Suzuki viola question
In context, I am an amateur classical—fingerstyle guitarist, semi-professional trumpeter and intermediate pianist who took up viola a couple of years ago at age 60 as a project to carry me into retirement. I have no particular design on public performance, but would like to be able to execute some classical and Celtic pieces to my own satisfaction. My teacher is Suzuki based but allows me to branch into outside material of interest. He is a violinist and guitarist and less familiar with the higher volumes of Suzuki viola. All that to say that I am on the last couple of pieces in Suzuki viola 3, and looking ahead to volume 4, I perceive a quantum leap from Bach minuets and gavottes to Seitz, Vivaldi, and Telemann concertos. For those of you familiar with this method, are my fears unfounded? But if so, any advice on transitioning to the concerto literature? Are there some volume “3 1/2” pieces to suggest?
If the particle didn't make the leap, it would never get out of the quantum well - Be the particle.
You might pick up a copy of "Solos for Young Violists, Volume 1" by Barbara Barber. The corresponding violin book is, I believe, geared toward the violin student at approximately the Book 4 level.
We must remember that the Suzuki repertoire was designed on the basis of frequent listening, to "nourish" the ear and ensure good intonation and rhythm; but also creative teaching, where exercises for new challenges are invented "on the fly".
The Peters Edition of the Bach suites is very good, and perhaps the Watson Forbes edition, that is alright.
I play viola "part time" and use the Suzuki books. The viola books progress more rapidly than the violin books do, beginning with book 5. Book 4 seems like a quantum jump but once you begin it you will see it isn't as difficult as it looks. The big thing with book 4 is you are expected to learn more bowing techniques at the same time as starting double stops and other things so the learning is more compressed. Just take it more slowly. Slow and steady wins the race.
As someone who just made the "leap" from viola Suzuki 3 to 4 (I am working on Seitz), I agree with others - just take the leap. It's not the giant step it might seem at first. Every time I look ahead to the next piece or book, I am convinced those are way too advanced for me. And yet, with practice and guidance, they soon are within reach. I'll also support the addition of Solos for Young Violists, Vol 1. As for études, my teacher has added Mazas 30 Etudes Spéciales Opus 36 Vol 1 (viola). Good luck!
Thank you all for these helpful suggestions. As a matter of fact I have one sister who is a pianist that I play with and—don’t laugh here—the other sister plays accordion. I play classical with the pianist and Celtic with the accordionist. Part of my situation is that my teacher is moving away for graduate study in a non-musical field and we will be doing some Zoom, but I am going to be more to my own devices for awhile.
The accordion is a lovely and versatile instrument, fun to play, I have heard, and fun for sing alongs and so forth too.
You can probably still transcribe the accompaniment part of any composition by Paganini or Sarasate on there and experience no change in the music.
I teach viola and use the Suzuki books. I go straight from book 3 into book 4. The last piece in Suzuki Viola Book 3 is from the Bech Cello Suites. In Book 5 you will do 3 movements from the G Major Back Cello Suite and 2 more in Book 6.
I used the Suzuki viola books to "rehab" myself into a "violist." I had performed 7 times on viola in ensembles and a few minor solos from age 40 to about 60+, but every time I played I had to reacquaint myself with reading the alto clef. So I after I bought a new viola 25 years ago I bought Suzuki books 4 -7 (as far as they went at the time) and read through them. It worked to turn my mind into reading alto and treble clefs on viola with no further problems - no longer had to think about it. Finally about 6 years ago I move from violin section to viola about 6 years ago and played there until about 6 months before the pandemic hit. Then when we gained 3 new violists and lost some violinists - I moved back into the violins. I have also played viola in a chamber group all those years - we have ranged from string trios to full 13-piece (13-part) serenades.