Need to compare my violin program
I’m adult italian violin amateur student and it is almost four years I’m studying this wonderful instrument. I’m taking private lessons once per week from a qualified teacher and I practice 3 hours per day 6 days per week.
Thus I’m writing here since I would like to compare my practicing schedule and actual violin program with yours.
Below you find the list of the things and books I’m studying right now (for those that know those books I put the exercise I’m studying now in brackets):
- Three octaves A major scale and arpeggio
- Double stop A major scale and arpeggio (thirds, sixthies and octaves)
- Sevcik: op. 2 book I (Ex. n.5)
- Sevcik: op. 7 book I (Ex. n.20)
- Sevcik: op. 7 book II (Ex. n.13)
- Sevcik: op. 8 (Ex n.6)
- Sitt: op. 32 book II (Ex. n.37)
- Sitt: op. 32, book III (Ex. n.48)
- Sitt: op. 32 book V (Ex. n. 89)
- Kayser: op. 20 (Ex. n.10)
Please note that for each of the above book, I already studied ALL the previous exercises. In addition for the Sevcik’s I studied every exercise with the variations proposed.
To finish I below list what I have already done.
- Scales and arpeggios in two and three octaves in all the keys
- Double stop G major scale and arpeggio (thirds, sixthies and octaves)
- Curci: Book I and II
- Curci: 50 Studies
- Curci: 24 Studies
- Sitt: op. 32 book I
- Curci: 20 Studi Speciali
- F. David: op. 44 24 violin sudies
And now my (probably silly) questions:
Do you think this syllabus is coherent with a fourth year
Don’t you think nine books all at once could be a little too much?
Every opinion will be very well accepted. Thank you in advance for your attention.
Just out of curiosity, are you playing any solo repertoire at all?
I'd lose my bloody mind with all that Ševcik...
First of all thank you for your attention and time.
Does your teacher know your practise schedule? If not, I'd suggest asking for some advice from them
Repertoire is the proving ground for your technique, and there are aspects of violin playing that are actually better explored through repertoire. So your regimen is lacking. A common schedule is to do only about one third on scales and studies, one third on a lyrical piece (or Bach solo movement when you get to that point) and one third on faster piece like a concerto movement (or Suzuki piece). Sometimes the breakdown is one quarter scales, one quarter studies, and the the rep. But I would argue for more rep for you since you're behind on that and because Suzuki rep is technique focused anyway.
Thank all of you for your advices.
It's hard to make repertoire suggestions without hearing you play. Your teacher is really the best equipped to select a solo piece for you. Here is a list of pieces I often teach, in rough order of difficulty. You could start by taking a look at the Bach a minor, and move up or down in difficulty as required if it isn't at a suitable level.
Mary, many thanks for your suggestion. I have all Suzuki books so I can try to pick the right first piece of my repertoire. However, at a first listening and reading the two Vivaldi's pieces seem to fit with my level of playing. I'm going to propose them to my teacher, so he can give the best advice.
Normally, your teacher will be guiding you through scales, etudes, technical exercises and repertoire. I don't know if I'm missing something, but I don't understand why you are making these decisions when a thoughtful teacher will be able to make good choices based on how you play and what you need.
Seems to me the teacher did not make these decisions and has been keeping him on an all work and no fun diet for all this time. The practice time is certainly enough to include repertoire. That way one can experience what one did all the studies for. Even the studies listed are not the best (musically). I would have quit if I had had to practice Sevcik for such an amount of time.
To make clear my position, I trust my teacher completely. It’s just it seems quite unusual to me that I go through the method books so meticulously and after four years of practicing I don’t have a piece repertoire. In some sense, it’s exactly what Albrecht says: I start to feel the missing of the funny part of my diet.
Alex just ask your teacher for a nice piece that he thinks is slightly *below* your current technical level, and explain that you would like to make some music. They will understand and since you are expressly asking for something below your level, they will not feel like you are pushing them.
Many thanks Jean!! Your advice to stay *below* my current level is very good. It is also absolutely well motivated.
That technical list looks very heavy; equivalent to weight-training for an athlete. There is a real danger of over-training, getting tight muscles and loosing track of why you are doing this. Technical work can be confined to one hour: stretches, exercises, scales and arpeggios, one new etude per week. Cut down on the scale and arpeggio routine by picking one key per day, then up a half-step the next day, or around the circle of fifths. After that hour move on to Bach. If you are not ready for the S.&P. collection try the concertos or keyboard sonatas. Pablo Casals played Bach every day. Solo pieces should be one level below your current technique, something that you want to play, enjoy hearing.
Not only is playing rep the reward and the reason for the technical work; it is also an indispensable part of the learning process. I've never heard of this situation persisting for four years, and I suggest it's worth a serious conversation with your teacher.
I agree with Sean. The way you have laid out your relationship to your teacher and his/her "method" is strange to me.
Many thanks to all for your advices. What is becaming clear to me is that a conversation with my teacher is absoltely necessary. For one reason or another.
I have a two day practice schedule with a little technique on both days as well as time for new solo and chamber rep, and even some time for playing through a piece or two of my regular repertoire. I would think you don't need to work so much daily on all that technique, I honestly used to be that way and it was sucking the fun out of practicing.
Alex, I am impressed by your dedication and meticulous work, but like anyone else I wonder how you manage to keep sane. Your story reminds me of a blog post by Simon Fischer here on v.com ("A Year of Technique Only -- Why it's madness" - https://www.violinist.com/blog/simonfischer/201610/19771/). Music is not the adding up of mechanics and you cannot develop your musicality without playing music from the very beginning.
Katarina, thank you for the link. Sometime I also ask to myself how I can keep me sane. Perhaps because I'm already insane! :-))