In your opinion what important pieces are missing from the Advanced Suzuki repertoire?

December 15, 2019, 8:50 AM · Or better said, what pieces would you add to Suzuki Books 6-10? Just your own opinion :) Are all the popular ones, like Kreisler Preludium and Allegro and Vivaldi Seasons post-Suzuki pieces?

How about concertos? There is Vivaldi g minor in book 5 and the next concerto is Bach Nro 1 in Book 7 and Mozart A major and D Major which are Books 9 and 10. So are there other popular concertos Book 6-8 level? Im assuming the Mozart concertos are important and almost everyone plays them regardless of teaching method, but am I right in assuming that? So not many concertos there, wouldnt a player need more for competitions for example? Though I have no idea how long the advanced books take to go through but if it is about a year per book then there isnt even one concerto per year and it sounds too few.

How about Accolay, is it post-Suzuki? So are there some concertos or other pieces that are a must and great for performing that are not in the Suzuki repertoire?

Replies (59)

December 15, 2019, 9:01 AM · Suzuki wanted to include many other pieces, he purportedly loved Kreisler, for example, but Kreisler and many other other romantic/contemporary pieces were still under copyright when he complied the books.
The Suzuki Association has a list of suggested supplemental pieces:

Many Suzuki teachers also use the Barbara Barber Solos for Young Violinists Series to supplement and fill in gaps in the Suzuki repertoire.

December 15, 2019, 9:05 AM · The Suzuki advanced repertoire across all in instruments lack more modern music and music from South America. This is due to the difficulty in obtaining proper copyrights, it's up to the teachers to find excellent supplemental repertoire as the students progress. Most active Suzuki teachers (those that are actually Suzuki teachers, not just using the books; those that attend the Suzuki conferences; those that are a part of the larger Suzuki community) have agreed on several pieces that would be excellent supplemental repertoire. Violin is not my instrument so I don't have any suggestions, but I'm sure we'll see some excellent suggestions in this feed.
December 15, 2019, 9:07 AM · For a long time people said, "Oh, there's no heavy-duty sautille piece in the Suzuki rep, like 'Elves Dance' by Jenkinson." Then the Suzuki folks wised up and included "The Bomb" (Perpetuo Mobile by Bohm) in the most recent edition -- it was not there before.

That shows the Suzuki sequence *can* change. One piece that I think is kind of lame is the G Minor Vivaldi Concerto. Maybe in its place there could be the Allemande from the Bach D Minor Partita. I think students at the Book 5 level can handle that one technically -- it's not fast and there aren't any double stops. Also some of the stuff in Book 7 is kind of "meh."

Edited: December 15, 2019, 9:40 AM · The list that Ingrid posted is a nicely concise summary of the usual intermediate warhorses. Generally, people won't learn all of those works, and teachers will pick and choose depending on the student's strengths and weaknesses. How much repertoire is done will typically be dependent on how much polish the teacher demands.

In general, it seems pretty rare for students to continue with Suzuki past book 6 or so, unless they are so young that they are still with less-advanced age-peers when they are playing very advanced repertoire.

Intermediate-level concertos are, these days, used almost exclusively as pedagogical repertoire. The short works are more likely to remain in a player's recital reserve for the future (for instance Thais, Salut d'Amour, etc. will probably be back-pocket works for a lot of players).

Anthony, what music from South America (or more broadly, LATAM)
would you recommend? I cannot think of anything at the intermediate level, personally, but my acquaintance with these composers is minimal.

Edited: December 15, 2019, 10:06 AM · I would also love to see more Latin American music for intermediate violinists. Please suggest options!

As for the original question, I can tell you what we did. Both my kids played through Book 6 pretty much in order and in their entirety. We supplemented starting around Book 3 and did a bunch of the pieces in the Barbara Barber Solos series. We did much of Barbara Barber Book 1 along with Suzuki Book 3/4, and then Barbara Barber Book 2&3 along with Suzuki Books 4/5. We skipped some of them that I just don't care for (ie Kuchler, Dancla) and put some aside for later (ie Dvorak Sonatina). My kids learned many of them to performance level, but some we just used for sightreading or working on a specific technique.

After my kids finished Suzuki Book 6, we turned Suzuki Books 7/8 into the extra rep and focused on other stuff. We're still doing most of the pieces in the books, but not necessarily to mastery level and definitely not in order. My little one (age 10) is currently at this level, and this is what we have done, more or less in order:

*Hungarian Dance (from the Gingold book)
*First two pieces in Book 7 (Mozart, Corelli)
*Bach a minor full concerto (using Urtext edition -- the one in Suzuki is a bit odd)
*Haydn G major concerto (first movement only -- also Urtext with Beyer cadenza)
*Handel Sonata 1 from Book 7
*Accolay Concerto

Next up on her plate, at least according to her, and since she plays for fun, we will probably go with it:
Praeludium and Allegro
Bach E major
Mozart 3

Edited: December 15, 2019, 10:32 AM · When Lydia says most teachers stop around Book 6, I think that's true but in practice what it often means it that you buy Book 7 anyway just to have it in case there are pieces you need for a Suzuki summer camp, and the Bach A Minor is in there along with maybe a couple of other useful things (the Corelli Allegro is a useful third-and-fourth-finger study). You only buy Book 8 if you really really love the Eccles and the Veracini -- "going for baroque" as they say. People don't buy Books 9 and 10 unless they're truly hardcore Suzuki nuts because those are just whole Mozart concertos and if you ask your student to play a concerto from a Suzuki edition you'll be ostracized from the community because "everyone knows" they have no redeeming value whatsoever (even if they do).
December 15, 2019, 10:56 AM · Just to say that Vols 9 & 10 (Mozart concertos 4 & 5) are based on the Joachim editions, with his cadenzas. The fingerings are very "19th century" (not enough even-numbered positions etc.)
The volumes contain Suzuki's detailed technical preparations, which are of considerable interest.
December 15, 2019, 11:39 AM · Right, thanks, got the picture :)

So it would not be best to play the Suzuki books as they are after Book 5, where she is now. That is what I had gathered so far too.

