When is one ready to start Flesch scales and Kreutzer etudes?
I was just wondering, honestly. Many people have told me so many different things on this particular topic. Is one ready to start Flesch scales and Kreutzer etudes after the completion of the Accolay no.1 and Bach A minor? Or do more repertoire or easier etudes need to be played first? I realize Flesch is a difficult system, is something like Advanced Scales for Violinists by Barbara Baker more appropriate?
"Flesch Scales" means a lot of different things. If you're just looking for fingered three-octave scales and arpeggios, then you can start them in earnest probably around the Suzuki Book 5 level. If you are going to do the entire "Scale Study" in Flesch, some parts of that are much higher level.
I have students do the Hrimaly scales first. Flesch can only be assigned when the student is comfortable with the higher positions (at least 5th). And I never have them do all the Flesch scales at the beginning-I start with just the basic scales and arpeggios. There's plenty of time to explore the double stops and other stuff later.
I also start with just the three-octave scales and arpeggios at first, once the student is comfortable with the higher positions. But honestly I prefer the fingerings in the Barbara Barber Scales for Advanced Violinists.
I did Hrimaly scales first too.
Hrimaly is a fun scale book! But to answer Ronit's question, if you can play Accolay and Bach A minor cleanly and with good tone then you definitely can start with Kreutzer and Flesch, in my opinion.
I started Flesch around the time of Suzuki book 6, but just the three-octave scales and arpeggios.
I started with Hrimaly scales when I was young and didn't work on Kreutzer until I finished Kayser and some of the Mazas Book 1. When I returned to violin after 20+ years hiatus, my teacher made me realize that I didn't learn Kreutzer or Kayser properly when I was a kid. So I started to work on Flesch scales right away to fix pretty much all the issues need to be fixed. Flesch is not an easy scale system. I was told by some teachers that it was written for accomplished violinists. Kreutzer can be used for accomplished violinists too. It really depends on how you are taught/self-taught to approach and work with them.
Everyone should check out Simon Fischer's relatively recent book "Scales", which is really excellent.
With young students that aren't ready for 3-octave scales, I use scale handouts that I have made.
3-octave scales are over-rated.
I think you have to really take a hard-nosed look at what you're going to learn from scales. And if you have a teacher, then you and your teacher actually have to agree on those outcomes. I remember having a part of a lesson on scales once where my teacher was only interested in the string changes, nothing else. Well there are much more concentrated studies for that than 3-octave scales. If you have the Fischer "Scales" book, you might actually learn more from the step-by-step exercises that he uses to build up the key elements and features of scale, than you do from the scales themselves.
There's Kreutzer and then there's Kreutzer. The first third or so of the book is not that hard; in fact, the first Kreutzer etudes are easier than the harder Kayser etudes. And then it gets very hard very quickly.
There are certainly a dozen or so Kreutzer etudes one could do before Mozart -- No's 2, 3, 4, 5 come to mind (going from memory)
@ lydia (who mentions it) or others: How does the Simon Fischer book "Scales" compare with Flesch's or other scales works?
I teach the early Kreutzers when the student is ready for them, and when we get to the ones that are beyond the student's current level, I take a side trip to other études-- Mazas and the easier Dont, maybe some Fiorillo.
@Mary Ellen -- certainly a good approach too, and I have done this in the past. Kreutzer spans so many "levels" of a theoretical syllabus, that it is unavoidable to be weaving in and out of it into other etudes at some stages.
Carlos, the Flesch book provides a "system" of scales with fingerings for all the keys. Each "system" includes some single-string scales, standard three-octave scales, arpeggios, a scale in broken thirds, then scales in actual sixths and thirds, octaves, and finally some wicked chords. I've left several things out but I can't think of what they are. Flesch does NOT teach you how you're supposed to approach or learn any of that -- it is presumed that your teacher will take care of that. Flesch also meant his scale book to accompany one of his other books, but I think a lot of teachers don't ask their students to read "The Art of Violin Playing." (My childhood teacher among them.)
What are your objectives with the Kreutzer etudes? If you can play the Accolay concerto with good tone, good detache and good string crossings then you don't need to spend much time on the first third of the Kreutzer studies as they develop those technical basics. If however you're hacking through the Accolay with poor control of tone, intonation and bowstroke then learning more repertoire will not solve those problems for you.
"The spirit was willing, but the Flesch was weak."
Thank you Paul. I have been going through many threads that ask the same question as this one. In them you (and others) praise the Fischer book. Then now my question would just be if you think that it is sufficient in itself for scales or if it would need any complement.
I think the for adult student, Fischer's book is probably best. His other books are great too, especially "Basics" and "The Violin Lesson."
Carlos, Fischer's Scales is great but it's incomplete as a scale book because it doesn't include double stops, which is addressed in his newer book
Thank you Yixi.
The Kreutzer etudes cover about 4 grade levels on one of those 10-grade lists. So you should over-lap working on Kreutzer with Mazas Op. 36, book 2, and/or Dont Op. 37. It's tempting for both the student and teacher to start Kreutzer too early.
Part of the purpose of Kreutzer 2 is to firm up hand position in first position, so starting that pretty early would be very helpful. Also, it gives you time to work through all of the bowing variations and even different fingers.
I've also heard the Kreutzer books advance quickly in difficulty.
Yeah but if you're talking about playing Bruch in the near future, then you need to advance quickly too! Your teacher needs to guide your selection of Kreutzers but you can always buy the book and thumb through it in your spare time. Nos. 2, 3, 5, 8, and 10 are not very hard. You can make sure of having a basis for Kreutzer by completing at least half of Mazas beforehand and all of Kayser.
Part of Kayser is way harder than the easier Kreutzer. If you played all of Kayser well then you will find the earlier Kreutzer to reemphasis of basic technique and that being where it’s challenge really lies.
Some Kreutzers are very easy, some are decidedly only for advanced students - so it's a broad range.
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