Suzuki vs O'Connor method - caveats?
As I'm moving out of the area I'm in right now, I'll have to be scouting a new violin teacher. Both my current teacher and another one I've contacted do both Suzuki and O'Connor books.
I'm wondering what I'll be giving up with each avenue? I'm assuming O'Connor won't move me towards playing in a community orchestra (though that feels like a long shot). However, I already have a band or two, where improv, blues, etc, would be most useful.
I do want to get adequate technique, regardless.
I’d appreciate hearing from folks who have actual experience with both, and have information, not a political debate about the two.
How did the O'Connor method gain any traction?
Google O'Connor Suzuki violin and sit back for an hour or two, if you enjoy reading invective.
The O'Connor Method is great. My son was trained using it, and had a top seat in his by-audition prize-winning orchestra through High School. O'Connor mixes traditional American music with jazz, swing, blues, and classical. He also teaches improvisation within the pieces.
My two cents - the Suzuki method is amazing for young kids. But I'm talking about the whole method, not just the books. The mother tongue approach, the parent-teacher-student triangle, the practice partner, etc. It works amazingly well in that comprehensive setting.
I want proper technique, double-stops, positions other than first, etc. I don't want to be painted into another corner.
I have the first three O'Connor books. I bought them because I was curious.
I appreciate George's example, but attributing his son's success to the method used is probably a bit false.
Erik, what I was pointing out was that learning violin using the O'Connor method was not detrimental to playing in an orchestra (which was one of David's explicit concerns).
"O'Connor books are expensive in comparison to Suzuki Books. His books are $30-35. "
Just ordered Volume 1 of O'Connor from Shar. Price on Amazon was $47.
"Having observed many young violinists over the years, I can say that the vast majority coming out of the Suzuki program are unable to improvise, follow chord progressions, or play easily without written music (improvised or not)."
Overpriced, in my opinion. Even if it was a big classical name the price would be high in my opnion, at least. Mr. Fischer's books are pricey but they are big volumes, not being "methods" per se.) Do not mean to offend, and I hope you find what you are looking for-the teacher will always be more important than the method.
Ugh. I had started a reply and it disappeared when I clicked on look at earlier comments.
Regarding respective prices for Suzuki vs O'Connor, Suzuki 1 has 48 pages, O'Connor 1 has 76 pages. I haven't counted the number of pieces in each. And it's possible there might be more discussion in the O'Connor books, but....
"If I taught in rural Appalachia instead of urban Texas, I'm sure my experience would be different."
One last thing--the O'Connor books aren't the only fiddle rep books out there. My younger one goes to camp at Old Town School of Folk Music and they have their own books, freely available for download, as well as a fiddle tune archive, again free. The former is designed for kids; the latter for anybody. Fiddle books are here: https://www.oldtownschool.org/classes/kids/fiddle/welcome/ Tune archive here: https://www.oldtownschool.org/classes/adults/fiddle/tunes/
The O'Connor books are NOT fiddle rep books. They include many other styles besides fiddle. Jazz, Blues, Bluegrass, Polkas, Latin, Swing. etc. They are called the American Violin Method because they use music that originated in North America.
This is like asking what’s more nutritious: McDonald’s or Burger King?
Nate, what would your objections to them be (and out of curiosity, what would you consider at that stage...although I do not mean to derail the topic).
I’ll clarify and say I think for most students starting out, who are not on a professional track yet, Suzuki is actually the preferable system. I also prefer McDonald’s over Burger King fyi. It’s all about how it’s taught and it can be a fun method for beginners. If you want to play on a professional level obviously you would also want to supplement the pieces in Suzuki with scales, etudes and other material from early in your development and learn how to read music which is often unfortunately not taught from the very beginning by some Suzuki method teachers. Someone mentioned the Leopold Auer graded course above. I think those books are excellent for building technique for beginners.
I use a combination of about 5 different books. My "primary" book series is almost always Suzuki, but the other books I use are "String builder", "building technic with beautiful music", and "beautiful music for two string instruments" (all by applebaum). Then of course I also add "I can read music."
To emphasize what was previously said, it's the teacher that matters, not the books that are or aren't used. That's especially true for an adult.
A new teacher I’ve talked to has suggested doing both Suzuki and O’Connor. I’d At least like to finish book 1 of Suzuki before jumping ship. I was also grousing that me current teacher was pushing me to knock out a song per week. I’m on Minuet 1right now and it 95% memorized over this last week, but I’m wasted from the effort, and can barely play the thing.
I love the Auer books, but they would most likely be boring for young kids. Using it along with another method would be best.
And today my current teacher told me that nobody gets this song in less than a month. I wish you would’ve told me that before.
Yeah, I've learned over time that adult beginners REALLY need to have their expectations clearly set before each song. A lot of people have the misconception that they'll get through each of the Minuets in the same amount of time that they got through Lightly Row, and then they feel like failures when they don't.
I memorized a good bit of it, but missed some details. But I was getting nauseated from extremely low brain glucose from all the mental exertion. She just didn't verbally change her "expectations of me". Yeah, I needed specifics. When I first heard the minuet, I knew definitely it was not going to be an easy thing, but I tried anyway, not wanting to disappoint my teacher. I'm a good boy. Someone pat me on the head.
Something to keep in mind: as a teacher, I would rather a student take a couple of extra weeks to comfoetably finish a piece than to burn themselves out trying to learn it too quickly.