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My Teaching Synthesis for Violin Beginners

Based on teacher training from the perspectives of Mimi Zweig (Suzuki/Rolland synthesis) and Mark O’Connor (American music with Suzuki-style progression), plus study of standard pedagogy reference works by Ivan Galamian and Simon Fischer (Dorothy Delay’s methods), and experience using a variety of method and repertoire books, I have settled on a standardized progression of study for beginners through ASTA Level 4/Suzuki Book 4 (Early Intermediate).

My approach to teaching emphasizes music-reading from the very beginning (unlike the Suzuki and O’Connor Methods) but also incorporates longer solo pieces sooner than strings-class method books like All for Strings or Essential Elements which do teach music-reading. I prefer teaching materials with demo recordings, which is why the Oxford University-published “Fiddle Time” series is one of my favorites for younger students. From my recent intensive teacher training with Mimi Zweig, I received great resources for using scales and technical exercises at the earliest stages of learning. For current students, adding systematic scales and exercises at each level will provide a more well-balanced approach to their violin learning.

Each level consists of specific teaching materials in these categories:

MethodMusic-reading skills, short teaching tunes
Technique Exercises for training the muscles in the physical setup and motions for playing the violin
ScalesCombines music-reading skills with technique to learn foundational building blocks of music composition
TheoryApplied music-reading information and written exercises
RepertoireMusical pieces in which the knowledge gained in the other 4 categories is applied, along with expression and interpretation

Most young piano students use a coordinated book series with one book for each component from the same publisher. But there are no published violin materials that integrate all these components from the same source. So I have selected a combination of materials based on student age and prior experience to be used for teaching at each level. Each weekly lesson assignment will include something from every category.

Here are the titles of the books used through Level 4, also listed on the Bookstore page for purchase links:

A Tune A Day Beginning Scales (Violin)
All for Strings Theory Workbook for Violin – Book 1, Book 2
All for Strings Violin Book 1, Book 2, Book 3
Essential Elements for Violin – Book 1, Book 2
Essentials for Strings – Violin
First Solos from the Classics
Fiddle Magic
Fiddle Time Joggers – Runners – Sprinters (Books 1, 2 and 3)
Fiddle Time Scales – Violin – Book 1, Book 2
Introducing the Positions – Violin – Book 1
Mark O’Connor Violin Method – Book 1-Book 3
Solos for Young Violinists – Book 1-Book 3
Spotlight on Strings – Violin – Book 1, Book 2
Suzuki Violin School Book 1–Book 4
The Doflein Method – Violin – Book 1, Book 2
Theory for Everyone – Violin – Book 1, Book 2
Wohlfahrt Foundation Studies for the Violin (Rachel Barton Pine ed.) – Book 1, Book 2