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Violin Pedagogy: How Did They Learn?

By Dr. Robin Kay Deverich

Selected Chronological List of Traditional Violin Instructional Material

1751

Geminiani. The Art of Playing on the Violin. London.

1756

Mozart, Leopold. A Treatise on the Fundamental Principles of Violin Playing. Ausburg.

1756

Tartini.L'arte del arco. Paris.

1761

L'abbe le fils. Principes du violon. Paris.

1771

Tartini.Traite des agremens. Paris.

1782

Corrette. L'Art de se perfectionner dans le violon. Paris.

1791

Galeazzi. Elementi teorico-pratici. Rome.

1796

Kreutzer. 42 ├ętudes ou caprices.

1798

Cartier. L'Art du violon. Paris.

1798

Woldemar, Michel. Methode pourl e violon. Paris.

1800

Gavinies. Les vingt-quatre matinees. Paris.

1803

Baillot, Rode and Kreutzer. Methode de violon. Paris.

c1800s

Fiorillo. Etudes de violon formant 36 caprices. Vienna.

c1815

Rode. 24 caprices enforme d'etudes. Berlin.

1820

Paganini. 24 capricci. Milan.

1824

Campagnoli. Nouvelle methode de la mecanique progressive du jeu de violon, op. 21. Leipzig.

1832

Spohr. Violinschule. Vienna.

1834

Baillot. L'Art du violon. Paris.

1844

Alard. Ecole du violon. Paris.

1850

Dont. Etudes for the violin.

1854

Wieniawski. L'ecole moderne, op. 10. Lepizig.

1855

Dancla. Methode elementaire.

1858

de Beriot. Methode de violon, op. 102. Paris.

1864

David. Violinschule. Leipzig.

1867

Kayser. 36 Studies for violin, op. 20.

1873

Courvoisier. The technics of violin playing.

1875

Schradieck. School of violin-technics.

1880

Mazas. 75 Etudes melodiques et progressives pour violon, op. 36. Brunswick.

1881

Sevcik. Schule der Violintechnik, op. 1. Prague.

1895

Sevcik. Schule der Bogentechnik, op. 2. Leipzig.

1902-5

Joachim and Moser. Violinschule. 3 vols. Berlin.

1916

Capet. La Technique superieure de l'archet. Paris .

1921

Auer. Violin Playing as I Teach It. New York.

1923-8

Flesch. Die Kunst des Violin-Spiels. Berlin.

1941

Dounis. New aids to Technical Development, op. 27. London.

1962

Galamian. Principles of Violin Playing and Teaching. Englewood Cliffs, NJ.

1963

Galamian and Neumann. Contemporary Violin Technique. New York.

1961

Havas, Kato. A New Approach to Violin Playing. London.

1964

Havas, Kato. The Twelve Lesson Course in a New approach to Violin Playing. London.

1969

Suzuki, Shinichi. Nurtured by Love. New York.

1970

Suzuki violin school. Princeton, New Jersey.

1971

Menuhin. Six Lessons with Yehudi Menuhin. London.

1971

Rolland, Paul. Prelude to String Playing. New York.

1974

Rolland, Paul. The Teaching of Action in String Playing. New York.

1981

Havas, Kato and Jerome Landsman. Freedom to play: A string class teaching method. New York.

1986

Menuhin. The Compleat Violinist: Thoughts, Exercises, Reflections of an Itinerant Violinist. New York.

It should be noted that two string pedagogues listed above, Paul Rolland and Shinichi Suzuki, have also exerted an influence on many contemporary amateur string players. Rolland pioneered new concepts regarding freedom of motion in violin playing as demonstrated in The Teaching of Action in String Playing, a University of Illinois String Teaching Research Project. Rolland produced seventeen demonstration films that correlated with his method book Prelude to String Playing , and many string educators have utilized his theories in teaching strings.

Suzuki's methodology, also referred to as Talent Education, is centered around the "mother-tongue method," defined by Suzuki in the following terms:

Talent Education has realized that all children in the world show their splendid capacities by speaking and understanding their mother language, thus displaying the original power of the human mind. Is it not probably that this mother language method holds the key to human development? Talent Education has applied this method to the teaching of music: children, taken without previous aptitude or intelligence tests of any kind, have almost without exception made great progress.[32] 

Key elements of Suzuki's Talent Education include:

  1. The philosophy that all children can be educated through the proper environment, and that environmental factors are more important in the musical growth of a child than so-called talent.

  2. Listening is emphasized, and students are encouraged to frequently listen to recordings of music they are learning.

  3. Parents are active participants in the student's learning process

  4. Students begin lessons at an early age, sometimes as young as two.

  5. Students learn to play by rote.

  6. Each piece is memorized, even after reading music has commenced.

  7. Technique is learned through the repertoire found in Suzuki's music books.

  8. Teachers are encouraged to use physical activity games to free the body from tensions.

  9. Frequent performances are encouraged.

  10. Teachers emphasize proper posture, good sound production, and secure intonation.[33]

A 1996 article cited the following statistics regarding the number of Suzuki pupils in America: "More than 5,000 teachers belong to the SAA [Suzuki Association of the Americas] and use Suzuki's philosophy and methodology with more than 150,000 students." [34]


REFERENCE NOTES

[32]
Kendall, J. "Suzuki's Mother Tongue Method," Music Educators Journal, 1986: 49.

[33]
Landers, R. The Talent Education School of Shinichi Suzuki-An Analysis. New York: Exposition Press, 1984.

[34]
Starr, Kathleen. "Suzuki Association of the Americas," American String Teacher. Summer 1996: 31.

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