FOCUS — Lack of attention to detail is the path to mediocrity. On the flip side, my voice instructor who is one of the world's top pedagogues always says that if you can manage 80%, the rest will take care of itself. But how do you quantify 80% in music? It's still extremely subjective, but all I can say is to listen. Constantly. To professionals, to students… Social media is a wealth of both raw and staged musical footage. Use your resources, and build a solid frame of reference.
In grade school, there was a one player in band who was younger than me. He was probably one of the most talented musicians we ever produced in my small town. But did we produce his skills? Was he born with it? Neither. He listened. Constantly. This was before YouTube became as big as it is now. He obtained a massive box of CD's and tapes and such and spent countless hours with them, if I remember correctly.
I've spent around 3 1/2 months with this set of exercises on and off. It's been a journey. While I've focused on other things as well, these have been the real elephant in the room. They are brutal in their demands of sliding individual fingers up and down the string while mostly maintaining the frame of the hand. Accuracy is a beast, and I am still vehemently opposed to stickers.
But there came a point where it simply started to click, and I would have never reached that point without FOCUS: long-term, exacting focus. It's crucial to have the right technical concepts as well, but it's also so easy to try to move on to something different and more “advanced” much sooner than you're truly ready. I feel these exercises have paved the way for me to more-accurately approach chromatics in material I work on moving forward.