Suzuki Book 1 guide

October 4, 2014 at 04:16 PM · Hello,

I'm starting out on my own on the violin after a two year stint in Indian carnatic style of playing the violin... I really dont have any teacher in sight so using the usual online free tutors(Ehle masterclass, violin lab,etc) I'm starting out with the suzuki book 1...

It'd be really nice if there was a guide or something that'd tell which kind of bow strokes and what new concepts must be learned at each lesson..But i searched the net, and didn't find it. Please give me a basic plan as to what I should at each lesson so that I can learn something new at each point. Also, as I don't have an instructor and am learning on my own, i'd love advice on avoiding injuries and other unhealthy postures related to the initial holding trials. Thank you so much!

Replies (26)

October 4, 2014 at 04:52 PM · once learned by myself , i bought alot of learning material like carl flesch book , simon fischer basic and alot of stuff . But in the end i gave up because there were no direction and instruction to follow , dont know what to practice and how to do it . so try to get a teacher if possible .

October 4, 2014 at 04:57 PM · As usual:


It will help you more than you can imagine.

Other than that, scour YouTube for helpful videos.

This is a useful series of videos

October 4, 2014 at 09:39 PM · If you can't find a teacher in your area to start you off, you may want to check out my school at ArtistWorks. As some readers here will know, I recently added a beginner curriculum there because of so many violinists like you: adult beginners who needed to see and hear the basic bow strokes, etc. I didn't record the Suzuki songs, but I grew up Suzuki so I'm very familiar with them! The school is not free but you could certainly give it a look. Good luck!

October 5, 2014 at 07:13 AM · Hey people, thanks for the advice but I really can't find a western classical teacher here and just so that it sets the stage here , I can play the violin; in fact I gave a performance but that's in indian classical music.. And I am not very old. barely 20. So, I can produce a decent sound on the instrument in any position, and I have been practising the standing violin hold position for the last two weeks and I haven't found it uncomfortable at all, and the bow hold I've used it during my indian lessons with an instructor for 2 years... and I can implement pressure-speed variations on the bow, can play upto 300 bpm with a note per beat..and I can with some difficulty play one octave on one string(mostly E) completely with a medium speed. So can i still learn with the online resources?? I'll try.. but again i need a mapping from the suzuki book 1 material to violin concepts that are to be learnt from there! Thankyou again, people... And I'm not at all in a position to spend any money on online tutoring so yeah.. But still thankyou.

Also, How is this resource on youtube

October 5, 2014 at 09:12 AM · "The Suzuki Violinist" by William Starr has a piece by piece analysis of Book 1.

The method is extremely well-structured.

Designed for (very) small children, the gestures chosen are somewhat "robotic": short notes, varied rythms, few different tonalities, an emphasis on the precise preparation of each note, or short group of notes, plus a seeking of deep, resonant tone right from the beginning. Far from the continuum of your fabulous Hindu and Carnatic styles!

Indeed I maintain that 2/3 of violin technique is between the notes: what we hear is the tip of the iceberg.

October 5, 2014 at 10:49 AM · If you are short of funds for a teacher, you should still be able to get a couple of books. The Suzuki Violinist by William Starr was already mentioned, that will give you methodical advice for each piece building skills one upon another. You should also buy Step by Step by Kerstin Wartberg, unlike classical Suzuki Book, it contains preparatory exercises and useful notes. In combination with The Suzuki violinist it gives you enough input. The third book is The Fingerboard Geography for Violin by Barbara Barber, that is technique and preparatory exercises for Suzuki repertoire. You can find a lot of information online on youtube, for great recordings search for a user nuzpudash - suzuki recordings to listen to, Allyson Violin studio - play through suzuki repertoire, red desert violin - various technical advice, - technical advice. Still it would be useful if you can meet a violin teacher once a year to give you evaluation of your technique and give you advice how to go on.

October 5, 2014 at 10:11 PM · Mimi Zweig has a fabulous guide for teachers at

It costs to subscribe but is well worth it.

October 6, 2014 at 01:41 PM · Thankyou everyone, and Pavel Spacek in particular.. However, I plan to buy one book only, I use pdf versions and haven't been able to find them for any of the books mentioned here. So please lemme know one book that'll basically cover the entire suzuki method book list as a guide.. I really dont know if such a book exists but Thankyou again!

October 6, 2014 at 02:27 PM · Buy the DVD from It's about $80 but completely worth it and will take you through both the early Suzuki books as well as more advanced techniques.

It includes both clear, well-thought out explanations in outline form as well as videos to demonstrate the concepts and the songs.

October 6, 2014 at 08:01 PM · I have trained as a Suzuki teacher here in France. To write up all my notes into a coherent document would take years, and even then we adapt our teaching techniques to each pupil.

I shall only try this when I'm too stiff (or deaf) to play, or when students find me too old and repulsive!

In the meantime, the Web, especially U-toob, is a mine (or mine-field?) of ideas..

