Thank you, Mr. Heifetz … the silent, left hand warm up

While watching an old video that an adult student had given me, I came across a unique, warming up exercise that Jascha Heifetz used in his own personal practice. It occurred to me that this would make a great exercise for my students. The Heifetz rendition was a bit random and fast paced so I decided to simplify some of the main concepts before introducing the exercise.

I demonstrated the exercise to approximately 8 students. The following week, we all began our lessons with our ‘Heifetz’ warm up. I mirrored their efforts in the background.

Much to my surprise, at the end of two weeks of teaching the exercise to my students, I noticed such a difference in my own finger strength and articulation that I have made it a permanent part of my left hand warm up.

Since some of my students are learning basic rhythm, I have adapted the original exercise to include subdivision of the basic beat. And for myself, I have exaggerated the stretches to improve my reach on the fingerboard.

Feel free to use your own favorite finger patterns. I hope that Mr. Heifetz would approve …

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Vivian Waters

Vivian Waters