Some may remember I asked last spring for advice about transferring my girl age 6 to pre-conservatory next spring. Well, I decided against it because the athmosphere is a lot better in the current music school. And also the playing opportunties are better, the kids in the pre-conservatory starter orchestra seem afraid of the conductor and playing is not fun there it seems at least to me.

So I just have to hope that the current Suzuki teacher will venture outside Suzuki next year or else we are in trouble if my girl is not talented and hard working enough to get into the special nationwide violin-group at the age of 8-9 years. It has teaching periods. Unfortunately I dont think she is talented enough so there might be problems after 1-2 years. And we are not either willing to practise 2-3 hours per day or home school, which seems necessary to get to that group.

December 15, 2019, 12:06 PM · Just to add where would you put Infat and Boy Paganiis in terms of Suzuki-books?
December 15, 2019, 12:15 PM · Lydia wrote;

"In general, it seems pretty rare for students to continue with Suzuki past book 6 or so..."

I have seen and heard this countless times, even my daughter's current teacher just said forget about suzuki and dropped it during her
first lesson at mid book 5.

Is it because the method is good for starters but not so for advancing students? What is the role of lack of repertoire regarding that fact?

I always wondered.

December 15, 2019, 12:17 PM · My teacher took me to book 6, then we moved onto concerto repertoire and lots and lots of Etudes. With the occasional Spanish influenced piece thrown in. I was also in a outhitting orchestra, so much of my lesson time was covered by orchestral work. And of course, chamber and quartet music!
Edited: December 15, 2019, 1:53 PM · I move on from the Suzuki books after Book 4, but I'm not a trained Suzuki teacher nor do I present myself as such--I use the first four books as repertoire and many (but not all) of the pedagogical ideas on the rare occasions when I teach a beginner.

One piece that is extremely useful is the Vivaldi G *Major* concerto. It's easier than the a minor by quite a bit but it does incorporate some third position. I often teach it as a substitute or a supplement to the Seitz concertos in the first part of Book 4.

Apologies, just reread the OP and realized this isn't germane to the question asked.

Edited: December 15, 2019, 1:58 PM · We ought to clarify: the Suzuki Method is a philosophy of teaching, and not really about what pieces are published in the books. While difficult, it is possible for someone to teach the fundamentals of the philosophy using completely different repertoire, which is how the philosophy has been adapted to other instruments besides the violin. Just because someone uses music other than the published books does not mean they have abandoned the method itself!
Edited: December 15, 2019, 2:04 PM · There's really good pieces in Book 6. I think it's one of the best books.

I think the community has largely "settled in" on the contents of the Suzuki books and embraced the common add-ons such as Barbara Barber's series of "Solos" books. You can say the "Suzuki Method" isn't about the books, and that's true to a large extent, but I've met quite a few Suzuki teachers who want to design as many studies as possible around Book 1 pieces, even for advanced students (who needs Kreutzer No. 2 when you've got Perpetual Motion), and they seem very beholden to the structure of the program as it was originally designed. Fundamentalists, one might say.

I understand there's an Infant Paganini and a Boy Paganini. Is there a Fetal Paganini too? Sorry I could not resist.

December 15, 2019, 2:33 PM · I fit Anthony's definition of "Suzuki teacher" and basically Ingrid/Paul/Lydia/Susan's comments are consistent with my experience. I only disagree that it's "best not to play Suzuki after book 5" because, well, go with your teacher's guidance (or the guidance of the next teacher). What's critical is "the teacher, not the method" or "the teacher, not the book".

The Boy Paganini is in Barbara Barber's book 2 as recommended for Suzuki 5-6 while the Bohm is recommended as 6 and up. Regarding it being in Suzuki 4, it's just that you don't expect sautille to be brilliant when first learning the piece at that time. Accolay and Haydn G major 1st mvt are recommended as 7-8, Czardas 7 and up. One of my teacher trainers places book 6 Fiocco Allegro in 5 (during Vivaldi Gm), but I find that his placement of Czardas in 6 is a bit aggressive for my taste.

One of my students does an honors orchestra audition, which meant Veracini 2nd mvt last year, Haydn this year. If we weren't doing Haydn right now, we'd be on Vivaldi Gm. The audition prep would not take *months* if the pieces were "closer to her level" but we are "getting enough" out of them. For all the pieces I've mentioned and more, I looked at what ASTA and other grading systems think of the levels, and the opinions are definitely varied. Anyway, my point is that what a teacher is looking for a student to get out of a piece, and therefore which piece to pick when, can be very different depending on individual goals/needs, which goes back to it's "the teacher, not the repertoire".

Edited: December 15, 2019, 3:26 PM · Our daughter went off Suzuki after Book 4. Her teacher at the time was a believer of powering through the repertoire so she went on to play crazy hard pieces.

When she transferred to her current teacher two years ago at age 7, we went on a diet of mostly Flesch, Kreutzer, and Ševcík to go through a major overhaul of everything, starting from posture, setup, and bow hold, etc. Her teacher is focusing on repertoire pieces that demand "cleanliness." We may go back and learn standard repertoire pieces that are in Suzuki like Meditation in Thais (perhaps if/when she develops beautiful, luscious vibrato...).

