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Simon Fischer -- Practice

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Simon Fischer's Basics is no doubt one of the best violin instruction books available today. However, hardly anyone mentions his Practice, which contains 250 step-by-step practice methods. I am thinking about getting it, but don't know whether it overlaps with the Basics book. Has anyone used this Practice book before?

Thank you for your input in advance.


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Simon Fischer's "Practice" has 336 pages, 110 more than his "Basics." The Table of Contents is 4 pages of long (compared to 3 pages for Basics). The layout is more "flowing" I think and some of the technique photos seem similar to those in Basics, but are placed near the end of Practice instead of the beginning. THe musical examples come from the literature similar to the old Leopold Auer course books than the more "tutorial" examples in Basics.

I think my copy came from "offshore" and took a long time to get here (I think I bought it directly from Peters).


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  • 1 year later...

This is an old link but both Simon Fischer books (Basics and

Practice) are currently half price through the Strad/Orpheus site.

 Fischer also contributes monthly articles on exercises and

techniques to the Strad magazine if you want a sampling of his book


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At the risk of being controversial, these type of books gather dust on my shelf.

One can spend time reading up (not at the expense of hands-on lessons and/or practice) but IMHO, the exact cure to any ailment can only be provided by a suitable experienced teacher/mentor/colleague/peer.

My students struggle with specific bits of specific pieces, but the quickest cure is rarely (if ever) the same.

Not referring to any particular teacher......a collection of exercises developed from experience can have uses, but they are limited. Sorry.

Also, if you teach at one level of talent (i.e. gifted students whether beginner or potential soloist) one's view may be distorted.

I'd say you might get a better selection of ideas by asking here.

PS - anyone heard of Yury Zagorodnyuk. Just heard him play a solo in Tchaik Swan Lake......my, oh, my....I think heaven must have relocated to the mariinsky theatre!

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The Orpheus music shop (linked to the Strad magazine) is currently having 50% off their Basics and Practice till' the end of the month---though unfortunately they're out of stock at the moment.

I had a frustrating time ordering my Basics from them, placed my order two weeks before christmas, phoned up to check (after getting no replies to my e-mail) and was told my order would be shipped in a few days. A week later there was no news yet and i phoned up again and was told there wasn't any stock left!! I cancelled my order through the phone (and they confirmed my order was therefore cancelled) and i practically got my Basics elsewhere.

Interesting thing was about 3 weeks later i received an e-mail from them telling me that Basics was out of stock and and asked what i would like to do about my order...as if they had just begun to process my initial order from a month before!! Eeeeeeeek!!! (*pulls hair*)

Still waiting for them to order Practise in...at least the price is good....

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On another note...i kind of agree with technique_doc about the books in a way. I've been working with basics during the hols but one thing is i find that there's no way to make sure whether one is doing the exercises right; also because the instructions are descriptive it's kind of open to interpretation---the book would make an excellent companion if working with a teacher though.

I'm wondering should i drop the book and find out techniques that i'm comfortable with through my own trial-and-error? (maybe it's just me being too lazy to stick to the exercises...)

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there are two threads on this, so i am posting it both places!

Shar lists Basics and Practice both...i got my copy of Basics from

them, got it in a few days! unfortunately, Practice is out of stock

right now, but when it is available, you should be able to get it

with much less drama than from those other places!

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I have the same feel as technique_doc. Books have a lot of words. Words are

confusing. I like pictures. Pctures wll show you exactly what are involved. Unfortunately

we do not have slow motion pictures otherwiase it would be perfect. Violin technique instructions

I am talking about.

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Basics is a fabulously useful book. I have found Fischer's exercises to be clearly described and very helpful.

Live learning is best of course, but not all teachers have the sort of comprehensive data bank of solutions and exercises which a good library can provide.

The question of the usefulness of books comes up in lots of different areas of study, and there is always some debate. Learning from books is clearly not for everyone, but that's a personal characteristic and not a reflection on a particular book's usefulness as books go.

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Would it be possible for some expert violinist to make a companion

video to these two books, without copywrite infringement?  (or

perhaps with permission from the publisher?)  Such videos

would include a brief verbal explanation of what to do, and what

not to do, plus a quick clip of the expert playing the excercise.

 Perhaps a spit-screen could be employed, showing both hands

from the ideal angles.

I'd gladly pay good $$$$ for such a reference.

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The Practice book is currently out of stock at the Orpheus but they

will order it for you.

The price of the book is about 1 or 2 private lessons in this area.

I think that the book and lessons are complimentary and

do not believe one is exclusive of the other.  Private lessons

and individual teaching are a necessity.  I'm sure somebody

out there is self taught and quite good but that would be the

extreme rarity.  Private lessons address individual technique

problems and pace the student through the learning experience.

 A book, no matter how well intentioned, cannot do that.

 But a book, such as Simon Fischer's Basics and hopefully the

Practice book, can provide small tweaks and thinking during the

time between lessons.

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Forget about the 50%sale thing for those still contemplating Basics from Orpheus; got an e-mail today that says "Unfortunately when your order was placed it was only whilst stocks last. Now the item is out of stock we can only offer it to you at the full price. I apologise for the inconvenience caused and would like to offer you either 10% off the full price or a free poster of your choice (excludes P205)." 10% off is nothing much considering you'll be paying for postage anyway; and my order is now more than a month old!!! All the wait for nothing!! I'll get mine from the shops directly instead of running around in circles next time

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Same story on the Practice book.  The ridiculous part is that

the Orpheus web page still advertises the 1/2 price sale for both

books.  The Strad/Orpheus is a sponser of this forum and

produces a first class magazine and posters.  But their order

department is well known for taken weeks/months to deliver (at

least to the US) and now there doesn't seem to be connect between

stock and what is advertised on their web page.  Obviously not

up to very high standards.

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