ABRSM Grade 5-ish standard repertoire ideas

March 24, 2005 at 10:27 PM · I've been teaching for about five years now and enjoy it very much. Though my students have a wide range of abilites from very beginners to third year music undergraduates the area in which I am looking for some advice is related to my endless quest for interesting and satisfying repertoire for students around ABRSM Grade 5 standard. I've got a student sitting her Grade 5 today (bless her!) and I really want to give her some good, challenging but gratifying stuff to get her teeth into post-exam. She's worked on some reasonably tricky studies but while her enthusiasm is up there it would be nice to address some new technical areas too. What do you fellow teachers out there go for post-exam? And (last point, I promise!) has anyone any genius advice to offer about the teaching of vibrato.....? Many thanks in advance for your time and wisdom!

Replies (2)

March 24, 2005 at 11:26 PM · As far as etudes, I'm not familiar with your grading system over there, but has she done any or all of the Sitt etudes? I went through all of them when I was a kid, and I've never been sorry. My knowledge of the positions was extremely thorough for my age thanks to these and Schradiek Book I.

Benjamin

March 25, 2005 at 03:31 AM · Off the top of my head, some of my faves at around/post-Grade 5 are Vivaldi G major, Humoresque, Dance of the Snowmen, La Cinquantaine (although this is sometimes prescribed at Grade 4 level), certain Telemann sonatina movements, Bach Air on G string/Arioso/Ave Maria, Kreisler Rondino, Dancla Melodienschule... and there's a pretty good compilation called Old Fiddle Pieces. Also Baroque Violin Pieces published by the AB (a few volumes, but I use mostly book 1).

About vibrato, my never-failed-yet system involves a few weeks of Rivarde-style exercises to loosen up the finger joints. Then steady knocking on the wall with knuckles, keeping forearm static. Then, most importantly, Simon Fischer's vibrato exercises in Basics, one after the other (all the above minus bow). Then actually apply to strings with bow (third position, second/third finger at first), and oscillate steadily to a metronome: crotchets, quavers, triplets, semiquavers etc. I hope these descriptions make sense.

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