After Suzuki....Then What?

October 16, 2011 at 06:38 PM ·

Hello All,

First post here. Just wondering after completion of the Suzuki books, what are some other avenues that one could take to continually keep reaching toward the next level in violin playing? I've heard some Sevcik books are nice, but I'm pretty unaware of any "lesson plans" that continue where Suzuki Vol. 10 leaves off.

Replies (20)

October 16, 2011 at 09:13 PM ·

My take on this is that until a student can play the concertos in Suzuki #9 and #10 at performance standard* on stage in front of an audience then he is not really ready to progress further. If he can indeed do these performances (bearing in mind that Mozart 4 and 5 are way above the level of student concertos) then he is certainly ready to progress. I would suggest  Mendelssohn and Bruch #1 to begin with.
* My understanding of "performance standard", which my teacher has instilled into me, is:  would you like someone to hear it being broadcast live on the radio?

October 16, 2011 at 09:28 PM ·

If remedial work is needed I use Barbara Barber's Solos for Young Violinists Series

If no rememdial work is needed (see the previous post) I proceed through a combo. of Bach's Solo Sonatas & Partitas along with a concerto from Dorothy Delay's Concerto Sequence list. 3 Octave Scales, Mazas Etudes, Amy Barlowe's etudes and Kreutzer Etudes

Smiles! Diane

October 17, 2011 at 03:28 AM ·

Many thanks for the input!

October 17, 2011 at 04:19 AM ·

Prior to books 9 and 10, any competent teacher will have already started introducing supporting material in the forms of scales and etudes to support the ongoing development of a violin student.

In addition to scales (Hrimaly, Flesch, and Barber are popular options), there are also exercises and etudes by Sevick, Schradiek, Kayser, Mazas, Trott, and Kreutzer among many others that are invaluable in developing the skills necessary to play the Mozart concertos at a high level.

Furthermore, they shouldn't be limited by the repertoire present in the books, but should definitely explore the offerings in Barber's Solos for the Young Violinist series, and similar (Dancla, Viotti, Reiding, de Beriot, Accolay, etc.).

October 17, 2011 at 04:38 AM ·

umm..i dono about others but yea. I started with scales and studies things like

Kayers studies and mazzas. There was also a scale book that Idon't remember and then

there's Carl Flesh's scales. I did some Suzuki but I think you will be a better violinist

if your basics are solid. I guess work on some basic scales n studies til when you

are ready, you can start playing pieces you like

October 17, 2011 at 11:47 AM ·

One of my teachers had me do Hrimaly scales because he thought that Flesch was too complex at that point.  Sevcik and Dancla are good.

October 17, 2011 at 11:58 AM ·

You guys are awesome. Thank you so much.

October 17, 2011 at 08:10 PM ·

I agree that the Flesch scale system book gets very hard right away, and Hrimaly is a good stepstone to that.  Someone said that Kreutzer will help you improve your technique to the point where you can play Mozart 4 and 5 to "performance standard."  Remember that you've got to play Kreutzer to a very good standard too, otherwise you're not really developing what the exercises intend.

October 18, 2011 at 10:42 AM ·

Start etudes before you finish Suzuki. I know that my opinion of the Suzuki method is not a very popular one on this forum but hear me out on the last two books at least. The editions of Mozart 4 and 5 in Suzuki are not good. Considering that's basically all the last two books are, just get yourself a real edition of Mozart 4 and 5. You need to have Sevcik op. 8 for shifting and I'd start that ASAP. After Mozart 4 and 5 you need to consult with your teacher on how best to climb the ladder of concerti. I recommend Kabalevsky C Major after Mozart. Then you can move into the Romantic concerto rep gradually, but get yourself on a solid path with the standard etude progression. That is absolutely vital. And scales of course. Every good violinist I ever met had a healthy daily scale routine. I don't think it's a coincidence.

October 18, 2011 at 11:07 AM ·

Thank you all for the wonderful replies.  While being immersed exclusively in Suzuki throughout  my violin training, I've picked other books over time by Sevcik, Kayser, Wohlfahrt and Kreutzer (so far) that I'm going to try to incorporate as well. I have an excellent teacher and I'm certain she'll be on board for that. As a guitarist also, I'm certainly aware of the importance of scales, modes, arpeggios, intervallic studies, etc.

October 18, 2011 at 11:29 AM ·

Michael, I daresay we could both be unpopular here, because I agree with you about Suzuki. I have had friends who taught it, and I could never discuss it with them because it would have upset them. My opinion of it is zero I'm afraid.

