What should I play next?

September 27, 2021, 11:27 AM · I've made a couple of posts recently asking for advice on repertoire and now I need to know what should I play next.
Over the past year and a half or so I have learnt Mozart 3, Bach Partita 2 Allemande, Bach Partita 3 Preludio andMinuet 1, and the Bach Violin Concerto in A Minor. I've also learnt Fiorillo 22, Rode 6, and Brahms Academic Festival Overture Violin 1. What should I play next?

Thank you for your time

Replies (61)

September 27, 2021, 11:29 AM · Why not read over Deberiot 9? See if it’s within your capabilities. Also, see if you like it. I certainly don’t.
September 27, 2021, 11:38 AM · Mozart k304? 2 and 1 violin concertos? Beethoven 5th violin sonata? Viotti 22 (a stretch)?
September 27, 2021, 1:57 PM · I’m not a fan of Deberiot, also I’m not sure if I could play it. As for the Viotti, I might be able too but it would take a little while longer than usual for me to learn it than another piece. I’ll take a look at the other pieces you recommended to see what I think of them, thanks for the help!
September 27, 2021, 1:59 PM · Maybe some Beethoven. Romance no.2 and/or if a good pianist available Spring Sonata (the easiest sonata from the duo aspect in my opinion).
September 27, 2021, 11:44 PM · I second James' suggestions of Beethoven Spring and the Romance No.2.

You might be ready for the Mendelssohn vln concerto, slow movement (2nd), and perhaps the Kreisler Preludium and Allegro. I mean, you've played the Bach Praeludium...

I'd strongly recommend getting hold of a grade syllabus (the list of pieces, not the music itself) - here in Oz it's the AMEB, but the ABRSM in England is similar. The books are cheap and give you heaps of ideas, all graded, so you'll be able to find appropriate pieces and check out recordings online to see if you like them.

Edited: September 28, 2021, 12:41 AM · Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto's 2nd movement is also an option.

The Tchaikovsky and Mendelssohn 2nd movements require a lushness in vibrato and bow control found in the Romantic era that you may not have the ability to do, but they are skills that you'll have to pick up eventually anyways, so why not just try?

Edit: Bach double violin concerto, 1st violin part is also a beautiful option.

Edited: September 28, 2021, 10:53 AM · Is there a link to the syllabus you mentioned Jeremy?

The second movements to the Tchaikovsky and the Mendelssohn are some of my favorite movements out of any concerto I've heard so far, but attempting them now seems daunting.

I've played the Bach Double Violin Concerto 2nd Violin Part, but I haven't yet attempted the 1st Violin part, so I'll take a look at it.

Also Jeremy, you mentioned the Kreisler Praeludium and Allegro along with the Mendelssohn Second movement, which would be best to learn first? Out of the pieces that you guys have recommended so far, what order should I learn them (excluding the Deberiot)?

Edit: Sorry for jumping back and forth among pieces, my brain is a little scattered right now.

September 28, 2021, 5:53 PM · Here's a link to the AMEB syllabus (PDF digital download for $10 - well worth it imo as it gives you a great overview of pieces all graded by difficulty) https://www.ameb.edu.au/shop

It will let you find the pieces you've already played and compare them to similar difficulty ones.

It sounds like it might be a bit too soon for the Mendelssohn and Kreisler...I'd go back to the Beethoven recommendations - great pieces, but just a step below in difficulty. But definitely have a look at the syllabus for heaps of options.

Edited: September 28, 2021, 8:01 PM · Tchaik second movement is not that hard. I didn't find it much harder than "Thais Meditation." Also the Wieniawski No. 2 second movement ("Romance") is a fine piece. For salon pieces there is the Mazurka "Obertass" by Wieniawski (a favorite encore of Ehnes), the Tchaikovsky Melodie (Youtube with Jansen), the beautiful Melodie by Gluck (Heifetz!), and the Rondo from the "Haffner" Serenade by Mozart (it's in the red Kreisler book, find it on Youtube with Kreisler). There is the Brahms Sonatensatz -- I enjoy Mutter's recording. Both of the Beethoven romances are beautiful. Sumptuous youtube videos with Renaud Capucon. The F major has more high stuff, the G major has the double-stopped solo portions. I have performed both -- the F major with orchestra!