No one seems to be worried about her learning a variety of genres on violin. She does a lot of jazz, rag, & tango on piano and while they demand different styles and techniques, as her piano teacher puts it, once you have the basics down, it isn't that hard to adapt. Her violin teacher also thinks if our daughter wants to specialize in jazz or "other pop things" as he puts it, she can learn them later. He strongly feels for her development, this is the time to solidify her technical foundations.

Maria, our little one used to practice 2-3 hours a day around age 6. These days, it's more like 2-3 hours of whining and complaining but as far as I can tell, she is a happy, well-adjusted child. I don't think doing something a child likes to do for 2 hours a day after-school is harmful. One thing we decided against is homeschooling and we are glad that we did. I'm sure it works for some families but we are not one of them. It would have been bad for everyone's mental health.

She no longer has any professional aspirations because she cannot stand the idea of playing something she hates for a paycheck. This could change as she matures but either way, our focus is to let her pursue what she loves and I know she loves music above all else. In your shoes, I wouldn't really focus on repertoire sequence so much as finding the right teacher for your daughter.

December 15, 2019, 3:35 PM · My kids played Infant Paganini around end of Book 4 or early Book 5 and Boy Paganini around end of Book 5.
December 15, 2019, 8:25 PM · Several things generally happen by the book 6 level.

First, the kid is probably hitting the end of elementary school, or is in middle school. They are more independent. They are able to attend a lesson and practice themselves. Even though some parental involvement is still useful, they may be seeking more independence (and the parents might be encouraging it). This makes the intense parental involvement of Suzuki seem less relevant.

Second, the kid is advanced enough to participate in a youth symphony, playing meaningful repertoire. They may be able to play some chamber music. This becomes the primary outlet for playing with a group or ensemble, rather than the Suzuki group lesson.

Third, the kid is moving towards greater musical independence, rather than the listen-and-imitate baseline of the Suzuki recordings. Like most players, they may still listen to recordings or watch videos and model their interpretation off great performers, but the sources of input are likely to become more diverse and personal, and the kid will begin making more interpretive choices of their own, with the teacher's guidance. (While good Suzuki teachers still encourage personal touches on what the kids play, they are generally encouraged not to deviate too much from the standard Suzuki interpretations, because of Suzuki group performances that demand more uniformity of sound -- a valuable skill for future orchestra playing.)

Fourth. the Suzuki repertoire itself at that level needs to be extensively supplemented. (Suzuki himself was clear about that, given his copyright limitations.) In practice, many students will be playing a great deal of repertoire not in the books, and not everything in the books will be pedagogically valuable for a particular students. Moreover, students will generally use modern, preferably scholarly urtext, editions of pieces from that point forward. Thus even students who want to stay within a Suzuki program will effectively stop playing from the Suzuki books.

In most places, Suzuki instruction is more expensive than non-Suzuki instruction, in order to cover the program overhead of group lessons, play-ins and so on. If a student stops gaining value from those things, it makes sense to switch them to conventional lessons (even if they stay with the same teacher).

December 15, 2019, 10:04 PM · "Her teacher is focusing on repertoire pieces that demand 'cleanliness.'"

Yes. Suzuki understood this. Hence all the baroque stuff in his method books. You aren't going to play clean Mozart if you cant play Handel Sonatas and the Focaccia Allegro. I agree with Lydia about not needing all the play-ins and group-lessons. Those additional costs (and time!) definitely add up.

"She no longer has any professional aspirations because she cannot stand the idea of playing something she hates for a paycheck."

I'm guessing most pro violinists would say they don't "hate" very much of what they play for pay. Even if you're asked to play some sappy song at a wedding, and it's not your cup of tea, you take professional pride -- which in my own experience playing gigs and taking requests, taking pride in one's work is not all that far from actual enjoyment. And as children mature their tastes broaden and their attitude toward work hopefully becomes more accommodating. Not trying to pressure anyone's child toward a vocation, but most children really don't know too well what they want out of life.

December 15, 2019, 10:25 PM · "She no longer has any professional aspirations because she cannot stand the idea of playing something she hates for a paycheck."

Your daughter is nine?

That is not a thought I could have formulated at age nine, nor have I met any nine-year-olds who would be likely to come up with such a thought on their own.

Every career, I mean every single one, eventually requires that people do at least a bit of something they don't like, for a paycheck. Not that I am a fan of pushing nine-year-olds into a professional music track; I'm not. I just wouldn't make any suggestions one way or the other regarding what being a professional musician entails.

Signed, a professional musician who on very rare occasions does play something she hates for a paycheck, but for whom that does not negate the joy found in the rest of what she does.

December 15, 2019, 10:55 PM · I dunno. At age nine I was pretty certain that I would never want a job where someone else could tell me what to do and I had to do things that I didn't want to do. :-)

Seriously, Mary Ellen is right.

Edited: December 16, 2019, 12:52 AM · Good replies. Especially nice to read about Kikis daughter (9). But 2-3 hours per day feels a lot at least now (she is 6 and home from pre-school at 3 pm and to bed at 7.30 pm. We practise 45 minutes 6 times a week. She also swims and I teach her English every day, both of which are really important things. And she has to have free time to play outside with her friends.

