Is there still place for Sevcik

January 7, 2012 at 11:09 PM · Does Sevcik,Scale and Arpeggio book for violin still get used by violinists today, and is it of any value (my grandfather who is also my luthier seems to think so)?

I use Sevcik every day when I practise(those that I can play),I find it very usefull,but other violinists that I know do not seem to agree with me.

Please tell me what your views on the above is,as I am most probably one of the youngest violinist on this site.

Kind regards to you all

Stefan

Replies (27)

January 8, 2012 at 02:01 AM · Actually, Stefan, it looks like, on the current threads of discussion, that Parth is younger than you; he is in 7th grade, two or three years earlier than high school (depends on the area when that starts, 9th or 10th grade, right?) Not that that matters. Sevcik does!

January 8, 2012 at 03:05 AM · The youngest person I came across to have posted on v.com is 9 (Why do I even remember this stuff?! Help!) :

http://www.violinist.com/discussion/response.cfm?id=13926

But why does it matter? I mean age, not Sevcik.

January 8, 2012 at 02:21 PM · To some extent, pretty much any etude ever written has some use for someone. What I don't care for is a more-or-less mindless checklist of the various etudes and etude-composers. Think about the content of each etude you play and what it is designed to help with. It isn't always good use of time to play things over repeatedly that you have mastered, or that support your strengths without pushing you on your deficits. Sue

January 8, 2012 at 08:44 PM · Etudes and exercises that practice the fundamental basics of your playing (like the Sefcik) should never be abandoned, because the basics are the core of your playing, and if they are flawed, everything is flawed. Even if they are not, they can constantly be improved. It is also very important to practice basic exercises as you grow and age so that you can adapt your technique to your changing body. Sefcik's exercises are very good for left hand intionation, especially the "Shifting the Position" book. Yes, you should definately keep it and practice it until old age (I'm a university student and I still do Sefcik exercises and slow scales) the basics are the most important things to consider when practicing.

January 9, 2012 at 02:39 AM · Stefan - I've just started Sevcik Op3. Its actually fun! I didn't think I would ever say that about any study but this is like playing with puzzles... Must admit though that the others that I've tried are more like Hard Work...

January 23, 2012 at 04:04 PM · Kreutzer's Etudes are real compositions with periods, modulations, cadences etc.

Flesch's Urst├╝dien are fundamental drills to be repeated many times.

Sevcik is in between: pleasant themes with hundreds of variations, some musical, others not.

Whichever type suits you, it is vital to practice with total awareness, frequent pauses for self-evaluation, and knowing when to stop. I find the best way to avoid deadening the mind (and the fingers!) is to keep the ears open at all times for tonal changes - for better or worse!

Concentrating on tone rather than musical content or muscular movements is perhaps the best way to ensure technical progress.

January 24, 2012 at 06:39 AM · I think there must be something wrong with me...

I enjoy practicing Sevcik. I actually can spend hours at a time on Sevcik (obsessively). I imagine that the people who love puzzles or the mathematicians who come up with strange problems for the joy of solving them must get the same sort of pleasure from that as I do from Sevcik.

But I actually feel that they do little for me despite the many hours I've spent practicing them. Not nothing, but I used to look forward to breaks when I could shelve Sevcik and practice Kreutzer as I felt that the later was actually doing (much) more for my technique =|

I almost think of them as theoretical works on how to play the violin and how to practice difficult passages more than as exercises (except maybe the shifting one).

I think Flesch was right to say do very little but every day and keep track of what you've done, at least for people like me. I also think practicing Sevcik mindlessly is almost worse than nothing at all (the same with Dounis)

January 24, 2012 at 03:55 PM · There was this violinist who started at the age of 6. His teacher told him that if he played through every exercise devised by Sevcik he would be a great violin soloist. At the age of 94 he only has a few more left to do.

