Over the years it has seemed to me that there are, in the case of many players, three basic, uncomplicated things they can do to become seriously better players. Here they are:
1) Learn the even numbered positions. If I could have a dollar for every player even up to and beyond intermediate level who is not comfortable in the even positions I would be able to
2) Learn to play at the heel.
Admittedly this may be a little different (but not really) for the Russian bowing school, but most people use Franco Belgian type these days and it`s never been an excuse anyway. My main teacher`s teacher, Albert Sammons said `Master the heel and you`ve mastered to bow.` He may have had a point. Don`t compromise! Move under the thumb. You are using six inches too short a bow. It`s just not good enough.
BTW the heel does not automatically equate with `loud.` Some of the most delicate , refined and musical touces can only be done at the heel or in the lower third of the bow, not faffing around at the point because that is supposed to be `the quiet part of the bow.`
Materials: Kreutzer no2 and the f major separate bows and various combinations. Sevcik bowing exercises. Casorti etc. Scales!
3) Handle your instrument like your loved one.
The way people handle instruments often makes me sick. A month back a semi professional player asked to try my violin and took it from me by the bouts leaving sticky fingers on the violin. I make a very harsh judgement about players based on this simple thing. If you can`t respect the beauty and elegance of your violin to the extent you are happy to smear oil on it you probably don`t have that last 0.1 percent of dedication necessary to be a pro. Respecting, indeed loving your instrunment is fundamental and it should be the first things teachers teach. In the same way I have amateur students who put expensive instruments on the floor, hang bows down so the point touches the ground while at the same time fumbling in their case for this weeks scores and my pay
Materials: half a brain, commonsense, respect and a teacher who insists on this from the beginning.