Études Books Route vs. Complete Methods Books Route

Edited: July 21, 2021, 4:44 PM · Hi.
I always hear you must study kreutzer, rode, mazas, etc. to be a very good violinist.
but if you just go though the Method books from start to finish you cannot be a good violinist too?
like take Auer's complete violin course, or Hohman books, or Maia Bang book, etc. they all teaches everything about the violin up to the most difficult things (i think)... but even so do you really MUST study the standart étude books like kreutzer, etc or if not you will not be a good violinist?
pieces by Bach, Beethoven, Mozart does need these etude books to be studied?
if so, what is the point of the Violin Methods after the first years? the last 8th, 10th book of a method is irrelevant because you will already be migrated to etude books?
i want your opinion about all of this... thanks in advance!

Replies (17)

July 21, 2021, 10:50 PM · actually this is a really good question.
the reason responses are so slow is the answer is not simple. If there is one…
July 21, 2021, 10:53 PM · The materials themselves are only one piece of the puzzle.

Each musician's growth technically and musically is a different puzzle to solve, and an experienced and observant instructor is able to guide them through a logical flow of basics, scales, and studies/etudes to build the essential foundation of *skills* for music-making.

The contents of those books represent different possible paths to achieving some of the common goals in skill development for playing the instrument--with the understanding that much of these studies are focused on a specific (some might call narrow) band of the repertoire.

There are certainly other skills that cannot be found in these etude books, and must be learned from other sources.

July 21, 2021, 11:57 PM · As far as I know, there's no violin method out there that truly goes beyond an early intermediate level. The Maia Bang books stop at an early intermediate level (at least to judge by the volumes available on IMSLP).

There are so many gaps in technical coverage in the later Suzuki books that I don't think it would be possible for a student to learn without supplementing the Suzuki Method repertoire.

July 22, 2021, 12:18 AM · Greetings,
whereas more rigid schools or teachers (such as in the Soviet system) will make a student go through many of these books from beginning to end without fail to inculcate the highest level of technical excellence in =all= aspects of playing (as above: course books don't) ; force memorising to become second nature and -build stamina- for international competitions, this does not really have to be the norm. A good teacher will be selective of studies based on a students needs and interests. These studies not only fill in the many inevitable gaps in course books (with all due respect Maia Bang et al) but are intended in many cases to be of value to the student for the rest of their lives. A young student will learn Kreutzer no 2 (Zhakar Brons students have to learn every Kreutzer etuded once when they are young and once again at a higher level when they are nearly mature artists) at her level and then (hopefully) will us ethat etude in many ways for the rest of her life. I learnt it for detache when I was a kid, 2nd and 4th position when I was at college , practcicing a variet of bow techniques when I was a pro and now I use it for collee in all parts of the bow alternatings ens, going to the midfdle and so on. At my funeral I hope to have it played by a koto group consisting of drunk sumo rikishi.
July 22, 2021, 8:35 AM · I think that if you check it out you will find that the great players have worked with teachers and coaches for many years and may even continue some of those relationships into the early years of their professional careers.

Teachers and coaches should know all the little tricks that make "the difference" and can literally see what your muscles are doing under your skin and advise methods to relieve "stress" and recommend etudes to relieve related problems.

I think that if someone, on their own, goes the "etude route" from the level of (for example) Vivaldi A minor they will continue to have the problems they have already developed.

Edited: July 22, 2021, 12:03 PM · I believe some of the method books advance too quickly and therefore technique is not fully developed sufficient to the repertoire that is presented in the highest-level books. Case in point: Suzuki. I think it would be pretty hard to play a creditable Mozart D Major Concerto with cadenzas (Book 9) with only the repertoire up through Book 8 (such as Bach A Minor and the Eccles Sonata) as preparation. Teachers therefore fill in the technical development either with additional repertoire (such as "Solos for Young Violinists" by Barbara Barber) and/or with scales and studies.

Studies have two pedagogical advantages. First, they're something you can work on purely for improvement value, because you're unlikely to ever perform them. So you don't need to memorize them, although some teachers do require that. Second, they often help isolate a specific technical issue so that this can be improved more rapidly than just by using repertoire. There are more trills in Kreutzer, for example, than there are in the entirety of the concerto repertoire. (Okay maybe that's a stretch but you get the idea). Some teachers also allow students to work on etudes as purely technical studies without insisting that they be played musically, but I believe this is a mistake, as many etudes have some interesting musical content and there is certainly no harm in developing one's ability to bring that to the fore.

