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Digital Subscriptions > The Strad > October 2019 > Mapping out the fingerboard

Mapping out the fingerboard

Exercises to train your brain and fingers, to help you become a more fluent performer and improviser


Violin instructor at Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA, US and at workshops and music camps internationally


BORN Framingham, Massachusetts

STUDIED WITH Christian Howes, Anthea Kreston, Peter Anick

TEACHES All ages (mainly conservatoire level)

Incorporating fingerboard-mapping exercises into your daily practice will help you to understand and visualise chords more quickly, so that you can anticipate harmonies in any music. As you begin to see chord shapes, patterns and larger harmonic structures more clearly, you will be able to learn music more quickly, from jazz to Bach; and when you improvise, your hand will know what to do the moment you read a chord on a chart. You will be better able to voice-lead smoothly between chords, which will improve your confidence and fluidity. To develop this skill, I have created a system of ‘Jaytudes’ (Jason etudes) that has been extremely beneficial for my own and my students’ playing. I encourage you to come up with your own personalised etudes too.

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About The Strad

We mark 100 years of Elgar’s Cello Concerto and examine Sgarabotto’s violins. Plus interviews Boris Kuschnir, Daniel Müller-Schott and Richard Tognetti, and our annual Cremona supplement.