Advanced Fingering Charts for Strings

Smart String Teacher’s Advanced Fingering Charts for Strings is a must-have for your intermediate to advanced violin, viola, cello or bass students, and yourself!  A good set of fingering charts should be an essential part of a string player’s resources.  As one students says, “These fingering charts take the mystery out of shifting!”

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Features:

  • Can be used universally by violin, viola, cello or bass.
  • Represents the fingerboard to scale (my pet peeve are fingering charts that don’t look scaled to an actual fingerboard)
  • Has the key signature represented in all clefs.
  • Has the first position clearly highlighted in bold.
  • Has the positions marked so that one can easily orient themselves.
  • Has notes up to an octave on each string.
  • Has the fingerings for up to 6 flats and 6 sharps.
  • Easy to copy and give to students.
  • Easy for students to have handy.
  • As obvious for students to use as possible.
  • Complete enough that it can be used by intermediate to advanced students.
  • Can be used to support any scale method.

String Players Need Fingering Charts

In my years as a violin student, as a private teacher, and as a classroom teacher, I have never seen anyone use fingering charts, much less provide them to their students.  Even in scale methods, fingering charts are rarely provided, at least not past 1st position, or not very good ones. As a student, both in school and private lessons, it was never once suggested to me to look up the fingering on a chart.  How is it that fingering charts, which are common for wind instruments, are somehow not even used as a resource for string students, who have the unenviable challenge of trying to find their notes in the ‘uncharted’ territory called the fingerboard?  I find that very interesting.

When I started teaching string orchestra, I faced the challenge, as all string teachers do, of trying to address the fingering needs of four different instruments.  Many days, I wished I had a fingering chart that I could just tell the kids to look up.  I searched for fingering charts to use in class, but none filled my expectations; they were either incomplete in some way, or just too overwhelming to use.

Universal Fingering Charts for the Classroom

At the time, I was also developing my method, Teaching Fingering, Shifting and Intonation Without Fear, intended to make fingering, and therefore intonation, super easy to teach (yes, I mean super).  One day I realized I could build on that and create a set of fingering charts that was actually universal to violin, viola, cello and (flipped for) bass.  All I had to do was combine all 5 strings and BINGO  –  I had a universal set of fingering charts for (almost) all the keys!  (Don’t you just love those rare times when you only have to copy one set of something for the whole class instead of one set each for violin, viola, cello and bass?)

Easy to Use

These charts are very easy to use, especially after the students have learned to use my Smart Scale Finger Patterns from Smart Scales for Strings. Use this vocabulary to make fingering SUPER easy to teach, learn and understand.  You can also take your students to the stratosphere with SSS’s, Single String Scales (post coming soon), my easy method for introducing the higher positions.

This set of fingering charts has been a life saver for me.  My students keep them in their folders and use them all the time.  I print them on coloured paper (a different colour for the advanced and the beginner scales) so they can find them easily.  They seem to be working well enough because now that I think of it, after a brief explanation on how to use it, students seem to be able to figure out most fingerings without my help.

These fingering charts have even helped me on many occasions to figure out fingering in higher positions on instruments that are not my main instrument, such as cello and bass.  I always model how to use the charts to my students so they understand how to figure out fingerings for themselves.

I hope you enjoy using the Advanced Fingering Charts for Strings, and I hope you are following my Teaching Fingering, Shifting and Intonation Without Fear posts.

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