July 22, 2021, 12:07 PM · Pretty much no one seems to teach entire method book series (except for occasionally the ones that only have 3-4 books). Even the most die -hard Suzuki teachers pretty much all supplement with scales/etudes/additional repertoire at some point. They might teach all 10 books, but that’s not all they use.
The Auer books go pretty far technically, but at least the ones I’ve seen are very dry (more or less a somewhat more concise collection of Sevcik), so I would think you would have to assign other things just to keep most students interested.
The longer I teach, the more I think the reason there are so many method books is just because each teacher has a slightly different preferred sequence, and way of introducing concepts, so many write method books so they have all of their ideas in one place. The books work for other teachers with varying degrees of effectiveness and inspire others to write their own.
There are many ways to develop good violin technique (and probably even more ways to develop mediocre technique). There are standards that are there for good reasons and others that could probably be questioned more. Every good teacher I know is continuously exploring the best methods and materials and creating their own.
Edited: July 22, 2021, 5:35 PM · Thanks for all the replies!
I asked this question because i am going though a method book (Joachim violin school) and a couple of very renomed teachers here in Brazil are teaching using only Etude books (starting with Sitt just after suzuki 1 being completed) and some concertinos too.
They say you can go all the way to virtuoso only using etudes and nothing more (ok, maybe scales too), and i'm trying to go all the way to the end of Joachim's method, and he finishes it with Brahms' concerto in D. isn't very hard to play this?
also, i read all of maia bang, Henley, Hohmann, Auer and some other masters' methods and almost all of them are very, very virtuosistic at the end. so my question is even more curious about this.
Henley's violin school in special seems to be very high standards of virtuosity on his last books (and i even never found the 11th and 12th, there isn't one in all of the internet!).
can someone who read the books i mentioned tell me the level of proficiency it's the last pages of each author's final books?
July 22, 2021, 5:15 PM · Of all the things that go into learning to play violin well, I'd rank the method book or etude book very low. There is a set of skills you must learn, and probably all of the well-known method books present most of them well, although probably in slightly different sequences or with different emphasis. Inside yourself is very important- hearing, hands, persistence, practice habits, etc. The teacher is more important than the books, the teacher shows you and corrects you and guides you. Most good teachers could probably teach you without a book if they chose to. If you have the chops to become a virtuoso, the books aren't going to matter. If you don't the books aren't going to matter, either. Your time would be better spent practicing than analyzing all these books!
Edited: July 22, 2021, 5:42 PM · I analyze because me, too, is a teacher, at least for new students on the instrument. I can teach up to suzuki 4 - level proficiency (the pupil can take A minor concerto very well) so i am searching for as much information as possible for how to teach with the best ways available.
I made a folder on my pc, with many folders with each technique/difficulties/everything violin-related, and many sheets from various methods for each of these topics; I use some of them if the pupil is in need of something specific to be learned or corrected.
but i want to know about all these methods for research and curiosity. it's like reading a book instead of write a book. i'm not losing practice time with it, i'm gaining knowledgement from various masters and how to apply each exercise to each of my pupils.
July 22, 2021, 7:28 PM · The third book of the Joachim Violin School isn't a method book in its entirety. The first part of the book has commentary. The second part of the book is simply a collation of Joachim-edited works arranged in chronological order of composition, which means that it starts at Bach and ends on Brahms.
July 23, 2021, 1:02 AM · There are no traditional method that is meant to be used without etudes on the side.
Auer used Kreutzer, Rode & Dont on the side
Crickboom used his own collection (of famous etudes) called "Les Maistres
du Violon"
Henley is not a "method" book, but a pregressive collection of exercises/etudes, mostly composed by himself.
Joachim used etude books written both by the famous guys and wrote his own.
As far as I know, there have never been a teacher that just used a "Method" book or only "etude" books.

The method book route have always been mixed with etudes.
The etude route have always been mixed with pieces.

Edited: July 23, 2021, 10:27 AM · Not all teachers use etudes and teach everything from method books, for the rep, and other pieces. My teacher uses this approach and it works well...but I've no other experience with which to compare. I only see the results in my progress this last 2.5 years after a 45 year hiatus. I also have no delusions of becoming professional.
July 23, 2021, 11:03 AM · It is not an either/or question. Most will do both method series and etudes. I have had a few students go through all 5 books of Doflein, supplemented with etudes, Sevcik exercises and short solos. Etudes are like weight training for athletes. They feature one technical topic with a page or two of repetitions. Etudes can not be essential because there were great players before those books were written. I don't know of any quality player who has not spent time with Kreutzer.
Edited: July 24, 2021, 12:08 AM · "They say you can go all the way to virtuoso only using etudes and nothing more..."

And will you still have any interest in music when you get there?

As I have said before, in my 6 or 7 years of piano lessons, I only played about 3 études. A piece may have a technical difficulty, but learning to play the piece may be a good way to overcome that difficulty.

My feeling about the 15 thousand violin études available is that I'll start looking at them when I'm good enough to sightread them.

July 23, 2021, 8:54 PM · Lydia Leong:
can everything on the 2nd part of third book be played by the pupil after he studied all the previous books and first part of 3rd book?
if the answer is yes, so can you consider Joachim's books go from zero to virtuoso? (or at last something very high more than suzuki 10) or still don't consider it and there are much more to be learnt?

Mattias Eklund:
so Henley isn't a method book, but can be used as one with the help of a teacher. it teaches everything from zero to very high level with some good concerti on the last book. so i included Henley on the list.
taking this in consideration this books goes from zero to virtuoso or i'm still wrong?

I'm sorry for those questions, i'm really trying to understand how these books can be taught to a pupil.
i'm currently using each book with each pupil (with one i'm using Maia Bang, other i'm using Hohmann, and so on - adding other things from my folders if they need something specific at some point in time) and i will see where each of them go when they finish the books (a long journey ahead)

July 23, 2021, 11:56 PM · Diego - it doesn't matter how you look at it, even the Henley wasn't intended as the sole material, even in his 10th book there are Cadenzas to concertos, but not the concertos. And he edited some etude books as well printed by Augener.

But what if there is a good teacher?
Well a good teacher, with some inspiring material can use almost whatever, but that is incredible rare.
Most teachers will do as Crickboom mentions in his method, that every good teacher uses 5 things (and he is talking late 1800s and forward):
1. A Method (either written or an experienced teacher)
2. Shorter and longer pieces (Anything from unaccompanied pieces to Concertos and virtuoso pieces)
3. Technical works (either a book (like Sitt, Sevcik or others) and/or made up by the teacher)
4. Etudes (Kayser/Dont op 37, Kreutzer, Rode, Dont/Gavines, Wieniawski, Paganini)
5. Music intended to be played together with others (chamber and orchestral)

And all these 5 are supposed to be used at the same time.

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