October 18, 2011 at 11:45 AM ·

 i assume op has a teacher.  if not, this thread can be quite helpful.

i think what is coming up next if you have a good teacher can be so flexible.  with a good teacher,  the same piece of music can be marked differently and learned in a different way.  that applies to suzuki scores or others.  you don't have to follow every little denotations on the paper...

so whether you should follow the mainstream sequences is up to your teacher's vision of your development and then, you.

October 19, 2011 at 12:25 AM ·

My teacher has been teaching violin/viola for about 12 years now, and it's easy to sense that she does have vision for her more serious students, as well as instructing/evaluating them according to their potential. As her students get more motivated about certain things, she does as well, as any teacher would, I suppose.

October 19, 2011 at 01:13 PM ·

 i don't mean to question your teacher,  james; even if you have made some info available, because there is no way to tell the true interaction between the two of you and your way of learning and playing.

i am curious by something you have stated and perhaps you can clarify.  in your initial post, you kinda ask where to go after suzuki 10.

I am not clear whether that is all you have done, that is, 1,2,3.....all the way to 10?

not that my kid's education is by any mean suggestive in any way.  i remember after book 2 or 3, she started on some other pieces.  I did not remember buying more suzuki books after that.  


October 19, 2011 at 02:42 PM ·

I have Suzuki teacher-training, and have used the books extensively, but I do not buy into those in the Suzuki world who track straight through the volumes and press students to use the recordings indefinitely. Some of the books don't seem to be organized all that sequentially, so I hop around. I prefer to use much of Book 6 before Book 5; way too much Vivaldi w/Book 4 then 5. There are some pieces I elect not to teach. A number of Suzuki folks I know teach either Book 9 or Book 10. I very much want my students to experience composers, eras & genres that never turn up in the Suzuki books, so I add liberally to literature no later than Book 3. I add more scales and arpeggios from the outset, note-reading & theory based more on student's age than Suzuki advancement, shifting exercises in advance of pieces w/shifts marked, etc. There are Suzuki publications which are seldom used: the shifting book, harmony books and Home Concert. A combination of too much emphasis on advancing through the series as a sign of progress and limitations in how those books are designed, imo. This is my long answer to the short question: use Suzuki books and especially Suzuki philosophy for its' strong points, and include many things towards a more rounded music education. Sue 

October 19, 2011 at 03:59 PM ·

I want to follow up on what Sue said, with which I agree entirely.  Progress is not about what book a student is in.  It's about learning to play the violin properly, so that one can play the next harder thing with less effort in practice, and to play it with increasing technical accuracy and musicality.

That said, I think everyone acknowledges that the Suzuki system is a framework that can and should be fleshed out with a variety of supplemental assignments for the student. 

I'm of two minds on listening to the CDs endlessly.  On the one hand, why listen to Humoresque on the Suzuki CD when one can listen to Isaac Stern playing the unabridged version?  Why listen to Bourree (end of Book 3) on the violin CD when you can listen to Rostropovich play it unaccompanied on the cello?  On the other hand, our five-year-old, who just started cello lessons several months ago, can hum most of the tunes her sister is learning (violin book 4), simply because she's heard them played so many times.  That can't be anything but good.

October 20, 2011 at 05:28 AM ·

 Thank you Peter, I'm glad I'm not the only one. 

October 20, 2011 at 05:58 AM ·

I was one of the "serious" students  so my teacher pushed me a lot and so did I.

that was the only reason I started Carl Flesh pretty early. didn't really stick with Suzuki for long.

I do agree that Suzuki method is acceptable if you are doing it for fun but if you want to advance,

it has no substantial value

October 20, 2011 at 10:54 AM ·

With regards to Al Ku's question, my teacher has taken me exclusively through Suzuki. Not that I'm at books 9 & 10 yet,  but I know enough to realize that one violin method is not the "end-all-be-all" in terms of becoming a competent violinist. That's what prompted my initial post in trying to incorporate different methods into either class or my personal regimen or both.

October 20, 2011 at 12:00 PM ·

 i see.  i think every teacher has his/her own way of using the materials out there.  as i said earlier, even with the same materials, same particular piece, a teacher can instruct the student to play it in many ways, to reach certain objectives.  having said that, the teachers here have given the bread and butter basic training books that a serious student must go through, at one time or another, at the teachers' discretion.  

as long as you have confidence in your teacher and really do what the teacher asks of you, you will be fine!

often i see people complaining about teachers/approaches when in fact they have not really given their own best effort.

good luck!

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