October 6, 2014 at 08:30 PM · "Indeed I maintain that 2/3 of violin technique is between the notes: what we hear is the tip of the iceberg. "

Adrian - I've always played between the notes, it's much easier than playing the actual notes ... (And I'm allergic to ice ...)

October 7, 2014 at 07:33 AM · No book will ever come close to replacing a teacher, nor a video. Is a book going to objectively analyze your playing? Will a book correct your errors? Will a book target your weak points so that you improve at a good pace? Will a book praise you when you do well?

If you can watch youtube videos, you can take private lessons via Skype. If you don't take private lessons, at some point you will regret it. Violin is one of the most difficult instruments, and classical probably the most difficult style of music. It's best to strap in now for the long haul. Having a teacher by your side makes the journey go a lot faster.

October 7, 2014 at 02:05 PM · I understand the cons of self-learning and I really want to get a teacher to guide me through the method; but due to financial problems i really can't. I am interested in violin playing as a hobby and I think I'll persist for as long as it takes till i get to the stage where i can play beautiful music by great composers... I think I will enroll in a foreign university for higher studies and during that period if i get lucky I'll take violin as a minor, or find a music student and get some help or something i guess.. maybe.. but until then I really want to take my time and try.

October 7, 2014 at 02:10 PM · Can anyone give a review of the book y Simon Fischer: Basics - 300 exercises and practice routines for violin? Will it be insightful enough to get a proper feel for the technique? And will it serve well as a partner to Suzuki method, Todd Ehle's lessons and violin masterclass? Thanks a lot people for the advice!

October 7, 2014 at 03:48 PM · Simon Fischer's Basics is a wonderful book, but it presumes some basic background knowledge on the part of the reader. It is far above the level of the first Suzuki books.

October 7, 2014 at 04:08 PM · What skill level does it presume? Is it really that far above? It really breaks my heart to not be able to find a teacher for my violin studies though.

October 7, 2014 at 04:22 PM · I would hazard to guess that Fischer's "Basics" will become useful to a child under professional instruction at around Book 6 (based on one data point), but a mature adult capable of appreciating the need to consider technical issues with great care might find it useful much earlier, if not at the very beginning. What's the harm in reading it?

October 7, 2014 at 05:46 PM · To an adult, I think Simon Fisher's books are applicable to absolutely all levels....

Try Paul Roland, too. His schemes for children are similar to Suzuki's.

October 8, 2014 at 02:02 AM · Basics is more like a dictionary with detailed explanations. It will not, however, give you a sequential progression of pieces, exercises, and skills that a beginner would need to learn.

Useful for a beginner? Yes. Useful as the sole source that a beginner is trying to use to learn? I don't think so.

October 8, 2014 at 02:04 AM · I use Basics with students who are at least at a Suzuki Book 4 level and who are more mature as learners. I'll explain a concept in a lesson and ask them to go home and read the chapter on "Widening At The Base Joints" and then practice those exercises.

October 8, 2014 at 03:26 AM · Sorry, but the whole Suzuki thing doesn't reduce to a single, if big volume you can buy and then teach yourself. It is so much more.

October 8, 2014 at 12:58 PM · Everybody thank you so much. I will follow Basics with Suzuki volumes and simultaneously follow Todd Ehle's and Sassmannshaus. I hope this experiment is successful atleast to an extent considering the fact that I don't mind taking infinitely long till i get to play compositions as such. But i'll give my best and again Thankyou so much.

October 9, 2014 at 01:46 AM · I bought a book at the SAA convention a few years back that had several covered several of the teaching points (though not as extensively as William Starr's book). I can't seem to find it now either on my shelf or on google, but it is out there. You should also consider the Step By Step series from Kerstin Wartberg (sp?). You can download a pdf and mp3 files which often break the Suzuki pieces into smaller parts and usually have each piece in two slower practice tempos as well as a performance tempo. It doesn't replace a teacher, but it helped my daughter greatly when she was going through books 2 and 3. She loved playing along with the scale and arpeggio exercises.

October 22, 2014 at 03:46 PM · One can also analyse the pieces one's self: unlike study-based methods, each piece presents one or two measures with new challenges, to be worked at intensely, while the remaining measures build on previous skills, and can almost be self-taught.

Also, there are tricky pieces followed by easier ones, so that every effort is rewarded. E.g. the end of Book I is harder than the beginning àof book II.

October 25, 2014 at 05:43 AM · i think i partly found what i was looking for ... practice sheets

i progressed till etude now and i think i have to work on it for a week ossumthin. I'll try basics in the between how is Galaiman's principles for technique??

October 25, 2014 at 06:05 AM · Like Carl Flesch's mighty 2-volume treatise "The Art of Violin Playing", Galamian thinks of everything!

Both authors expound their personal viewpoint, and both have produced editions of the Bach partitas, Paganini Caprices and the Kreutzer Etudes (in a word. Flesch for small hands, Galamian for long fingers..) as well as complete scale books.

But neither have written a "method". Neither has Simon Fischer,but his numerous tomes bring together a great variety of approaches, and his demonstrations are always accompanied by practical exercises. The man's a genius!

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