26 | Excerpt from Farandole: 0:46 | Practice Tips: 1:16

11th & 12th Grade

Violin – Teaching Artist Kristin Baird demonstrates the audition for violin in this video. Follow along with this worksheet.
E Major Scale 1:45 | F Major Scale 2:14 | Prepared Excerpt 2:35 | Comments/Tips 3:23 | Recording of the original piece 6:37

ViolaPlay along with TFO Teaching Artist Kaitlin Springer and follow along with this worksheet.
G Major Scale: 0:26 | Eb Major Scale: 0:50 | Excerpt from Holst’s Fantasia: 1:19 | Practice Tips: 1:45

Cello – Assistant Principal Cello Lowell Adams takes you through the All County Requirements in this video.
G major scale 0:33 | E-flat major scale 0:48 | St. Paul’s Suite excerpt 1:01 | Helpful tips 1:26 | Recording of the original piece 2:45

BassIn this video TFO Principal Bassist Dee Moses performs the Pinellas County All County Requirements for bass and gives advice on how to practice so that you can have a great audition.
A Major 2 Octave Scale: 0:14 | F Major 2 Octave Scale: 0:30 | Excerpt: 0:46 | Practice Tips: 1:23

For the Classroom

Beginning Bow Hold Practice – Learning how to hold the bow for the first time can seem daunting. Fear not! Use the following videos to practice and hone your bow hold technique.

Bow Hold Song
Bow Hold Games
Bow Hold Pencil Practice with Baby Yoda
Bow Hold Practice: The Rocket Song
Rosin 101

These “play along” videos are designed to be used in a live or virtual classroom or to be added to a student’s daily practice routine.

A Major 1 Octave 
Score and Parts | Violin | Viola | Cello | Bass 

A Flat Major 1 Octave 
Score and Parts | Violin | Viola | Cello | Bass 

Bb Flat 1 Octave 
Score and Parts | Violin | Viola | Cello | Bass 

C Major 1 Octave 
Score and Parts | Violin | Viola | Cello | Bass 

D Major 1 Octave 
Score and Parts | Violin | Viola | Cello | Bass 

E Major 1 Octave 
Score and Parts | Violin | Viola | Cello | Bass 

Eb Major 1 Octave Scale 
Score and Parts | Violin | Viola | Cello | Bass 

F Major 1 Octave 
Score and Parts | Violin | Viola | Cello | Bass 

G Major 1 Octave 
Score and Parts | Violin | Viola | Cello | Bass 

These “play along” videos are designed to be used in a live or virtual classroom or to be added to a student’s daily practice routine. If you have a mixed level orchestra class where some students are playing 2 octave scales and some students are playing 1 octave scales, use the optional 1 Octave Alternate Parts so the whole class can play together seamlessly! 

A Major 2 Octaves 
Score and Parts | Violin | Viola | Cello | Bass 
1 Octave Alternate parts: Violin | Viola | Cello | Bass 

Ab Major 2 Octaves 
Score and Parts | Violin | Viola | Cello | Bass 
1 Octave Alternate parts: Violin | Viola | Cello | Bass 

Bb Major 2 Octaves 
Score and Parts | Violin | Viola | Cello | Bass 
1 Octave Alternate parts: Violin | Viola | Cello | Bass 

C Major 2 Octaves 
Score and Parts | Violin | Viola | Cello | Bass 
1 Octave Alternate parts: Violin | Viola | Cello | Bass 

D Major 2 Octaves 
Score and Parts | Violin | Viola | Cello | Bass 
1 Octave Alternate parts: Violin | Viola | Cello | Bass 

E Major 2 Octaves 
Score and Parts | Violin | Viola | Cello | Bass 
1 Octave Alternate parts: Violin | Viola | Cello | Bass 

Eb Major 2 Octaves 
Score and Parts | Violin | Viola | Cello | Bass 
1 Octave Alternate parts: Violin | Viola | Cello | Bass 

F Major 2 Octaves 
Score and Parts | Violin | Viola | Cello | Bass 
1 Octave Alternate parts: Violin | Viola | Cello | Bass 

