Favorite teaching method!!!

April 29, 2005 at 07:06 AM · I was just wondering the opinion of some of the teachers out there, for what their favorite method, or series of books(or book) was for beginning students.

Replies (22)

April 29, 2005 at 10:02 AM · If you are teaching a private lesson, I personally like Suzuki books. THey are well sequenced as far as adding and building on technique as you go. I also like the Wolfhart etude books. The ABRSM publishes some good beginning scale and sightreading books as well.

If you are doing classroom lessons (an orchestra) I really like Gillespie's Essential Elements 2000 because of the way the notes are taught, and how it seems that you get to the Christmas song part of the book right at Christmas time, and how it teaches them harmonized music early on. There is also a CD and DVD so they can play along with an accompaniment, record their playing tests and email it to the class teacher. High tech...so cool. They also use drums and cool instrumentation when teaching the new rhythms in the "rhythm rap' that kids actually like practicing along.

April 29, 2005 at 02:40 PM · FOr very beginners I like the Essential Elements books (old or new-the new ones {2000} come w/ a CD and DVD). After that, I go to Suzuki.

April 29, 2005 at 09:33 PM · How funny, the two said are my favorite methods :)

April 29, 2005 at 09:54 PM · some really really great books, though not for the very early "beginner", that i used when i started learning about positions were the introducing the positions books- they have some really good etudes and excercises and were really beneficial to me

April 30, 2005 at 05:04 AM · A professor of mine was an avid fan of the "Tune a Day" method. I tried it out with a few adult students, and it seems to work very well for beginners who can already read music. I am very pleased with the results!

April 30, 2005 at 02:28 PM · essential elements

May 1, 2005 at 12:17 PM · Anybody got any sugestions on what materials to use for very young children.(4 or 5 years)

May 1, 2005 at 02:36 PM · Suzuki.

May 2, 2005 at 01:01 AM · Chuck the Paganini caprices at em and tell them to come back in 10 years. Im skint but just think how many famous violinists I will have to my credit....hehe

August 10, 2005 at 03:53 AM · Out of interest, I was wondering what people think of the Shirley Givens books.

August 12, 2005 at 02:00 AM · I think suzuki method will do. =)

August 12, 2005 at 02:17 AM · The Suzuki method is a great way to begin a student. I just started teaching it and I am having success.

Don't do any book that teacher long, whole notes on open strings first.

Not acceptable for young kids bow arms. They need something in the upper half that is "fast" like...."Twinkle!"

August 13, 2005 at 12:43 AM · For the really young ones, I like to supplement the Suzuki material with the Songs for Little Players by Evelyn Avsharian. The notes are big and easy for children who are having trouble with note reading.

August 19, 2005 at 10:33 PM · My favorite teaching method is Maia Bang.

August 24, 2005 at 11:23 AM · I've never been taught Suzuki method - what are the principles behind it? I'm really interested in researching different methods of teaching because I'll be teaching (beginners) myself alongside my studies as of September. Are there any other 'methods' of teaching apart from Suzuki?

I have bought a copy of 'the abcs for vioin' to consider teaching from - they are recommended by the likes of Yuri Mazurkevich and DeLay.

August 24, 2005 at 07:53 PM · The theory behind Suzuki is that you learn music the same way that you learn to speak, through immersion. Children who learn to read early learn to read because their parents read to them, right? The same principal is applied. The important factors in Suzuki are listening, performing, and parental involvement. Most Suzuki teachers I've known have been involved in creating their own community orchestras for their students ^_^

The real theory behind Suzuki is a close knit relationship between the parents, teacher, and student. The actual books are baroque heavy, and each piece has a technique that is meant to be aquired (starting with the bowings in the twinkle) through the piece, as opposed to through exerciese (even though there are some exerciese in there ^_^). They're not meant to just be a repetore, they're meant to be combined with the method.

Of course, I'm not all that versed in Suzuki method, so I might be slightly off. If you're REALLY interested, Mr. Suzuki wrote several books (starting with Nurtured with love) about his theories.

August 26, 2005 at 01:11 PM · I use a variety of methods depending on the child. I very much like the Books by Evelyn Avsharian called the Childrens Music Series. I use those with my very young students ages 4-6. I also use Right From the Start Violin Duets by Sheila Nelson.

I also very much like the solo Albums by RCM and the Barbara Barber solo collections.

I've used several different method books over the years. I've found that there are advantages to all of them. Currently I prepfer Strictly Strings. I like so many of the concepts and the order of learning in this series. I will change however in about a year. I find that if I use one method book to long I get bored!

