Learning Sequence of various violin etudes

Edited: November 13, 2021, 10:07 AM · My daughter has been playing violin for close to 2 years now, etudes she practiced starts from wohlfarht, then kayser, then a few pieces from mazas. After that we changed a teacher because of moving to another place, and this teacher has decided to skip mazas instead instructs us to practice Dont op.37. Is this method considered normal or unusual? I would like to exchange your valuable views based on your experience of either teaching or learning. Thanks very much.

Replies (12)

Edited: November 13, 2021, 10:59 AM · First, I doubt you will find two violin teachers who will be in complete agreement about the "best" sequence of studies for violin students, although everyone will agree that Wohlfahrt comes before Kreutzer. Second, there is the question of whether the sequence should be the same for all students or tailored individually, and my guess is that most teachers would say the latter, although very close tailoring of that sequence on a weekly basis probably isn't practical. There is also the matter of the personal taste and experience of the teacher -- what they are comfortable and familiar with. Dont Op. 37 is not the "hard Dont" (that's Op. 35) and probably it's comparable to the more difficult of the Mazas studies. So it could be that the new teacher feels your student is ready for that. And I think sometimes when a teacher gets a new student they like to make a fresh start, and changing study books is perhaps a part of your teacher's strategy. Likely all new repertoire pieces were assigned, too? I would say be happy that your teachers use studies as they are a great way to groove foundational aspects of violin technique, and if your daughter struggles with Dont Op. 37 then you can have that conversation. Otherwise I'd suggest rolling with it. Personally I really like Op. 37 No. 1 which is a great workout for shifting among the lower positions -- very typical of Dont studies.
November 13, 2021, 11:35 AM · I never did Mazas, but Dont op. 37 is pretty indispensable (though not all teachers teach it).

It's more a question of quality - It sounds like if your daughter is playing Dont 37 after two years, then she is making very rapid progress, and hopefully her teacher has chosen this thoughtfully instead of throwing her into something that she can't handle.

Some teachers teach Mazas and some don't. Some teach little Dont and some don't (they go right to Kreutzer).

November 13, 2021, 12:39 PM · Your daughter is in good hands I believe. Dont op.37 if she really studies these seriously will give her a really solid preparation to the advanced intermediate repertoire. Mazas are not really etudes in my opinion, they are more pleasant solo pieces, very pleasant at that, but I don't consider them indispensible as etudes proper.
November 13, 2021, 2:31 PM · Greetings,
as above. I would choose the Dont over Mazas .
November 13, 2021, 5:58 PM · My limited experience is that if you are an experienced player (i.e., long-term, not necessarily very good) and participate in a master class or hire the "odd" lesson or coach a really good one will spot your weaknesses very fast and suggest appropriate etudes to help with your obvious problems. (Obvious to them, that is, hopefully not to any previous audiences that may have heard you play! (:-)} )
November 13, 2021, 7:37 PM · Dont op. 37 is roughly Kreutzer level. I remember doing the two simultaneously (and doing op. 38 as well). I did op. 35 after finishing Kreutzer.
November 13, 2021, 10:16 PM · I'll just toss my agreement on top of the pile of previous comments that Dont op. 37 is indispensable compared to Mazas. Frankly, Mazas has always struck me as a good etude book for sightreading practice (in other words, skip it). It's a good sign that her current teacher assigned Dont op. 37, one that shouldn't be skipped but all too often is.

@Lydia Studying op. 37 alongside Kreutzer is interesting to me, having studied the Dont directly before Kreutzer myself. Did you switch back and forth from Dont to Kreutzer week to week, were you assigned an etude from each per week, or something else?

November 14, 2021, 4:00 AM · Thanks all for your opinions. I feel much relieved. I thought Mazas was something indispensable so I had doubt why our current teacher skipped it. When I raised this concern he told me that we could practice Mazas on our own if we have time. Currently I think we are making good progress on Dont op.37.
Edited: November 14, 2021, 9:39 AM · I think what happens is that Mazas is always assigned after Kayser. But in reality they are not that different in terms of difficulty. Mazas has a few higher notes. Kayser is not high on the fingerboard but it's a pretty good workout in lower positions. The "sequencing" of books causes people to start Mazas after Kayser is finished, and by then it's too easy. Selected harder Mazas studies would be an option, but then you're buying a whole study book just for a few pieces. I agree with the sight-reading idea, but if a student wants to practice sight-reading, I recommend quartet parts played along with recordings. I only play Mazas during Passover....
Edited: November 14, 2021, 11:10 AM · Another vote for Dont Op. 37. It was not assigned to me as a student. I encountered it much later and I finally worked thorough it during the virus shutdown. It is in the lower positions with lots of fingering problems. The etude book after that can be Rode. Kreutzer has a wide variety of technical difficulty and it is not in order of difficulty, so it can overlap, go in parallel with the other etudes and exercises. The etude book sequence can also overlap, be simultaneous with a comprehensive method like the Doflein or Auer series.
A Mistake I made during the student years was; I did double-stop work and got bogged down in Bach S.&P. set Before mastering the upper positions and E-string high notes.
November 15, 2021, 4:43 AM · @Paul, “ quartet parts played along with recordings”, wow, this idea sounds creative and interesting, we shall give it a try, thanks
Edited: November 15, 2021, 11:51 AM · Gracie you'll need to be pretty selective at the outset. Sight-reading something considered "medium difficulty" like Beethoven Op. 18 along with a recording -- i.e., at performance tempo -- is a very tall order, until you get really good at sight reading, that is! And remember you can always start with the second violin part which is not necessarily easier but usually doesn't go as high on the fingerboard and you get better at listening for the inside parts that way too. So many good reasons to do this ... and it's super fun too! I wish I were at home playing along with chamber recordings right now! It's great to find the YouTubes that have the score right on the screen -- those are the best.

There are graded lists:


When I play along with recordings I just wear standard headphones. My violin is loud enough to be heard through the cups, but not loudly enough that I hear all of my mistakes. :)

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