The second violin part of the Bach Double is, in my opinion, 1/10 of a notch more difficult than the first violin part. Scandalously neglected is the third movement.

September 29, 2021, 12:20 AM · Paul, I don't actually understand why people say the 2nd part is more difficult than the first. With one exception everything the first plays is played by the second though often in a different key. BTW I have never heard a performance nor seen a recording of the piece without the last movement. If it is neglected then only by violin teachers. And it shares that fate with numerous other works studied in violin lessons...

Mind you there are quite a few last movements one may as well neglect. The one in Haydn's C-Major concerto for example or Bruch.

September 29, 2021, 2:53 AM · Greetings,
I can’t comment on the intrinsic or lack of merits of Bruch’s last movement cf prunes. Nonetheless, I don’t think the violin gets much better than this…
September 30, 2021, 11:07 AM · The Tchaikovsky 2nd movement isn't "Technically" difficult, but the emotion that has to be put into playing makes it difficult in my opinion.

Wow, I have so many pieces to choose from, I don't know what to pick XD

Edited: September 30, 2021, 11:16 AM · Paul mentioned the Brahms sonata movement. That's a good piece to learn because there is a lot of technique/phrasing that can be touched upon and it's relatively short. I don't think there is an edited version (my copy is unedited) but you can determine your own fingerings and bowings. I think it's a good introduction to Brahms at least.

September 30, 2021, 8:00 PM · I vote for Mendelssohn violin concerto (what I did right after DeBeriot #9
+ Mozart #3 together), Bruch (known to be a bit easier?), or even Lalo (what my friend did right after Mozart #3, not sure how she managed to pull that off though).

We didn't even have any Rode/Fiorillo when we learned these pieces...

September 30, 2021, 8:39 PM · A lot of these suggestions seem to be more advanced than where you are at. I've heard no mention of a teacher, and if you really want to progress without doing all kinds of damage to your playing, you should be working with a teacher with a good track record, and that teacher will be able to tell you exactly what you should be playing.

Self teaching is for people playing Paganini - Don't shortchange yourself by working on advanced repertoire without guidance.

October 1, 2021, 9:01 AM · If you can play the Bach Praeludium, how about the rest of the Partita? Learning the poise and phrasing necessary for the Loure would do a lot of good.
The d-minor Allemande is not that straightforward!
October 1, 2021, 10:43 AM · Sadly, some people (like myself) are not well off enough to afford lessons.
October 1, 2021, 11:11 AM · There may be teachers in your area that offer reduced rates for motivated students with financial needs, or community scholarships or other resources that can put good teaching within reach. I don't know what country you live in, but there's nothing wrong with reaching out to some teachers and asking if they are willing to teach students with a financial need. If there are any arts councils, arts highschools, or even your regional symphony, you can try contacting them, telling them you have a financial need and are looking for a teacher and resources to have lessons, and they may be able to steer you in the right direction.

People really want to help bright students who haven't been born with lottery tickets in their hands, and you deserve to have the best teaching - You have to put yourself out there a little to find it, so it might be uncomfortable, but you might find that there are a lot of people willing (and wanting) to help out. Of course, a bit of this depends on geography. Perhaps some teachers on here can back me up or tell me I'm spouting off bad advice.

October 1, 2021, 12:11 PM · OP is in Texas. Agree with Christian there are people out there who would help find and fund a teacher. You are in an orchestra, per other thread, have you asked the conductor for help, advice?
Name your town or city, someone might volunteer, you never know.
Impressive you can play what you are playing without a private teacher....but agree with all of what Christian said.
October 1, 2021, 4:22 PM · "Self teaching is for people playing Paganini" - I am not sure if I can agree with this statement to be honest. Or else serious musicians don't even need to go to conservatories.