January 24, 2012 at 04:45 PM · Sevcik exercises are as dry as can be, but they do lay an important foundation. They may be a little less fashionable in an age where teaching comes through pieces, a la Suzuki, but they are worth the effort. That said, I appreciate them now in middle age much more than I did as a kid. They're kind of the Brussels sprouts of violin literature.

January 24, 2012 at 06:08 PM · Lisa wrote: "They're kind of the Brussels sprouts of violin literature"

ROFL!

Then scales must be the cod liver oil.. gag...

January 24, 2012 at 06:25 PM · Not sure it helped my playing much. Then again, I'm not much of a scales guy either. Practicing efficiently and carefully is the best approach, IMO. Mindless repetition, even if well intentioned takes precious time away from the music-- and drives you and your neighbors crazy!

Better to learn from Doflein, Bang, Kreutzer etc and make music at the same time.

January 24, 2012 at 07:40 PM · Evan: I guess you never looked at Op3. Its great bow work - and also musical. I'm actually enjoying it.

Though I may be going weird because I'm enjoying op8, shifting too, they are great puzzles..

January 24, 2012 at 08:22 PM · I don't know, Evan. Opus 8 is nothing but mindless repetition, but that's the only way to make sure your 3rd to 6th position shift on the G string is there when you need it. Right, Elise?

January 24, 2012 at 08:42 PM · I don't know yet - I just started finished the single position shift excercises (what a way to improve your fingerboard knowledge!!) and started the 2 position shifts!

January 24, 2012 at 10:22 PM · Greetings,

Elise,

I would really highly endorse the choices you have made re sevcik. I have many years experience /suffering with all his works including a teacher at the RCM who swore by them. From this traumatized life I really do feel -very worthwhilke- sevcik is the shifting exercises (very , very useful) and the opus 2 and 3 bowing exercises. It is importnat to do both 2 and 3 in tandem. One is wrist oriented and the other arm training. It is not absoluitely necessray to do all of them unless you are a masochist but working on hundreds of annoying exercise sat the heel (in small doses9 combines with those extremely fast long bows in the other exericses is just wonderful.

Happy hunting.

Buri

January 24, 2012 at 10:27 PM · My Suzuki teacher has me working in Op.3 and I find it very useful.

January 25, 2012 at 01:30 AM · heck, the spelling is almost the same...

January 25, 2012 at 02:00 AM · I actually like the op. 1 book 4 double stops. The "how to practice on" concertos is good to look at. He tries to get at the ur or the foundation of problems. You can get them at imslp.

January 25, 2012 at 04:27 PM · Dr. Berg wrote:

He tries to get at the ur or the foundation of problems.

Yes, exactly. That's why it might be interesting to try and find out the principles he is working from: why are the exercises the way they are? Meta-Sevcik, as it were. Though I suspect one might end up with a subset of Basics, or Practice.

January 25, 2012 at 05:01 PM · I guess that it would be the other way round ;)

January 25, 2012 at 07:21 PM · er, what?

To ur is human.

Cheers,

buri

January 25, 2012 at 08:04 PM · I thought the new incarnation was:

to url: is human...

January 25, 2012 at 08:20 PM · To 'url means you've got the Vesuvian stomach flu.

January 26, 2012 at 08:50 PM · Nah, to Ur is original

January 26, 2012 at 11:29 PM · Hence the name bURi

Cheers,

BurI

January 27, 2012 at 05:42 AM · Sevcik and ├ętudes pre-suppose that you know how to hold the violin and form the shape of the hand, how to contact the string and how to move the hand in changes of position. If one doesn't have appropriate guidance in these issues (and more) then neither sevcik nor an etude will help that much. If you do have that guidance then Sevcik and etudes are the practical way of exercising and extending those basic techniques and solving specific problems.

January 27, 2012 at 09:07 AM · All exercises are valuable if they aim a specific problem. Criticism about Sevcik method mainly stem from the intensive and exclusive usage advocated by some school at the musicality's expense

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