We live in a small county with only 6 million people in it and not in the capital city region, so there are not that many good teachers around. Distancies are long here.
Frankly put the current teacher is the best for my girl if I compare all the teachers I now personally know. But there are 1-2 good ones in pre-conservatory, but she would really have to be older to manage in the competitive ore-conservatory athmosphere and they do not focuse on the young players so less concert-opportunities. And really the young kids dont seem to be so happy there. But its just a feeling I have got when I have seen their concerts. The regular young players seam to be very nervous and others feel like they are thinking a bit too much of themselves,

But I sort of miss Boy Paganini and Vivaldi g minor is not a good competition concerto, just have to ask about Haydn and Accolay when the time comes. There is only 1 competition here and its once in 2 years, so one has to plan carefully if she wants to take part the next time too. Im not a huge fan of everything baroque and baroque tuning makes me feel a bit sick. I like best the 20th century and I think that my daughter prefers anything that can be played strongly and is fun (romantic era probably and vivaldi seasons), which is not a surprise for a 6 year old.

About her future aspirations I only know that she really likes to watch surgical operations on youtube and has said allready 2 years ago that she will be a vet so maybe she will and maybe she wont. But these things are culturarily bound, Im a GP and her godmother is a vet.

My girl does want to play for people, the more fo audience there is the better, but I dont think she is talented enough to be a soloist in these days, the level has gone so high, one sees in youtube 6 year olds playing so advanced that it makes one dizzy

December 16, 2019, 8:03 AM · Vivaldi G minor is certainly a workable competition concerto -- indeed, I won a local competition with it when I was a kid.

However, it's not as advanced a work as the tier of intermediate works often taught pedagogically -- Haydn G major, Accolay, Viotti 22/23, DeBeriot 9, etc. But keep in mind that a book 5 kid isn't yet ready for those works.

No child in Suzuki should be doing Baroque tuning.

December 16, 2019, 9:22 AM · > "There is only 1 competition here and its once in 2 years, so one has to plan carefully if she wants to take part the next time too."

Some competitions, especially at the pre-screen stage, only require you to send video clips (and some money). For example, there is AmericaProtege in US. Not saying you should go for it; just saying you don't have to restrict yourself to local competitions. Consult with your teacher. He/she will have better ideas. By the way, reaching book 5 at age 6 is pretty amazing if she plays well.

December 16, 2019, 9:42 AM · Book 5 at age 6 is especially amazing if you're only practicing 45 minutes a day. Assuming that book 5 is played at P2+ quality (to use the parlance from the other thread).
December 16, 2019, 11:44 AM · Is AmericanProtege legit? So many you find online nationally (esp. if Carnegie Hall is mentioned) seem like the main focus is $$$. Multiple first places, additional fees for award performances, etc..
December 16, 2019, 11:59 AM · Practicing 45 minutes a day at age 6 is amazing just by itself.

My impression of American Protege and such organizations is that there is only one requirement for entry: Whether you can pay the fee. I think they are just profit-generating operations.

December 16, 2019, 1:28 PM · I think many of those organizations are offering a product for sale, and judging by the numbers of buyers, they're quite popular.

I believe that they are for the most part, for-profit organizations that rent out facilities and bring out a "cattle call" of performs in many-hours-long programs who all spend somewhere around 5-10 minutes on stage. Many young performers, to put the "Carnegie Hall Recital" on their list of accomplishments, avail themselves of this opportunity.

December 16, 2019, 2:53 PM · American Protege is definitely a pay-for-play competition. If I remember correctly, they charge you $100 a MINUTE if you want to perform longer than the handful of minutes they allot to you. It's a minimum of $600 to participate, and that doesn't even count accompanist, travel, and recording.

I'm always shocked when kids put this in their bio, especially leading with So and So played at Carnegie Hall as a winner in the American Protege competition.

It's like screaming, "My parents are rich enough to buy me a competition win and some time to play at the little baby hall behind Carnegie Hall."

December 16, 2019, 3:18 PM · Maria, I don't know how logistical this would be, but have you thought about having your young daughter perform more in the community? Community performances aren't easy to organize, though. Have you had a discussion with her teacher about performing opportunities?
December 16, 2019, 4:11 PM · Susan, for impressing people who don't know any better, it works very well. (Ditto the orchestras that perform there, like the "Honors Performance Series" mentioned in a now-deleted thread.) Parents in this area do it to bolster applications for private schools, scholarships etc.

The American Protege is also one of the few "competitions" for adult amateurs.

December 16, 2019, 4:55 PM · "We ought to clarify: the Suzuki Method is a philosophy of teaching, and not really about what pieces are published in the books."

But how can one separate the two? Shouldn't the method and the repertoire go hand-in-hand?

Edited: December 16, 2019, 5:08 PM · I think that the Suzuki philosophy, method. and repertoire are all distinct things, but the norm is that those three things go together. Importantly though, Suzuki was clear that his published pedagogical material is not intended to be used exclusively, nor was it intended to be a complete course of instruction. You will find Suzuki programs where the kids are playing, at pretty young ages, material post-book-10, but still theoretically within the structure of the program, in that they still receive group lessons, participate in play-ins, etc.

By the end of my Suzuki experience as a kid, the program's top string orchestra was basically doing full professional-level repertoire -- we played Britten's Simple Symphony, Grieg's Holberg Suite, the Dvorak and Tchaikovsky string serenades, Mozart Divertimentos, etc. in their standard form (not arrangements). Henry Mazur, at the time Solti's assistant at the CSO, was the conductor. As a nine-year-old. I don't think I could have gotten that experience in any other place. The kids in that top group were generally not playing Suzuki repertoire (or only rarely returning to those books).