In my opinion, the early stage of Paganini (or equivalent) is exactly when you should make investment to find not only a teacher but the best one you can find to offer corrections at the finest level. Once you get through no. 1-12, sure, you can probably do the rest (minus no. 17) yourself without too much problem.

October 1, 2021, 4:46 PM · I'm pretty sure Christian's comment about self-teaching and Paganini was a joke about one person in particular who used to pop into this forum and play incredibly fast and incredibly out-of-tune Paganini on an exercise bike.
Edited: October 1, 2021, 5:07 PM · My point is more that a good teacher teaches the student to teach themself, and that a thoughtful student can go on and do this without doing harm to their technique when they have reached a very high level. A student at the intermediate level will bake in a lot of technical errors that should have been worked out before getting to all that fancy Paganini stuff. I'm mostly using Paganini as metonymy for really advanced technique.

A student learning Paganini should still have a teacher for many reasons, and part of that is still to watch for tension and other issues creeping into the playing. I'm not really getting into musical choices and interpretation, because a student with a firm technical grasp of the instrument can turn on a dime, making big changes to their interpretation (although they may need convincing), but technical issues stick around and can inhibit both further technical growth and musical growth.

Of course, it can be really deadening to think of violin as only a set of techniques, and the development of musicality alongside technical proficiency is not a guarantee, and needs to be nurtured as well.

I had forgotten about our favorite candidate for the Israeli Parliament.

Edited: October 3, 2021, 8:21 AM · My conductor recommended the Bach A Minor most recently(which is why I learned it), but has been unavailable due to extenuating circumstances so I am unable to ask. And also, I have gone about multiple options for lessons, however none of them work out due to money, or other reasons
October 3, 2021, 9:19 AM · Does anyone have any etude recommendations for me to learn?
Edited: October 3, 2021, 11:34 AM · Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think anyone has mentioned other Mozart concertos or Kabalevsky. Haydn C major could work and so would the Haydn G major. Personally, as far as the two Haydn concertos I think learning both isn’t that necessary. It wouldn’t hurt, but you would probably survive without doing both. I only learned the 1st movement of the G major concerto. I never touched the C major concerto.

If it were me, I would do two or three more concertos before tackling Bruch or Mendelssohn. That way you might be able to learn the whole thing, although it would quite the challenge without a teacher. If I was in your shoes I would do Haydn G major, Kabalevsky, and either Mozart 4 or 5. You might be able to omit the Haydn concerto and just do Kabalevsky and either Mozart 4 or 5.

My reasoning is the well-known concerto sequence by Dorothy Delay. The website I found also has a list of pieces that includes a good selection of pieces including concertos, but I’m referring to the concerto sequence at the bottom. you can find it here:


October 3, 2021, 11:31 AM · Oh and as for etudes it’s hard to say. Etudes are meant to develop technique or teach new ones, and without knowing your playing we wouldn’t be able to see what areas of your technique need to be developed/improved in order to know what etudes to recommend.

IMO there’s no need to do every single etude in an etude book like Kreutzer, Dont, or Rode so it’d be hard to tell you to just buy an etude book and go nuts. Just doing the ones that fix your technique or teach you a new one is plenty and you can always go to harder etudes to develop them further. Some people even don’t believe in etudes all together and learn/teach technique through repertoire.