G Major 2 Octaves 
Score and Parts | Violin | Viola | Cello | Bass 
1 Octave Alternate parts: Violin | Viola | Cello | Bass 

String Orchestra Warm-ups – The fundamental exercises in these warm-ups were designed with the young string orchestra in mind but can be helpful at the high school level as well. The warm-ups can be used as a daily routine that builds individual as well as ensemble skills and precision. Exercises that focus on tone production, bow control, finger placement, scales, and bowing techniques are all included in this set of warm-ups as well as a chorale in G major to end the ensemble warm-up. If used on a daily basis and in creative ways, this set of warm-ups will help build the foundation of skill needed to take your orchestra’s music making to the next level.

Developed by Christopher Ellis, Director of Bands & Orchestras at Osceola Middle School

Conductor’s Score | Violin | Viola | Cello | Bass

Rhythm sight reading series – These exercises introduce a great method for practicing rhythm combinations and subdividing. Start with Rhythm Sight Reading 101 to practice the basics of subdividing rhythms and move on to Rhythm Sight Reading Practice when you feel confident and ready for a challenge!

Bowing Sight Reading 101 – Use this exercise to give your orchestra a new level of bowing coordination and confidence! Air bowing is always the best way to start these exercises.

Schradieck Finger Exercises – This is an arrangement of the famous left hand technique exercises written by Schradieck. Violins and violas play the exercise as it is originally written, and cellos and basses mostly follow the same pattern, but with some small changes. This is for an advanced classroom looking to improve class technique.

G major matchup – This exercise is meant to build group awareness of pitch matching and blending. The instruments enter in order from lowest pitched instrument to highest pitched instrument, with each instrument respectively playing a little softer so that they can actively listen to the sound of the group. Take your time going through this sheet and encourage students to occasionally stop playing so they could listen to the blend of the group and add themselves back in again. Make sure basses are extremely well tuned before starting this exercise. Click here to view the PDF.

Fingering Acrobatics Exercise – The fingering acrobatics worksheets are designed to help students practice common finger patterns in different keys. D major is a great start for practicing patterns; C major focuses on the low 2nd finger pattern for violin and violas. These work well for intermediate and advanced students.

 

Scale Practice

This worksheet will provide an introduction to the following violin scale videos.

Advanced Violin Scale Studies: Like brushing your teeth or a hot cup of coffee, scales are a part of every musician’s morning routine. Teaching Artist Kristin Baird shares one of her morning scale routines that helps develop the different positions on the violin.
Scales in Every Mode (directions and explanation) 
Flat Scales 
Sharp Scales

D Major 1-Octave Scale – In this video we practice the D major scale starting on open D. Use the Scale Worksheet with this video for best results.

G Major 1-Octave Scale – In this video we practice the G major scale starting on open G. Use the Scale Worksheet with this video for best results.

A Major 1-Octave Scale – In this video we practice the A Major scale starting on open A. Use the Scale Worksheet with this video for best results.

G Major 1-Octave Scale starting third finger on D string – In this video we practice the G Major scale starting on the D string. Use the Scale Worksheet with this video for best results.

C Major 1-Octave Scale – In this video we practice the C Major scale. Use the Scale Worksheet with this video for best results.

A Major 1-Octave Scale starting first finger on G string – In this video we practice the A Major scale starting on the G string. Use the Scale Worksheet with this video for best results.

E Major 1-Octave Scale starting first finger on D string – In this video we practice the E Major scale starting on the D string. Use the Scale Worksheet with this video for best results.

F Major 1-Octave Scale starting second finger on D string – In this video we practice the F Major scale starting on low second finger on the D string. Use the Scale Worksheet with this video for best results.

B-flat Major 1-Octave Scale starting second finger on G string – In this video we practice the B-flat Major scale starting on low second finger on the G string. Use the Scale Worksheet with this video for best results.

E-flat Major 1-Octave Scale starting first finger on D string – In this video we practice the E-flat Major scale starting on low first finger on the D string. Use the Scale Worksheet with this video for best results.

