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janieb
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: Some of my Suzuki students want to branch out of the traditional Suzuki literature. My teaching experience so far has been only Suzuki. What are some other books/pieces that are comparable in skill level to Suzuki Book 1? 2? 3? Thanks for your help.

i like strictly strings

mike

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: Some of my Suzuki students want to branch out of the traditional Suzuki literature. My teaching experience so far has been only Suzuki. What are some other books/pieces that are comparable in skill level to Suzuki Book 1? 2? 3? Thanks for your help.

Once I discovered Suzuki, around 1980 or so, I only used it for teaching - but I had never actually started a student from "zero."

I wish Suzuki had been there when I studied over 50 years ago.

WIth my granddaughter - my only student now - who is in Suzuki book 3, I am supplementing with Kreutzer and Dancla etudes.

I base the supplements I select on what I believe she needs to improve her playing.

I chose these studies at a music store, rather than from my own collection of methods and etudes becuase I wanted the widest variety to choose from.

I have found Suzuki to be graded set of "pieces" so well chosen that for may students, they seem to provide the needed "exercises" as well - if supplemented with some scales.

However, Any technical problems can often be overcome by selecting from the literature of studies on up to Dont and Paganini Caprices (as students advance).

If your want a wider selection of fun pieces for the kids, because they are not moving through Suzuki fast enough - that is another problem, one that I probably don't agree with.

Andy

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: : Some of my Suzuki students want to branch out of the traditional Suzuki literature. My teaching experience so far has been only Suzuki. What are some other books/pieces that are comparable in skill level to Suzuki Book 1? 2? 3? Thanks for your help.

: Once I discovered Suzuki, around 1980 or so, I only used it for teaching - but I had never actually started a student from "zero."

: I wish Suzuki had been there when I studied over 50 years ago.

: WIth my granddaughter - my only student now - who is in Suzuki book 3, I am supplementing with Kreutzer and Dancla etudes.

: I base the supplements I select on what I believe she needs to improve her playing.

: I chose these studies at a music store, rather than from my own collection of methods and etudes becuase I wanted the widest variety to choose from.

: I have found Suzuki to be graded set of "pieces" so well chosen that for may students, they seem to provide the needed "exercises" as well - if supplemented with some scales.

: However, Any technical problems can often be overcome by selecting from the literature of studies on up to Dont and Paganini Caprices (as students advance).

: If your want a wider selection of fun pieces for the kids, because they are not moving through Suzuki fast enough - that is another problem, one that I probably don't agree with.

: Andy

Thanks, Andy. I, too wish Suzuki had been around when I was learning. I would be a much better player than I am. You are exactly right -- the pieces are "graded" and organized to present the skills needed in an incremental way. I have 1 student who is an excellent player, but she gets bored easily. For her, I would like to offer other music to play that would present similar skills, or reinforce those she has already learned. I have a few others who really need more reinforcement on some skills than Suzuki offers. Again, the American mindset - we get bored too easily. Some of the parents in my studio want literature outside of the "traditional", because at recitals, they don't like the pigeonholing that can come from sticking with the pieces. I can understand that feeling, because I'm something of a maverick myself.

I envy your granddaughter that she has such a knowledgeable and interesting teacher. Thanks for the advice.

Janie

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: : Some of my Suzuki students want to branch out of the traditional Suzuki literature. My teaching experience so far has been only Suzuki. What are some other books/pieces that are comparable in skill level to Suzuki Book 1? 2? 3? Thanks for your help.

: i like strictly strings

: mike

I have no experience with Strictly Strings. What is it that you find valuable? I would love to know why you like this collection. Do you teach? How do you use the book? My youngest daughter ls learning to play the flute with a non-Suzuki teacher. They use Essential Elements. Their agenda is to cover a page per lesson, or as close to that as possible. Is that how Strictly Strings works?

Thanks!

Janie

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: : : Some of my Suzuki students want to branch out of the traditional Suzuki literature. My teaching experience so far has been only Suzuki. What are some other books/pieces that are comparable in skill level to Suzuki Book 1? 2? 3? Thanks for your help.

: : i like strictly strings

: : mike

: I have no experience with Strictly Strings. What is it that you find valuable? I would love to know why you like this collection. Do you teach? How do you use the book? My youngest daughter ls learning to play the flute with a non-Suzuki teacher. They use Essential Elements. Their agenda is to cover a page per lesson, or as close to that as possible. Is that how Strictly Strings works?

: Thanks!