December 16, 2019, 11:12 PM · 1-2 good teachers from a pre-cons school can provide you private lessons. Just ask them for the "preparation" to get in the program in 2years.

Depending on the "school" of that good teachers, they will consider your child as a beginner, especially at age of 6.

Music theory, Scales,Etudes, composition theory, etc.

My son attends the non-Suzuki school, and we do have children switching to our school from Suzuki. Most often at age 8-9. And they all start from level 0. Some of them just go through the program faster, than truly beginners, but some NOT, and some even slower, as they need to change habits: Any move from a teacher to a teacher means adjusting posture, bow-hold and other basics. Does not matter, if you move the same "school" or not. And at age of 6, they will do it for sure.

She is just 6, and there is the whole school-years in front of her. Frames and clear line from level to level will help her to stay on the way. If she finishes all Suzuki books by age of 10, what she gonna do after?

BTW, i found a lot in common. My facebook is Ks Ch. Can you PM me? i have something to ask you not in so public space.

Edited: December 17, 2019, 5:16 AM · Thanks again for the replies, it si so interesting to read your views as I have no parents to talk to. Now she is not a prodigy, I can feel it, she is talented but not a prodigy. There are a couple of prodigies I have come accross in my country and my girl certainly is not as talented.

We are sticking with the local free competition once in 2 years, I know some young violinists go to the neighboring countries for competitions but I dont see the point in it. Too much exposure too young and even if the child was supergifted (which mine is not) it is still just a young child and one never knows how they will grow and too much too young is too much. Just waste of money for the ordinary talented kids and too much exposure for the prodigies, Some young non-prodigy starters turn out to be great violinists but some quit or fall behind others when they grow up. And besides my girl is in Book 5, she will be 7 when she finishes it.

She has one 30 min lesson a week and practises 45 minutes 6 times a week, plus orchestra, but I am a good practise partner, so I know what to do in a short practise time to get the best results. I may sweat and get grey hair trying to figure out violin playing (being an amateur pianist) but in the end we do get there.

it also takes a lot of resources to fly around and we just dont have them. She is going to the Suzuki gala though next spring and it will be the first time she flies and the first time in 15 years that we parents fly. That is if none of us will get the flu.... the spring season is usually full of common colds around here.

And what do I call a prodigy. Well, here is a Finnish prodigy age 5, the article is in Finnish, but there is a videoclip of her playing. So it is completely on another level. And they say in the text that they practise an hour per day. She has a chance to be a big name when she grows up :)

December 17, 2019, 4:54 AM · I believe that some people are looking at those low profile competitions the wrong way.

They are actually a cheap and an efficient way of having the opinion of independent third parties. At the same time, they serve as an experience or a warm up on future challenges.

A quick look at the disclosed info about the rules, judges, valuation etc. can give you an idea if a competition of that kind may serve that purpose.

On the other hand; most of the major competitions which really matter has some sort of restriction especially for age. Therefore they are generally not accessible for younger violinists. And yes, Menuhin has a junior category but seems to be an exception...

The rest i'd say mid level as they place within and with a great variation on importance and credibility. So you are not immune.

Having experienced a couple of both low and mid level competitions with my daughter. Our experience were positive. The competition on the latter is a bit more steep but surprisingly not a huge gap like you'd expect. Anyone who places 1st on the former with good/high marks from the judges; has a high chance of making to the finals even a place in the top three on the latter.

The real advantage and difference of the latter is having a chance to meet, work and study with some real seasoned players even some legends depending on the competition. You also get to experience some of those benefits even if you couldn't make it through the first couple of rounds. They don't throw you away. That is priceless...

Finally; you still pay. The last competition my daughter attended a couple of months ago were a 10 day, 4 round one. We spent close to 5.000 eur just for being there including flight, hotel, food etc. You still pay for the tickets, you still pay for the accompanist, you still pay for the recording...

What i am trying to say is that the low end competitions have their place. You just have to be aware of what purpose they serve and act accordingly. If you know what you want or expect and choose wisely, most of the pay for play
attributes are optional and avoidable. To me both instances were independent expert opinions for 75 and 100 eur. If you want to be in Carnegie Hall from the other side of the world that is on you.

December 17, 2019, 7:43 AM · At last year's Suzuki conference, Rachel Barton Pine presented on Baroque performance and her daughter was part of the demonstration. I don't remember the details but for sure her violin (1/8 or 1/4 size) was not in Baroque tuning.

How philosophy and repertoire can be separated:
- Any of the non violin instruments
- Suzuki teachers in a certain program (I forget where) had come up with an alternative repertoire sequence because they needed music more known/relatable to the population they were working with
- At a summer institute, someone had shared about taking an extended family member into their home and teaching/reaching the young person in a way resembling how they interact with Suzuki students/families, even though what was taught was not even music
- String orchestra using non Suzuki pieces is part of my program, and even my intermediate students who are in the local symphony's youth orchestra (Lydia's entire list has appeared on the last few years' repertoire) have a beneficial and satisfying class experience with us

"Teaching Suzuki" absolutely means different things to different people. My conducting mentor likes to say "Suzuki kids can't read" - true in some regards, false in others, in any case a long, off-topic tangent. A sole proprietor teacher's operation will be necessarily different from a larger school's. In another thread, someone mentioned (paraphrase) number notation as used in Suzuki. I didn't want to get into it there but for example, that's neither a defining feature of Suzuki, nor absent from "non Suzuki" (same goes for box violins and private lessons at age 3 - I don't do those either).

The name does tend to attract assumptions though, which is why I still say it's "the teacher, not the method" or "the teacher, not the label".

