Nathan Cole Scale Book--has anyone tried it?
As the title states, has anyone tried out Nathan Cole's new scale book? I am always interested in trying out new ideas in violin.
I just bought the whole kettle of fish (scale book and instructional videos) a few days ago. I'm a scale geek like my violin hero, Jascha Heifetz. (My other hero, Nathan Milstein, did not play scales because he said the scales were already in the music.) I've used the Elisabeth Gilels (Leonid Kogan's wife and great violinist in her own right) scale book for many years and swear by it. Unfortunately, she didn't write a "users manual" to accompany her scale book. I signed up for this new scale course because I'm always looking to learn something new to enrich my playing and teaching. I also happen to have great respect and admiration for Nathan Cole. I'm sure his scale course will be worth every penny. Everything he does is first class.
I'm going to buy it too. It's less expensive than Fischer's book!
Paul it's cheaper but it's a pdf download.
I’m with Buri. I have all Fischer’s books and Nathan’s Scale Book. They are all fantastic and worth every penny. They are numerous violin lessons and a lot cheaper than individual lessons! I have to say this even though I am sure I will offend people - musicians, especially classically trained musicians hardly get enough pay from the contributions they’ve made to our life. If we can’t regularly support them financially in some way, at the very least be very sensitive and refraining from talking about how much they are charging. To do otherwise hurts the dignity of musicians if not our own sensibility. There, I’ve said it.
Simon Fischer's family eats an entirely caviar-based diet.
I don't think so, Christian, especially the year-old baby! Both Simon and Nathan are well worth our support!
Laurie, no sweat. You can get caviar at Costco!
Dear Buri and all, I'm definitely not sniping about Simon's books. Otherwise I wouldn't have bought so many of them. I'm only pointing out that Nathan's book doesn't seem expensive in the grand scheme of things -- even though actually it's more expensive than Flesch or Glommian or Barber scale books by a comfortable margin. That's the trouble with internet conversations is that it's so easy to misunderstand and there's no quick gesture or rejoinder that can smoothly assuage incipient angst.
That's a good find, Mr. Deck, though I would try to add the other edition as well to your collection. Both would be nice to learn, though perhaps you prefer David's less elaborate edition.
I don't own any of the books in the title but I'll consider them when my teacher thinks it's time for me to practise all scales (I'm still learning just a few of them).
Adalberto, IMSLP is one of the best things that came out of the internet. You hear a symphony on the radio, listen to the violins, wonder how that part goes, and you can readily check the notes on IMSLP! Just one example. But when I really want to work on something, I will then buy a printed edition. Best of both worlds, no need to hate IMSLP!
I feel that IMSLP is most useful as a scholarly resource. Like Jean says, you hear something and you want to have a look at the notes, or you want to check out a certain Mozart Divertimento to see if it seems basically playable by your chamber group. But as soon as I have made the decision to work on something, then I order a bound edition. If I bought Nathan Cole's book I would take it to a local independent print shop and pay them to print it on good paper and put a good spiral binding on it. I have done this with out-of-print things that my teacher has given me (mostly by Soviet-era composers; that stuff can be hard to find in print), and when I use the local printer I'm supporting a local business too. I think everyone has a different way to define the boundary between spending money and wasting it. As for the Vitali edition that says "$1.00" on the front, the inside smells faintly of soap. I can't wait to sit down with a lovely cup of coffee at my dining-room table and number the measures -- a task that I curiously enjoy very much as I find it has a Zen-like quality. Like practicing scales.
I'll make a further observation about Nathan Cole, and this is just my own opinion. I have great respect for him as he is a terrific violinist, and he has thought deeply about pedagogy and how to reach people with his methods using modern online tools. And he seems like a genuinely nice guy. But Nathan is also a gifted businessman. He understands that the violin-hobby community, at least within the first world, is wealthy, and he charges what he believes the market can bear for his product. Imagine a summer online course that costs $800, joining, and finding that you are among around 400 who have done the same. You do the math -- and don't lose any zeroes. The same with the book. That's going to be a very lucrative enterprise. Nathan is merely doing his patriotic duty by charging what the market can bear and paying a portion of his winnings back to Uncle Sam. The other side of it is that I personally think it's just fine if someone makes money -- even a lot of money -- if they're doing it by providing a genuinely wholesome product or service. Some people get rich writing mystery novels. We wouldn't have an economy without wholesome
Hear hear, Paul - Capitalism really put the third world in its place so that real Americans like you and I don't have to fly down there and let them know ourselves!
Good points all around. I was not really commenting on the price. Violin playing is an expensive endeavor (my preferred strings are $100 a set). $27 for a PDF is not that objectionable, although I do prefer print.
I didn't say capitalism ended inequality. One doesn't even need to leave the U.S. for proof. I also never argued that capitalism should be unregulated. I believe it should be very closely regulated and highly taxed. Now ... back to scale books.
Dimitri the rationale behind Fischer's book is that he teaches you what you should be practicing for, and how to build yourself up to the point where you can get more from Flesch. If you have (or had) a teacher who does (did) that for you already, then maybe you're fine. But a lot of us had the experience that we only had short lessons as young people and we had repertoire and studies to cover too, so our teachers couldn't (didn't) luxuriate in the kind of meticulous, gradual focus on scale work that Fischer has distilled into his books. Fischer (and perhaps Cole) is for anyone who opens up Flesch or Galamian and wonders, "Okay, I see the notes and the fingerings. Now what?" In fairness to Flesch, his scale book is meant to accompany a larger treatise on violin technique if I am not mistaken -- a treatise unheard-of by 99% of violin students.
Paul - are the Mark O'Connor books bound like the top book in this stack: https://imgur.com/a/96tSR1D (pocket knife sitting on it to weigh it down, this was an example shot for the very small publisher of a bound sheet music book, about 100 pages, that I bought recently)
Mengwei, yes the O'Connor books are in stiff bindings like that. The glossy cover likewise is very stiff. Maybe Mark has figured this out by now.
The Mark O'Connor books are being spiral bound now. Lay flat on the stand. Open easily.
I had pointed out the not-lying-flat problem to the publisher that I mentioned, who was adamant that no one else had an issue. It seems to be physically impossible not to have an issue so I'm a little relieved to be validated. If I want to use the book seriously, I'll have to have it spiral-bound.
After many replies nobody has actually offered anything resembling some kind of review of the new scale book under discussion, which was the original question. Who can offer something?
One thing to add to Buri's excellent comments above is perhaps that Nathan gives some great examples of how you can fill your designated scale-practice time in different ways.
Many thanks Buri for the extensive and informative review! The idea to practice a tricky bowing pattern on scales instead of on the actual music is very nice. I think I already knew about it, but we hear so much and we forget to apply them, that it is very good that someone writes all these scale-practice-related ideas down in one place. So, if I understand it correctly, also from the following review, it is basically a textbook, which is great.