: Janie

janie,

since i am new to playing the violin, yet an adult (i do play the double bass), i had to start from the begining with a teacher that usually works with kids. my mother-in-law has been astrings teacher in the public school system for 30 years, and she provided me with one of every book 1 that she could come up with (about 10 methods in all). i spent the next several months trying each one to see what was easiest, and yet explained essential things about reading music, and proper technique. of all the books (suzuki was part of it), i found the strictly strings series to be the most straightforward. they deal more with reading notes on open strings, and staff notations etc. than suzuki, which for me was good because i have spent most of my life playing by ear. i listen to classical music mainly, but i have played in swing, blues, and jazz bands for the last 20 years. it was important to me that i learn things properly, and not just compensate for things by ear.

the strictly strings series is thorough, without being too redundant, and what i found most striking was that it made sense. so many of the methods/books are just downright confusing (which i would imagine makes it more difficult for the teacher).

when i attended my first lesson, i asked the teacher what book she wanted me to work with. she had two recommendations: strictly strings, and all for strings. i stuck with strictly strings, although i do like the all for strings etudes book.

i am well aware that these other people have the experience to give you the right information in these matters, but from a students' standpoint, clarity is very important.

mike

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If these students are bored because they can play the lessons well, could you move them faster until they reach a plateau?

How well this will work will depend upon how old they are.

In my misspent teen years, with no teacher, I "read through the standard violin concertos." I never learned to play them well because I never practiced fingerings carefully. Each time I played them I played them the way I felt. I note even today absolutely no finger notations in my worn out music.

While I did not learn to be a great violinist, I learned to be a great "reader" one of the best I have met (he said modestly).

One is never bored reading new music. So you could set some pieces up for your students to "read."

In those same years I was studying cello with a teacher, and there were some weeks (like when I learned to do the off- the string staccato double stop string crossing passages in the Haydn D-major) that I only covered 2 lines - plus pages of exercises.

Andy

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: If these students are bored because they can play the lessons well, could you move them faster until they reach a plateau?

: How well this will work will depend upon how old they are.

: In my misspent teen years, with no teacher, I "read through the standard violin concertos." I never learned to play them well because I never practiced fingerings carefully. Each time I played them I played them the way I felt. I note even today absolutely no finger notations in my worn out music.

: While I did not learn to be a great violinist, I learned to be a great "reader" one of the best I have met (he said modestly).

: One is never bored reading new music. So you could set some pieces up for your students to "read."

: In those same years I was studying cello with a teacher, and there were some weeks (like when I learned to do the off- the string staccato double stop string crossing passages in the Haydn D-major) that I only covered 2 lines - plus pages of exercises.

: Andy

Thanks, Andy. Good plan. Sounds like you and I had the same teacher. . .

Janie

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: : : : Some of my Suzuki students want to branch out of the traditional Suzuki literature. My teaching experience so far has been only Suzuki. What are some other books/pieces that are comparable in skill level to Suzuki Book 1? 2? 3? Thanks for your help.

Thanks mike. I learned to read music when I was only 4. I can't remember not knowing how. Therefore, I am not good at teaching to read music. I find that the things I teach best are the things that were the hardest for me to learn. I like hearing from the student's point of view. I'll try it.

Janie

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Concrete suggestions:

Disclaimer: I'm the mom of two string players, not a string teacher or a Suzuki teacher, although I have taught lessons in flute and have advanced musical training.

My opinion is that some students are content to refine the same things over and over, but some are not. The idea is NOT to get bored and to quit. Why can't these students find legitimate enjoyment by covering a broader selection of pieces that is provided in the Suzuki book? There's a lot of other good music out there. My daughter (violin) used the Suzuki books as material, but not exclusively, and her teachers have not been Suzuki Method teachers. (At 17 she plays extremely well.) My son took cello Suzuki from a trained Suzuki teacher, and he isn't a type of student that strives for a high level of perfection. He would possibly have been better served by using supplementary pieces, because his motivation is very short-term. All students do not have to go on to perform at high levels, but it is important to maintain their enjoyment and interest. I don't feel a narrow selection of pieces does this well. As for listening, it is imperitive no matter what method is used. The teacher should be able to perform the pieces for the students. If recording of the particular pieces are not available, at least get a few recordings that show the tone of the violin. A student cannot make a sound that he or she has no concept of.

Also, from the viewpoint of an observer, is it wise for all these Suzuki students to compare themselves by what book or piece they are studying? Competition can be useful, but it can also be cruel. The ultimate goal, hopefully, is for the student to find enjoyment. Studying a variety of pieces might be more satisfactory for some students. Each student progresses at an individual pace regardless of the uniformity of material. I find it hard to believe that the same thing is good for everyone no matter what their age, physiology, or dedication. Comments?

Check the "Royal Conservatory of Music" (Toronto) Syllabus for suggestions of repertoire from Baroque, Classic, Romantic, and 20th Century composers. You can buy this list for violin at Shar or SW Strings, among others.

Don't forget these 20th century originals:

Dimitri Kabalevsky: Twenty Pieces for Violin and Piano, Op. 80

Students ALWAYS love playing duets. Duet-playing is a good chance for your students to hear you play, to hear a tone they can try to immitate. Eventually, music becomes a team sport as the students enter orchestras and begin playing chamber music.

E. Schmidt, ed.: Christmas Duets for Violins (also can be bought as compatible viola duets and cello duets.)

And Twenty Triolets, ed. McSpadden, for violin, cello, and piano (piano trio.) These are easy arrangements.

Good luck,

Ann Brown

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