Edited: December 17, 2019, 8:31 AM · I dunno--the correlation between family wealth and "competitive" string and piano playing seems pretty tight--today even more so than some 30-40 years ago when my peers were competing. I'd wager winning at American Protege is actually cheaper than achieving a win at a "real" national (U.S.) competition. Lessons, rehearsals, collaborative pianists, summer camps, master classes, audition tapes, instruments--all need to be chosen very carefully for the latter. I've probably missed some expenses. The cheap way is just to enter American Protege with whatever you've got and pay 100 bucks an extra minute.
December 17, 2019, 9:41 AM · " I believe that some people are looking at those low profile competitions the wrong way.
They are actually a cheap and an efficient way of having the opinion of independent third parties."

My impression of American Protege is that the only independent third party opinion in existence concerns whether the parent's check will clear.

December 17, 2019, 10:40 AM · @Maria Sorry for shifting the topic earlier. It seems that you are thinking about relatively easy concertos that can be used for local competitions. You can find Jubin's graded repertoire and various members' concerto sequence from this forum:

There is also Dorothy's concerto sequence (towards the end of the first link) and Sassmannshaus' graded repertoire:

Note that a piece easy to one person may be hard to another. These sequences are not always consistent, but they might give you a rough idea. You mentioned Accolay. It is a student concerto, I think, not post-Suzuki.

My daughter was in a standard Suzuki program and switched to her current teacher in the middle of book 5. Then we realized how much technical foundation (especially the right hand) she was lacking. Her Suzuki teacher did teach techniques in individual Suzuki piece, but the intensity seemed not adequate in comparison to studying dedicated etudes. As others said, that might be because of the teacher, not the program. I don't know the teaching style of other teachers in the program.

Edited: December 17, 2019, 2:39 PM · Marry Ellen wrote

"My impression of American Protege is that the only independent third party opinion in existence concerns whether the parent's check will clear."

I didn't know about that competition. But as i have explained further in my post; a quick search could reveal if it is capable of serving the purpose you've quoted.

To be honest; you are right, that one clearly seems to be not capable. But it also does not negate my suggestions.

December 17, 2019, 5:14 PM · I believe, at age of 6, parents can and should control and adjust the child's development pathway.
If you find the violin lessons to be relevant for your child on a long term, you need to find a long-term program for her. If you decided against local music school, you can follow ABRMS.
Your current teacher, or a teacher from your local music school can guide your child after she finishes Suzuki.
Without new aims, it will be super difficult for her to stay motivated. Especially when the real school starts and all other kids have no homework.

You now judge your child comparing her to exceptional children, and it is wrong.
"Talent" is an initial desire to master something, the rest is a hard work for the entire life, no matter what you do.

She is talented, from what you write, but she needs to learn how to work hard, as any other child needs.
Violin is not something you do not study if you are not a future super-star. One can play and enjoy himself, no need to be professional.
But violin is not something you can study a bit, or a half-way. Stopping after Suzuki means you spent your money for nothing. You already invest a lot. You will need to invest much more in a future. But at the end she will be happy to be able express herself through violin music.

Edited: December 22, 2019, 9:54 AM · Our daughter certainly had some help from grownups reaching that conclusion but it wasn't from us!

Paul, she is getting better about understanding that performing isn't all about her and she enjoys playing pieces that people enjoy - to a point. She seems more interested in other things these days including writing and coding but she still wants to continue lessons so we're letting her carry on.

Maria, as for competitions, our daughter has done a bunch, from small local ones to more splashy ones, mostly on piano. I agree that there are many benefits in participating but I think you can get very similar experiences by doing other types of public performances like masterclasses. Her favorite way to get feedback is having private lessons from teachers/performers she admires, with her teacher's permission of course.

Her piano's teacher doesn't normally teach students longer than 4 years as she believes it's rare to find teachers who are such masters that their students need no one else. Our daughter started both violin and piano when she was 3 years old and her current teachers who are so perfect for her now would have been so wrong for her at that age. I would focus on meeting your daughter's current needs and re-evaluate as needed. For us, we knew we found the right teacher when we stopped worrying and started trusting.

December 22, 2019, 2:16 AM · > But how can one separate the two?
> Shouldn't the method and the repertoire go hand-in-hand?

The way I look at it, there is a philosophy of teaching espoused by Suzuki, which is the abstract part of the pedagogy, focused on primary language-like development for musical skills, and with it, the more concrete part of it defined by the repertoire sequence in the books originally designed for the violin.

The abstract part is insightful and applicable across many kinds of learning, but the concrete part is a singularly defined path that may not work for everyone.

What I think many people missed out on is the advice Suzuki gave to many of his students that intended to become teachers: to take what they learned and come up with their own way to approach his ideas. This is why the zealots who insist on only using the books with no supporting repertoire and/or try to create vast sets of rules and regulations about how the philosophy should be applied have missed the point entirely.

Also misguided is the idea that one "switches" from Suzuki. I'm not even sure what that means...abandon Tonalization (long tones)? Stop playing the Twinkle rhythms (now that's a mistake too many players make)? The number of young players I see who have been playing for years but can't produce a proper ringing tone or execute effective eighth-sixteenth-sixteenth rhythms reveals a lot about the cavalier dismissal of the fundamentals covered in the first book. It doesn't even have to be the Suzuki repertoire either, after all, he didn't invent this stuff--he just packaged it effectively up to a certain point; there is a lot of other pedagogical material out there that does the exact same tings. As one might notice, I'm not a fan of the later books, so I don't recommend them at all, but I think the philosophy as a whole is quite sound, and worth serious study and application.

