Minuet in G Major by J.S. Bach - Play Through

Minuet in G Major Part 1

Minuet in G Major Part 1

Minuet in G Major is a fun, late beginner to early intermediate violin piece. One of the major challenges in learning to play this piece is the string crossings.

To start out, practice the string crossings using a staccato, and even though it's marked as piano (or play quietly), you may want to start out by practicing it loudly, such as forte. Playing at forte will allow you to master the string crossings after which you can go back and work on playing it as piano. When working on the string crossings, even if the music is not marked staccato, it is a good idea to practice it as staccato and mark where the notes are on the string.

The first two measures repeat over and over throughout the entire piece, so take a significant amount of time to learn those two measures, they are the hardest in the piece. Once you have the notes mastered, it's easier to master the bowing.

The bowing is the most important part of this piece.  Use a whole bow for ever quarter note and a half bow in either the lower or the upper half of the bow for each eighth note. Avoid playing notes in the middle of the bow because you will not have as much control of the sound.  If you run out of bow it is probably because you are not using a whole bow for the quarter notes.

Concentrate on the bowing and expression in the second half, also paying attention to any of the accidentals that come up including D#, a high third finger on the A string.

Pay close attention to the dynamics because this piece starts off softly then quickly changes to forte then back to piano.

Shadow Bowing

One way you can quickly practice the different bow issues that you might have is through shadow bowing.  Shadow bowing is used by beginners and professionals alike as a way to quickly practice bowing without the distraction of playing the notes. To practice shadow bowing, turn your bow over so its upside down and the horse hair isn’t resting on anything. Next, take the stick part of the bow and either rest it on your shoulder or your hand. Do not rest the horse hair part on anything; this will damage your bow. Finally, practice the bowing as marked without making a sound. This allows you to gain muscle memory, practice through mistakes, and move forward with your playing quickly and more efficiently than you did before.