A-flat Major 1-Octave Scale starting first finger on G string – In this video we practice the A-flat Major scale starting on low first finger on the G string. Use the Scale Worksheet with this video for best results.

C Major 1-Octave Scale Practice – This is a walk-through of how we can practice a C Major scale to improve our technique. Check out the “Metronome” and “Tuner Lite” apps that are free on the App stores or watch some YouTube reviews to choose your favorite Tuner and Metronome apps. This video also references “Technique Packet Phase 1.”

G Major Scale with a Walking Pulse – In this video, we use the G major scale to introduce the “walking pulse” technique to improve our sense of rhythm.

D Major Scale – In this video we practice the D major scale in the higher and lower octaves.

A Major Scale – In this video we practice the A Major scale with a focus on great intonation.

F Major Scale – In this video we practice the F Major 1 octave scale.

B-flat Major – In this video we practice the 1-octave B-flat Major scale

E-flat Major – In this video we practice the 1-octave E-flat Major scale

C Major 2-Octave Scale – In this video we practice the C Major 2-octave scale

G Major 2-Octave Scale – In this video we practice the 2-Octave G Major scale

A Major 2-Octave Scale – In this video we practice the 2-octave A Major scale

D Major 2-Octave Scale – In this video we practice the 2-octave D Major scale

F Major 2-Octave Scale – In this video we walk through and practice the 2-octave F Major scale

B-flat Major 2-Octave Scale – In this video we walk through and practice the 2-octave B-flat Major scale

E-flat Major 2-Octave Scale – In this video we walk through and practice the 2-octave E-flat Major scale

Scale Challenge #1 – In this video we perform a scale challenge with C, G, and D major 1-octave scales in different tempos

Scale Challenge #2 – In this video we perform a scale challenge with F, B-flat, and E-flat major 1-octave scales in different tempos.

How to Play a 3-octave C Major Scale – With the All State music out for the fall, it is time to bump up our scales practice by trying out a 3-octave scale.

How to play a D Major 3 Octave Scale –  In this video we cover how to play a 3 Octave D Major scale.

 

Cello:

TFO Assistant Principal cellist Lowell Adams demonstrates the F, G, A, C, and D Major 2-octave scales in this video.

Bass:

TFO bassist James Stroup demonstrates the C, G, F, D, B-flat, A, E-flat, E, and A-flat Major 2-octave scales in this video.

Don’t have your instrument? No problem.

These lessons and worksheets can be used by anyone.

How playing an instrument benefits your brain – This worksheet is for students to fill out as they watch the TED Talk video “How Playing an Instrument Benefits the Brain.” Included is a supporting lesson plan for teachers. The lesson plan includes the learning targets for the classroom as well as a list of the Standards of Learning from the correlating curriculum that the assignment supports.
TED Talk
Lesson Plan
Flashmob “Ode to Joy”
Paganini Caprice No. 24
Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble
Yo-Yo Ma plays “The Swan”

Mad Minute is an exercise normally found in elementary math classes where students have one minute to complete as many simple math equations as possible in 60 seconds. In this exercise, instead of math equations, students have 60 seconds to identify 60 notes by letter name.
Mad Minute 1
Mad Minute 2

In this exercise, students have 60 seconds to identify the 60 notes by finger number.
Mad Minute 3
Mad Minute 4

TFO Coffee Concert Listening Guides – Listening Guides with links and playlists to a few recent TFO Coffee performances are below.  Some guides include additional writing activities.

TFO Youth Concert Lessons you can do at home – Lessons that you can do at home with your elementary school students are below.  All lessons are taken from past TFO Youth Concerts for grades 4 and 5.

Additional Resources

  • WSMR Broadcasts – Every Thursday at 7 pm, beginning March 26, WSMR radio will broadcast live recordings of concerts performed by The Florida Orchestra, both from this current season and our archives. Tune in to listen at Classical WSMR 89.1 or online. Recordings will be available to stream for a month following each broadcast.