October 3, 2021, 12:35 PM · A fun and relatively easy piece is the theme song to the movie Thomas Crown Affair “Windmills of your mind” by Michel Legrand. I’m works very well for the violin. Good movie (I prefer the original with Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway).
October 3, 2021, 3:33 PM · Preparing for Kreutzer by H whistler is a good choice of basic etudes.
Only a teacher can tell you what to work on appropriate to your needs right now. However, I would recommend you do the first exercise of Schradieck. There is a video by Nicki benedetti on how to do this which is free.
October 3, 2021, 5:05 PM · Well for specific things I need to work on, I’ve been told I need to work on my double and triple stops, are there any good etudes for that?
October 3, 2021, 6:18 PM · Josephine Trott- Melodious Double Stops.
October 3, 2021, 7:46 PM · Thanks :)
October 3, 2021, 10:00 PM · Greetings,
actually there is a set of wonderful double stop etudes by Polo that have not been mentioned on this site for many many years. They are free to download on IMSLP and well worth careful study.
Probably not in mint condition but will plug any holes in your technique.
Edited: October 4, 2021, 5:03 AM · If you want syllabuses, NZ and ABRSM are free. You don't need to pay for the Australian one.
(and see other years for different suggestions)

Along with Beethoven's Spring (grade 8) you could try any of Vivaldi's seasons.
They also rate Heifetz's Gershwin at the same level of difficulty if you want to go more modern. That's all I've got from memory. Or if you want etudes (boring?) they list plenty of Kreutzer at that level.

October 4, 2021, 9:40 AM · Which Mozart should I learn first, 4 or 5?
October 4, 2021, 10:43 AM · I would say that the 5th concerto is harder than the 4th, so if you wanted to go from a difficulty standpoint you could start with the 4th concerto even though that one isn't a walk in the park either, especially from a musical standpoint.

But honestly I would just pick the one you like more because you'll practice it more. I like 5 more than 4, but you might have a different opinion. Have a listen to both and pick your favorite.

Edited: October 4, 2021, 11:09 AM · Suzuki Book 9 is Mozart 5 and Suzuki Book 10 is Mozart 4, so you know what HIS opinion on the subject was. I thought so too, when I came back to Mozart 4 (I "learned" it in my childhood, Mozart 3 at 13, and 5 at 17 - having studied viola in between). I think 5 is more consistently difficult (and it goes higher), but 4 and 3 have some very tricky bits.
October 4, 2021, 11:17 AM · Since you are already learning some etudes from Fiorillo and Rode, why not learn a few more from them along with some Kreutzer (and maybe Dont op. 37)?
October 4, 2021, 1:33 PM · The only reason I learned the Fiorillo and Rode was for Symphony Region Orch auditions so I don’t know if I want to learn any more of those yet
October 4, 2021, 2:47 PM · I'm not too sure about the usefulness of Fiorillo as I only played a few etudes from it, but I would consider Rode a really important bridge between intermediate and advanced playing. It has a handful of useful exercises that many professional violinists (e.g., Kerson Leong and Nancy Zhou) still practice them occasionally.
October 4, 2021, 3:30 PM · Greetings
just my two cents, but Mozart 4 and 5 are so quality very different comparison of difficulty is neither helpful nor possible. Completely subjectively, 4 is considerably harder than five for me. When asked, one of the greatest players of all time, Heifetz, consistently stated that the Mozart concertos are the most difficult of all. This is a common thread among great player some youtube. For the reason why there is a nice discussion by Hadelich on one of his vidoes .
Given that your obviously doing well but likely building in some issues due to difficulties in finding a teacher I would recommend staying away from the Mozart except no 3. You might regret spoiling them for later.
October 4, 2021, 4:52 PM · Okay, thanks Buri.
October 4, 2021, 5:45 PM · I'll point out that Laurie's rules for the forum requires use of your real name. This is somewhat honored in the breach, and it's impossible to tell if some people are truly using a real name rather than a made-up name, but it's a general expectation that you at least attempt to respect the fiction of real names here.
October 4, 2021, 7:04 PM · Oh okay, I had no idea. I’m sorry. How do I change my name?
October 4, 2021, 7:27 PM · Depends.
Do you want to change your name to ‘Classical Violinist’ which is a legal procedure or …
Sorry. Couldn’t resist.
October 4, 2021, 9:48 PM · In the real world.
October 4, 2021, 9:48 PM · It's a little presumptuous to assume that isn't the OPs real name. If my last name was Violinist I would have include "Classical" in the top five names for my kids.
Edited: October 5, 2021, 12:24 AM · Now, welcome to the main stage....CLASSICAL! Give her (him?) a round of applause and don't forget to tip your bartenders!
October 5, 2021, 12:52 AM · Gabriel,
in my case, I would have called my three kids ‘Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced.’ It goes without saying that ‘classical’ would be a perfect middle name.
October 5, 2021, 1:53 AM · I have a friend with daughters called Symphony and Rhapsody. He doesn't know what a son would have been called.
October 5, 2021, 10:43 AM · Oh I'm sorry, I sent an emoji but it replaced it with Question Marks.
Y'all are funny
Edited: October 5, 2021, 6:09 PM · If you really want to be thorough, going through all of Dont op 37 and Kreutzer is a must. It helps to have an understanding of what an etude is about, but they teach really important techniques. I did Kreutzer a while ago, but I've been going back to Kreutzer 2 and using it to really try and develop my detache and spicatto (Making sure my bowing is straight, and making sure my left hand is playing together with my right, really watching if my bow is in the exact place it needs to be after a string crossing, and any number of little elements). These etudes can seem really simplistic, but you can get a lot out of them even when you are quite advanced.