Edited: December 22, 2019, 2:48 AM · I see the same thing in Open University students: there is a problem letting go of the apron strings.
December 23, 2019, 3:37 PM · To Gene:
Switching means transition from aural and intuitive methods of learning to traditional analytical way of studying.

Suzuki is not just another philosophy of teaching, it is also another philosophy of learning.

Imagine two points "Start" and "Finish", which are connected with two different curves, which are getting far from each other somewhere in the first third of curves, and slowly getting closer and closer, when approach "Finish".

Now, imagine a kid, who decided to come from one curve to another one. it is easy around the "start", but harder and harder with advancing. However, at some point of high level the curves are so close to each other, that they are practically the same heading to the same target, and one does not notice when jumps/switches/follows the joint route.

When children switch at age 8-9-10, as they usually do (the reasons are subject for discussion), they are at the most distant point. They literally can not reach the other curve and fell down to the "Start" point or land somewhere close to that.

December 23, 2019, 3:37 PM · To Gene:
Switching means transition from aural and intuitive methods of learning to traditional analytical way of studying.

Suzuki is not just another philosophy of teaching, it is also another philosophy of learning.

Imagine two points "Start" and "Finish", which are connected with two different curves, which are getting far from each other somewhere in the first third of curves, and slowly getting closer and closer, when approach "Finish".

Now, imagine a kid, who decided to come from one curve to another one. it is easy around the "start", but harder and harder with advancing. However, at some point of high level the curves are so close to each other, that they are practically the same heading to the same target, and one does not notice when jumps/switches/follows the joint route.

When children switch at age 8-9-10, as they usually do (the reasons are subject for discussion), they are at the most distant point. They literally can not reach the other curve and fell down to the "Start" point or land somewhere close to that.

Edited: December 23, 2019, 4:39 PM · I'm not sure I buy into this fundamental divide between "aural/intuitive" and "analytical" learning.

If a student needed such a massive change at age eight or nine, I'd surmise that they're getting poor instruction, which is not limited to any one method.

Edited: December 24, 2019, 1:18 PM · I completely agree with Gene.

I switched from Suzuki to "conventional" non-Suzuki as a 9 year old in book 6 and I did not move backwards even a tiny bit in the transition. Yes, the change in teacher resulted in some slight technical modifications but nothing dramatic. (I would experience that later going from a pretty pure Galamian approach to a very pure Auer approach.) Going back to square zero suggests very poor previous teaching.

Edited: December 24, 2019, 1:23 PM · Well, I have to say that I have done a lot of other things in home practise with my daughter, in addition to the things that the teacher has advised. Maybe some one will remember that I was the one who taught the so called perfect pitch to my girl. I asked a lot here and then read a lot and then devised my own way of teaching the pitches to her and it did work. She has a perfect pitch now (not an inborn absolute pitch but a very usable sense of pitches). She also started reading the music at the age of 4 as she has a somewhat bad memory. Wrote a whole lot of exercises for her back then in addition to doing the ”I can read music”-book. We have done also a whole lot of other excercises with both hands that I just have figured. Plus she has done a lot of exercises she has herself figured out, just by fiddling with her violin.

I can imagine some teacher would call me simply trouble and some would call me imaginative, depending on the flexibility of the teacher :D But a clear majority of the things we have tried has actually worked and made her playing better. And luckily me and my girl seem to have a similar sense of music. Carved from the same wood as they say, undoubtedly she has a lot of her own ideas too which makes us argue lol.

So doing Suzuki in out case is not the ”pure” form of Suzuki. So she has none of the bad sides of doing Suzuki like troubles in reading music. Pure suzuki just isnt enough, if one only uses the exercises in the book, one really goes blindfolded, better results come by trying different things. And teaching analytical skills too.

But the best thing in Suzuki Philosophy is that by doing it most of the children can learn to play violin. Not very well, but they still play with enjoyment and have a sense of achievement and selfworth, so Suzuki is such a good thing. There is always a very good athmosphere in student recitals and one can clearly see that everyone is valued however well they play.

I only wish that I had had a Suzuki teacher as a 10 year old piano player who wanted to get a sense of the violin playing. But I didnt so I did not last longer that 6 months with a very boring Russian style teaching and thought myself not musical enough for violin when actually it turns out I can learn pretty easily violin techniques. Well Im not actually learning to play but still its clear now that Im not completely hopeless with violin as I believed for 30 years.

December 24, 2019, 1:16 PM · Lydia, what is Galamian approach and what is an Ayer approach?

Edited: December 24, 2019, 1:34 PM · As has been previously noted in this thread, Suzuki never intended his repertoire books to be the only pedagogical material used. He also wrote etude books but he expected that students would also learn scales, exercises and etudes as their teachers saw fit.

Suzuki teaching also has a rich oral tradition, passed on through teacher training, institutes etc. -- and now the Internet -- with a wealth of additional teaching ideas, exercises, practice toys, and various tricks for teaching young children and keeping them engaged. Modern Suzuki teacher training contains instruction on when and how to teach music reading (starting with note flash cards as soon as kids know their alphabet), when and how introduce scales, the teaching of music theory, rhythm exercises, and traditional exercise and etude books.

Children who learn via Suzuki probably have a higher probability of playing well than children taught conventionally, due to higher parental commitment and involvement.

December 24, 2019, 1:44 PM · The Galamian style is the modern American approach to technique. That's the spread-fingered bow hold, sound production that tends to emphasize being very near the bridge, thumb placed across from the index finger on the left hand.

