How to study etudes Mazas Kreutzer Dont Rode

Edited: March 9, 2020, 9:44 PM · Gladly, my teacher recently gave me both Mazas op 36.Vol 1 and Dont op 37 with 4 years and months of teaching basics and Kayser. She told me after spending a period for two new studies she would teach me Dont op 35 and Rode, but omitting Kreutzer 42 as this is too burdensome and time consuming for an amateur adult. (I guess I like French etudes)

There will be no problem to go to Dont Op 35 directly from Op 37 ? Should I need to take more studies before tackling that fearful op 35? for example continuing Mazas even to Vol 2 and Vol 3

Thank you for inputs in advance
Shim

Replies (19)

March 9, 2020, 9:03 PM · I'm confused why someone wouldn't teach Kreutzer, which is full of useful etudes that you'll probably come back to your entire life. Not to say that you couldn't hunt down similar etudes in other tomes, but Kreutzer is considered the bible of intermediate violin technique for good reason. You don't necessarily need to do every single etude in it.

My teacher taught Dont op. 37 and 38 alongside Kreutzer, and then when we finished those, Dont op. 35. The difficulty jump between Kreutzer and Dont op. 35 is fairly large (at least when comparing the early Kreutzer etudes with Dont op. 35).

It's not uncommon to do, for folks who like French etudes, to do Rode and Gavinies after Kreutzer.

Edited: March 10, 2020, 1:56 AM · How to study?
By having your teacher prescribe according to need.
When I played the piano I was never prescribed more than 3 Czerny studies. Yet violinists attempt 500 studies.

There was a time when I asserted, or implied, that an adult amateur was doing better than most adult amateurs if they had done all of Kreutzer and nothing else.

That's probably still true, although I've acquired Sitt, Wohlfahrt, Trott and Mazas since then - I decided to skip Whistler and go straight to his sources.

I must, must, must, must make sure I only ever acquire pdfs of Rode, Gavinies, Dont and Paganini! (in fact I've got all of those except for Gavinies. IMSLP, here I come, lol!)

March 10, 2020, 7:33 AM · I wonder if Kreutzer isn't to many violinists what the bible is to President Trump: His favorite book which obviously he has never read...?

I never studied Kreutzer with a teacher. Finding the literature full of praise for the etudes I bought the book on my own and decided to study them. But in practice I found the studies unbelievably boring--compared to the ones by Fiorillo or Mazas. I began working on some of them, trying to find one that would not bore me at first reading already. Eventually I gave up. I haven't even kept the book.

I don't doubt that for people whoa have the discipline to withstand the boredom these studies are useful. But if your teacher spares you the labor, I say: Go for it! There is more than one way to learn playing the violin.

As to the title question: Follow the guidance from your teacher. She will know how much difficulty is right for the moment.

March 10, 2020, 8:34 AM · Etudes, etudes, etudes...

I've done a few. But if they were all my teachers ever gave me, I would have quit long ago. Like Gordon suggested, they exist to target specific shortcomings in technique—not to build repertoire >.<

March 10, 2020, 9:03 AM · You did it all wrong, Albrecht - you should have played all of Sevcik first. Then you'd have found Kreutzer fascinating!
March 10, 2020, 11:01 AM · Mazas is more melodic. Kreutzer goes through harmonic modulations that make sense for keeping the exercise in a somewhat musical context, but there is never any pretense that he's not writing a technical exercise.

I like Kreutzer because it avoids the dryness of doing Sevcik, still has a harmonic sequence (which is useful for having an exercise that is more like what will show up in repertoire), and yet is densely concentrated technique.

There's enough of a tune that quite a few people have good chunks of Kreutzer memorized.

From my perspective, the quality of an etude book is measured in "amount of progress made per minute invested in working on the tude".

March 10, 2020, 11:04 AM · I'm an adult student and I studied Kreutzer. It's tough and worth doing. The playing is a little different than Rode - I think jumping from Dont 37 to Dont 35 with nothing in between is a waste of time. Dont 35 has a lot of stuff that you can work out in a simpler manner in Kreutzer. I found Kreutzer pretty damn dull musically, but I think it's pretty essential. Rode though, is great, and I feel like it directly translates to playing more than any other set of etudes, but it really helps to have the foundation of Kreutzer before tackling Rode.

If your teacher has had success skipping Kreutzer with students, give it a shot, but if this is a concern over time and being an adult, I think this plan is going to be counterproductive.

I started on Dont 37 about 7 or 8 years ago, and I'm towards the end of Rode now - If you are highly motivated, you might do it in half the time. Either way, it's a long journey, and the etudes themselves are the shortcuts.

March 10, 2020, 11:17 AM · I appreciate Kreutzer as an adult student more than I ever did as a kid. It's great for isolating a technical problem and really working it out. You can just focus on the technical problem, without having to worry about a million other technical issues, musicality, phrasing, and a billion other concerns that you face when you encounter the problem in repertoire.