One method that I thought was particulary innovative was the All For Strings series. At some point I may go back to that. Book I presented the 4th finger low initially instead of having student span the whole step between 3rd and 4th fingers as is usual. I still do this in teaching the 4th finger. The 3rd finger supports the weak 4th finger at first and helps it "learn."

I used A Tune a Day for several years. It wasn't visually interesting--like more modern methods but the music presented was great. What a wonderful education if a child could learn the music in all three volumes.

I also have used String Explorers--presented in an Indiana Jones style. I have had a good response to this book from parents and students.



August 28, 2005 at 04:36 AM · oops, forgot to put my own opinion O_o

I like Suzuki (obviously, including the position etudes book) and the Barbera Barber books (including the scale book). In adition the Josephine trott books. On top of that orchestral and chamber playing (you can try to organize occasional meetings with other students) and starting at around book 7 major concertos (starting with Mozart 3 or something)

November 11, 2008 at 05:21 AM ·

For my little kids, I use the Suzuki books and Jo Ann Martin "I Can Read Music"


For my adult beginners (highschool and up) I start out with open strings and learning basic finger patterns, then within a few months jump into:

Barbara Barber "Solos for Young Violinists, Bk 1"

Sevcik 40 variations - we do the bowing variations on open strings.  Wonderful!

Whistler "Introducing the Positions"

Wolfhart Etudes (the book that has 1st through 3rd position)

November 11, 2008 at 06:47 AM ·

I teach both in groups and individually.  For early beginners individually i use the Encore on Strings books.  They are written by Australian composer Keith Sharp.  I find that they are well suited to the level of students.  In Australia we start teaching violin in groups in grade 3.  The have a great backing track, and generally the kids can get through a book in a year, finishing with Jingle Bells.   

Hope this helps


November 12, 2008 at 05:05 AM ·

   Hi there! Your question is a very good one , and :) I don't think there is a right or wrong answer to it. To those who commented here against books that start with long notes on open strings , I will respond that that is actually how I started , when I was 6 years old , and it worked perfectly well for me( that is also how the big majority of children in the Art Institution where I pursued my first 12 years of musical education  started , and it didn't affect them physically, or musically, or in any other way! Actually , students who study  in this approach and associate it with constant practice evolve very fast  ,and with a solid technique )That is the very traditional method and it is widely used in Eastern Europe.

   However, in the United States , when talking about very young beginners , it might work better to not use that method ( at least not entirely ). I have seen from experience that very popular is the Suzuki approach ( or taking elements from the Suzuki method  ) . There are many good books out there ;some of them reffer to teaching violin , while others contain pieces and cds to be applied to the young learner.

   When teaching , I preffer to engage creatively and empathically in the process, and I avoid being limited by one particular method. A teacher needs to adapt to a student's age , intelect, personality ..

    My advice for you is to not look for the "best" , or the most suitable method of teaching. Rather , open your eyes and years for the student in front of you , research all methods , and see what applies best for the particular case. And don't be affraid to be original . Teaching is so fun!

        Good Luck,


November 12, 2008 at 02:37 PM ·

I used to use All for Strings in my group classes but found it very limiting for younger children.  I am now switching to Essential Elements and hope that it works out.  I also picked up Strictly Strings Book 2 for my intermediate students as it seems they have duets in there.  Boy do I wish there were more duet books for all violin classes.

I'm also giving a chance to Adventures in Violinland "The Beginning" by Shirley Givens for my younger students.

Of course these are just rough guides, and I almost never use these in the way they tell you to.  Rather I use them in my classroom to supplement my own lesson plans.

This discussion has been archived and is no longer accepting responses.

Facebook YouTube Instagram Email

Violinist.com is made possible by...

Shar Music
Shar Music

Violinist.com Shopping Guide
Violinist.com Shopping Guide

JR Judd Violins
JR Judd Violins

Los Angeles Philharmonic
Los Angeles Philharmonic

Corilon Violins
Corilon Violins

Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra
Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra

Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases
Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases

Anne Cole Violin Maker
Anne Cole Violin Maker

Miroirs CA Classical Music Journal
Miroirs CA Classical Music Journal

Pirastro Strings
Pirastro Strings

Classic Violin Olympus

Coltman Chamber Music Competition

Metzler Violin Shop

Southwest Strings

Bobelock Cases

Johnson String Instrument/Carriage House Violins

Bay Fine Strings Violin Shop

Jargar Strings



Violin Lab



Nazareth Gevorkian Violins

Laurie's Books

Discover the best of Violinist.com in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews.

Violinist.com Interviews Volume 1
Violinist.com Interviews Volume 1, with introduction by Hilary Hahn

Violinist.com Interviews Volume 2
Violinist.com Interviews Volume 2, with introduction by Rachel Barton Pine