The Auer style is the Russian school exemplified by Heifetz It has a higher level for the right elbow, with the hand placed a little further up the bow and the fingers closer together, with the index finger playing a greater role in transmitting the weight of the arm into the string. The left hand is placed more "centered", with the thumb closer to being across from the second finger.

Most Suzuki teachers teach a physical approach that reflects the way they themselves play, which may follow any of the various traditions -- Russian, Franco-Belgian, or Galamian/American.

December 25, 2019, 6:46 PM · However, the discussion was about the future development of a talented child, who completes the Suzuki program at age of 7, and is too young to start at the conservatorium. And there are several scenarios:
1) she stays with the current Suzuki-teacher as long, the teacher is capable to challenge her. And then what? Who did this pathway? How did it work for you?
2) she stays with the current teacher, but switch the goal. In stead of to complete Suzuki, she complete ABRMS with all the theoretical parts. Getting papers and grades.
3) she switches to a new teacher for private lessons and adapt a new style for public conservatorium and the youth orchestra to join them as soon as the child is ready. As Maria mentioned, there are 1-2 good teachers to ask for private lessons.

Edited: December 25, 2019, 7:03 PM · It’s interesting you mention the differences between the different schools of violin playing. Last year when I started studying violin performance with my professor, she changed a lot of how I held everything and a lot of the stuff I was taught by my other teachers. It was interesting to see the differences.
Edited: January 2, 2020, 3:49 AM · K CH, actually no my girl will not finish all ten Suzuki books at the age of 7. Far from it. She is now in Book 5 and is 6 years. Given the pieces in book 6 and above I dont think think them being the best pieces to play so I was asking for recommendations for what is left out from Book 6 and above. So that I could ask her teacher later on for supplements, I would think that my girl would be in book 7 when she turns 8, but as I dont play violin much myself it is hard to say how things go. And it depends also what else is she doing, as now she is not progressing with the Suzuki book because she is training for her first competition and after that for the London Suzuki Gala. She allready plays with an orchestra in her music school.

Our situation here in the North of Europe in a medium size city is so that she is now in a music school and she has the option to go to a pre-conservatory program, but the particular conservatory has some problems so Im not transferring her there, not yet at least. She is too young for that.

There are two other options if she is talented enough, which obviously we dont yet know. There is a nation-wide small program for very very talented violinists after age 9 which means teaching-periods 2-4 times a year 3 hour drive from here and then there is pre-university program after age 13 also if she is talented enough, but that would mean going frequently a 2 hour journey to a capital city and we cannot manage that. Also she cannot manage school well if she travels a lot plus plays a lot, so that is out. And then of course there will be summer camps every summer after she is 10 if she wants and if we have the money for the.

And that is it, no private teachers here for talented players as almost all of the best teachers teach in a state sponsored music schools or conservatories. Our society does not function that way that if you pay enough you get the best of the best. And that is a very good thing too because we do have a limit on money and time. If she turns out to be talented enough she will be offered places in the best programs with the best teachers (well those teachers that are viewed best, one never knows in reality) but otherwise she will either continue in the music school or the pre-conservatory that is close to us and then move into other things when she is older. And in that case she will need supplements for Suzuki books and also post-Suzuki pieces.

I must mention that her Suzuki teacher is not ”just” a Suzuki teacher as in the States where there is I understand plenty of Suzuki-teachers that only teach a couple of books and cannot play really well themselves, our system is so that you first become a general violin teacher from a conservatory at least and then take Suzuki teaching courses. So there is a higher standard than those teachers in the States that have only Suzuki qualifications. We do not follow ABRSM system but have a system of our own.

January 2, 2020, 11:37 AM · I will note that in the US, most Suzuki teachers hold either a degree in performance or a degree in music education, and then pursue Suzuki training. (There is "long-term" training that's typically embedded in an MM program as well, in which Suzuki training is done as part of a student's coursework, but this is very rare.)

However, it's possible to graduate with a degree without being a first-rate player. I imagine this is true outside the US as well. In theory, Suzuki's teacher-training-audition journeys are looking for a teacher to play at the level of someone who has gotten a bachelor's in music, and for the comprehensive audition, at the level of an MM graduate.

In the Suzuki training class I took, most of my classmates held an MM, were currently MM candidates, or were taking a gap to work while preparing for an MM audition. (Some of them had a BME or a BA Music rather than BM performance for their undergrad.) Most were already experienced teachers. The playing levels varied wildly, however. Most of them opted for the Bach A minor-based audition or the Suzuki Seitz/Vivaldi audition, rather than the Mozart 4/5-based audition, probably due to the perceived difficulty of the Mozart.

January 2, 2020, 1:42 PM · Thanks Lydia for the clarification. Yes it is probably true everywhere that not everyone who graduates plays very well. And it is really hard to know if someone plays well or excellent if one is not a violinist of some standard. One only has to trust gut feeling and being in a peripheria one also has limited choices. And then there are other considerations. Not everyone is a good teacher however well they play.

But alas, I am confident that if my daughter turns out to be a an excellent young violinist which I dont actually think will happen, she will somehow get offered the opportunities she needs. Just need to keep sure that she gets to play the other important pieces in addition to Suzuki.

Edited: January 3, 2020, 4:54 AM · Yesterday I bought the Baerenreiter Bach double, partly because I don't like Suzuki's presentation and partly because Suzuki only has the first movement. And so a natural way to go is to find anything you like in Suzuki and get a complete edition of it (unsimplified if Suzuki has simplified it) and learn the missing movements. After that anything you like.

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