Besides I've read that Heifetz used some of the Kreutzer etudes as encores. Apparently, Heifetz found them interesting enough.

March 10, 2020, 11:54 AM · Kreutzer, certainly not the most enjoyable set of etudes for me, but certainly a set I see as essential. I still know 1-14, off by heart, after years and years of them being a fundamental part of my teacher's curriculum. I take far more delight in Mazas. What ever the etude, they are skills that will stay with you forever, and as Lydia said, you will revisit them.

Ultimately, take the guidance from your teacher. Hopefully she will be using the etudes you need to help develop good skill and technique as you progress further with your learning.

March 10, 2020, 12:18 PM · For me the value of Kreutzer is this: if you want to play a Kreutzer etude in tempo, in tune, with good tone, and you don't have the technique to do that, it will be immediately very clear, painfully obvious in fact, what exactly is your weakness. You can then work on that, using the Kreutzer etude itself, as each of the etudes clearly focuses on a specific technical requirement. And the coverage of all of them combined is very broad. I learned a lot from them.
Edited: March 10, 2020, 11:30 PM · As a counterpoint to the OP's teacher, my teacher of over 40 years ago had the opposite view of what should be taught to amateurs. He taught Kreutzer, and Sevcik, for 6 years, and some of the Paganini Caprices in the seventh year, skipping the other etude books.
I came out OK.
March 11, 2020, 12:02 AM · Any discussion of etudes must be led by the technical and musical skills that the student needs to develop. An etude allows for focused practice on specific areas of the technique, and one of those challenges is making music out of simple materials. One of my teachers was fond of saying, "it isn't the music that is boring...it's the musician!"

There are many excellent etudes covering many fundamental playing skills for the violin in Kreutzer. I wouldn't dream of skipping it for any student, child or adult.

Edited: March 13, 2020, 6:28 PM · Thank you for opinions. Although my teacher well recognizes the value of the Kreutzer 42 and said she teaches it, it seems that she wishes to organize techniques in the etudes and to make me equipped with some level of skill more efficiently for famous pieces.

If such methodology works well on me how can I want else more. Even if not, I may still have another time to study Kreutzer.

March 11, 2020, 7:07 AM · Maybe your teacher thinks your trills are good enough. That's already a reason to skip half of Kreutzer.
March 11, 2020, 1:39 PM · Many paths lead to Rome. If your teacher is experienced, then she may have a very sensible path forward for you, even if it's unconventional. If you trust your teacher, then go for it. You can always ask her more questions.

My teacher used to give me some options, presumably, because I was an adult beginner, and adults might have certain specific goals in mind and may not be looking to take the long path that a child starting wouldn't have reason to question. I always indicated that I wanted to do the thing she thought best from a pedagogical standpoint, even if it meant more work. Although I have been neglecting my Bach for quite some time...

March 12, 2020, 8:29 PM · If a teacher gives too many studies then perhaps they are lacking imagination! So many study books I feel are bad writing. Usually the 'composer' runs out of ideas by the 6th page and precedes to fill the book with filler. I'm not saying studies are bad - just that there needs to be balance. Most of what you need to learn to play music you will learn playing music. Give me solo Bach over Kreutzer trill studies any day!
Edited: March 13, 2020, 6:19 PM · Christopher, that surprising news for me. I think we absolutely don't have to waste time to play the notes so filled by the filler. I wonder whether you feel such lacks of idea in Mazas, Dont, Kreutzer and Rode. (add. I believe these works should be my basis to leap to the pieces even to major concertos)

In fact I heard a mention from a violinist around that etudes are of little use to develop one's ability to playing pieces, similar perspective to you. (add. she has shown winning remarkable achievements from the various competitions from her young age)

March 13, 2020, 12:24 PM · It's true we can only learn to play music by studying music. But it's often the case, especially if our technique is lacking in some fundamental way, that trying to learn music, with its near infinite complexities, will hinder progress. If you have great focus, patience and restraint it's possible to isolate technical passages and use them as etudes. A teacher may choose to work this way. But unless you know exactly what you're trying to achieve, what steps to take, i.e. what to do in what order (and just as importantly, what not to do) you may end up wasting a lot of time. It sure would be more fun to play Bach instead of Kreutzer, but no amount of Bach is going to correct a faulty trill.
Edited: March 14, 2020, 10:59 AM · We usually expect an étude to concentrate on one thing at a time; but unlike exercises, they are musical compositions, which should develop our sense of harmonic progression, musical sentences and cadences, and meaningful modulations. Thus, instead of "adding" some musicality to the patterns, we can "reveal" it.

I only use those rare études with real musical sense: Spohr, some Dancla and Kayser, no Wohlfart at all, Kreutzer but not Dont (!), Rode and Gaviniès but not Fiorillo. But usually, I go from basics and scales to real music, from which I "extract" study-like passages: life is too short to expend one's energy on fake music.

Edit.
Need I add that any drill, scale or étude must be played absolutely perfectly before moving on, rather than grinding through pages of "filler" on principle.
But then we all know that..


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