The fastest way to play Fast …

There is some controversy about how to learn to play a passage fast. Should we not play the selection slowly and then, using our metronome, gradually increase the speed until we can reach that final tempo?

If you follow that procedure exclusively, you will spend most of your practice time playing at a speed other than your final tempo. But, as violinists, our finger and bow connections change substantially as we vary speeds … We need a method of preparation that focuses on the repetition of our exact movements at the final tempo.

Try the following method for this fast détaché.

If it works for you, add it to your practice toolbox.

Here is an excerpt from the famous Paganini Perpetuum Mobile.


Play through the above selection very slowly in mid-bow, using a tiny amount of bow.
You want to imitate the amount of bow you will use when you are playing it at fast speed.

Don’t worry, it may sound a bit scratchy and choked …

Keep the left hand fingers as close to the string as you can.


If you know the notes and the rhythm, that is the end of slow practice,

onward …


A.Set your metronome for the final speed you would love to play and follow the notation above. Play near the middle of the bow, tiny bows … left hand fingers close to the fingerboard.


B. Next step, same speed, tiny bows, lift and retake bow in rests.
Pay close attention to what happens in string crossings.


C. Same speed, add another group of 4. Listen carefully to intonation.


D. Same speed, add two more groups of 4 and rest.
Make sure this is feeling good before you go on …


E. Same speed, two measures, rest at the end.

You have it! Once we can play 2 measures/rest,
we can play 4 measures/rest, etcetera.

Remember to repeat many times from step A while
refining your sound, intonation and string crossings.

Keep in mind that you are always practicing at final tempo.


Online Violin Lessons

Vivian Waters

Vivian Waters