Simon Fischer's Basic, Practice, and Violin Lesson books order and ideas on using those books

Edited: January 6, 2019, 8:22 AM · Simon Fischer's Basic, Practice, and Violin Lesson books order and ideas on using it

I'm an amateur violinist, and I have a professor that guide me using repertories from Solo for Young Violinists, Suzuki books up to 5, Wohlfahrt violin books 1 and 2, and other related materials such as Tone by Simon Fischer. However sometimes I want to do systematic study on my own that follows some kind of structured and/or progressive idea.

When I got Basic, Practice, and Violin Lesson; I realized that there is a lot of overlapping in its content. In my opinion and my level some of the content in these books are too much explanation and/or examples that are to advance or to short to make a study session. I asked my professor as everyone recommend in other posts but he does not have experience teaching with these books so he can look and choose things in the books on the flight that I can work on but that is not what I am looking for. I am looking for the opinion of people that have experience using these books can prescribe a recommend on where to start or how use this books by an student on its own.

Simon fisher have very useless descriptions on how to use the books and its relation in his websites(See a copy down)-(pardon me Simon you are still the best) and the "How use it" on some books is too general that can apply to almost every violin's books in the world.

If you have a recommendation, advice, or guide based on experience using these great books I will appreciated it.

Thank you

Simon Fischer website extract:
Basics gives all the fundamental technique.
Practice shows how to merge technique with music-making.
The Violin Lesson goes beyond the headings of the previous books into other essential areas of music-making and violin playing.

Replies (12)

January 2, 2019, 8:41 AM · Why are you wanting to structure your own learning, if you are taking lessons with someone competent?
January 2, 2019, 11:18 AM · - Fischer's books are not methods, they are resource books.
- Short exercises are to be repeated with continual improvement (often much more beneficial than grinding through pages of studies, in my experience).
- We have to be conscious of whywe are learning, or repeating, an exercise, scale or study.
Edited: January 2, 2019, 11:28 AM · Acknowledging the useful comments already made, let's get to the heart of your question. You see that there is a lot of redundancy ("overlap") among Fischer's books, and you're wondering whether there's one book that's "central" (one ring to rule them all). This question has been asked in several other threads, and the general consensus is that "The Violin Lesson" is the "master" book. It is actually intended partly for self-teaching.

One thing you need to understand about Simon Fischer is that he is not immune to the forces of capitalism. If he thinks writing another book will be a significantly worthwhile (i.e., profitable) enterprise, then he will likely write one even if doing so causes him to cover a lot of the same ground.

Kind of like Art Tatum records. After a while you realize that you're buying a lot of tracks you already have on other albums...

January 2, 2019, 12:42 PM · In a few words:

Basics: how to do stuff;
Practice: how to practice stuff;
The Lesson: how to learn, or teach oneself stuff.

Of course they overlap!!

Edited: January 2, 2019, 10:03 PM · Thank you Paul and Adrian for taking time answering my question with positive content direct related to my post. I am getting an opinion and an understanding for answers I got on different places and posts I have read that everybody like Fisher books but very few people use the books in a daily basis or deeper. I have not be able to get concrete answers on the used of these books based on specific content. Is like everybody ends shelving these books. As a contrast if you ask questions for any other book people are very specific and can contrasts etudes from a method to the other method, or order of use, or repertory books against other books, etc. Maybe is just because as Adrian mentioned these are not method books... however, I am leaning more that is because they are not commonly use. My argument to think that is based own my experience as professor in other area not related to music there I can recommend books that I have used not matter if they are Theory books and Practice books if I have used those books I can give specific instruction to students of where to look, there order and how to look on those books, but if I know the books content but have not use I ended saying just general things or just saying I have not use those.

Thank you anyway for you answers. These books still looks very nice in my book shelve and Tone and Warming Up are very useful

January 2, 2019, 10:21 PM · I find that Fischer's books are basically the equivalent of encyclopedias on my shelf -- a reference. They are useful when I am looking for something specific -- for instance, when I know I want an exercise for some specific thing, and somewhere in his tomes will be a useful one, more readily found than if I were to search through volumes of Sevcik or other etude books myself.

But in general I know what I'm looking for in the books. I'm not sure how useful they really are to a student who doesn't know what they are trying to find within.

January 3, 2019, 2:33 AM · Denis just one anecdote. When I started playing again some ten years ago I had difficulties with a passage that involved string crossings. I had just bought the Basics book. I looked up "string crossing" in the index: it had a subentry that said "bumpy string crossing". I went to that exercise and Simon Fischer explains exactly what causes bumpy string crossings, along with exercises for string crossing the proper way. That book compiled for the first time the large body of technical knowledge that previously was only communicated from teacher to student to student's student etc, a bit like in medieval times with handcrafts. If that book is not useful then I do not know what is useful.
Edited: January 3, 2019, 7:52 AM · Indeed, study books like Sevcik's do not tell us how to do things.
Neither do a great many teachers!
And Fischer's books are even less dogmatic than the excellent treatises of Flesch and Galamian...

Edit: I have found all of my own "tips & tricks" (developed over half a century..) in Fischer's books, plus a whole lot more!

January 3, 2019, 7:57 AM · I don't know whether Fischer is dogmatic or not in his teaching (I've only met one former student,) but he is definitely rooted in a tradition and writes from that perspective. He also has a large person bias.

I agree with Lydia, and would add, it's not necessarily a good thing to try and understand what you must do physically. Such mental understanding is an added, mediating layer which must eventually be forgotten in performance, which is sometimes hard to do when you become conscious of it, especially if you've developed a phobia.

Don't get me wrong, I spent a decade teaching such intermediate ways of achieving desired results, but I do think it is a round about way to performance, which is always better if it's immediate.

Edited: January 3, 2019, 12:39 PM · Jeewon, (nice to read you again!) I find that if the mental-spacial-kinetic aspects are treated attentively, they can indeed be "forgotten" in performance. And when such preparation needs subsequent renewal, it goes much faster and better than the first time.

But I agree that Mr Fischer's enormous hands make him less clear about the needs of my slender-handed young ladies (or indeed their stubby-fingered teacher!)

January 3, 2019, 1:19 PM · I asked similar questions a couple of months ago when I only had Basics. Since then I've read Galamian and bought the Violin Lesson, but, as Lydia says, they are now on my shelf for reference, and I hardly open them at all.
Edited: January 3, 2019, 2:07 PM · (Thanks Adrian! :)

"I find that if the mental-spacial-kinetic aspects are treated attentively, they can indeed be "forgotten" in performance."

I absolutely agree. But tough for students to do without a teacher like you getting them to constantly attend to what they hear, feel and do.

Re. jean's experience, I'd wager beginners are not going to be able to understand, implement, and keep focus on what they need to as they try to embody the new information they read in the same way a returner could. Also, sometimes it can be counterproductive to get ahead of oneself, to go off the teacher's program.

Edit: E.g. I wouldn't give students string crossing exercises before they were able to play on each string cleanly, which entails clearly feeling the level and plane of each string, plus each double stop level, and the 3 'edges' of each string, and the ability to feel weight sinking into each level.


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