With Kreutzer, if you find that your trill is really relaxed and well developed, then you might find yourself skipping a few of the trill studies, but almost all the Kreutzer are totally essential. Rode is great, but it can be a real frustration without building those muscles on the Kreutzer and Dont first.

October 5, 2021, 3:25 PM · As Christian says but perhaps more so. They have been a life7s work for many greta violinists including Szigeti who sometimes off the cuff asked competitors on international competitions to play them .
Edited: October 5, 2021, 5:12 PM · I remember working on Mozart K304 and asking my teacher how to get that crispy, just-a-little-off-the-string sound that I heard on some pro recordings. I could do it on one string, but it got fouled up if I had to change strings. His answer was to practice the bowing with K2 until I got the sound I wanted. (So I wouldn't have to think about the notes.)

@Buri, I have heard that Heifetz used K8 as an encore. (I think that is the one in E Major with the ascending and descending arpeggios). It is alleged that he performed that one for a gathering of top-level violin students in Moscow and they were totally dazzled, as though it were some kind of circus feat. There is great beauty to be found in extreme accuracy and evenness.

Edited: October 6, 2021, 4:55 AM · Yes. I would love to have heard that. Quite a few years back The Strad published an arrangement of K8 (maybe by Yankelevitch?) that turned it into a horrendously difficult study/showpiece.
Maybe Yampolsky…
Edited: October 6, 2021, 5:10 PM · I got in contact with my friends teacher for an evaluation type thing and he recommended the Khachaturian Violin Concerto minus the cadenza
October 7, 2021, 7:20 AM · I don’t know though, it seems above my level
October 7, 2021, 12:43 PM · Khachaturian sounds like a really strange choice based on what you've written here.

Buri, it was Yampolsky.

October 8, 2021, 12:45 AM · I agree with Christian (that's weird to say). Khachaturian seems like a strange choice based on the past pieces you've done. At least according to the delay sequence (idk how closely people follow it) Khachaturian is placed after Mendelssohn but before concertos like Barber, Wieniawski 1 and 2, Lalo, and others.
October 8, 2021, 2:13 PM · I agree
October 8, 2021, 4:34 PM · Greetings,
is it possible someone was thinking of Kabalevsky ?
October 8, 2021, 7:58 PM · I mentioned Kabalevsky a couple days ago. I think it would be a good next piece if the OP didn’t want to do a Mozart concerto.

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