Simon Fischer "The Violin Lesson"

May 18, 2023, 11:28 AM · Has anyone actually read through Simon Fischer's "The Violin Lesson? The reason I ask is how to use this book (which is excellent, by the way?) Or, should it be viewed as an encyclopedia which you can consult as needed? I would imagine that because of the very detailed nature of the book, some might find it daunting.

Replies (17)

May 18, 2023, 11:31 AM · In my opinion, "like an encyclopedia".
"Basics" is more progressive and maybe useful.

I have both.

May 18, 2023, 11:51 AM · I agree with Marco and also use Fischer's 'Violin Lesson" as a resource as I previously used Galamian.
I expect that when the 23rd century dawns Fischer's work will stand tall among the classic sources.
May 18, 2023, 3:13 PM · For me, The Violin Lesson is really a self-study textbook, for someone who can already play the violin, but wants to go through a reboot, while Basics is more of an encyclopedia.
May 18, 2023, 3:42 PM · And I'm with Jean. I did exactly that - I found it the most accessible and the most informative of the series.
May 18, 2023, 6:40 PM · "Consult as needed", but I have both and ended up preferring the Violin Lesson, as it's more exhaustive. It's excellent.
May 18, 2023, 7:12 PM · Personally I found "Basics" more practical -- a book for the music room, and "The Violin Lesson" more theoretical -- a book for the toilet.
May 18, 2023, 7:31 PM · Paul - to read on the toilet or the book belongs in the toilet?
Edited: May 21, 2023, 1:01 PM · We teachers often transmit least well what is obvious or easy for us.
Simon Fischer kindly assumes that nothing is obvious, but everything can be made easier..
He uses all my own tips 'n' ten times more!

(And I find it too enjoyable to be read where Paul suggests.)

May 20, 2023, 9:27 AM · Paul - do you also play the violin there?
All sorts of puns come to mind. But lets not go there....
May 21, 2023, 9:23 PM · The Simon Fischer books are head and shoulders above all the rest -- Galamian, Flesch, Auer, Menuhin, Havas, Gerle, Bronstein. I have studied them all. None comes close to Fischer.
Edited: May 22, 2023, 9:25 AM · Elise, I don't read books whilst practicing the violin. My multitasking bandwidth is not high enough. I find that "reference texts" like "The Violin Lesson" or "Chemistry of the Elements" by Greenwood and Earnshaw (one of the best chemistry books ever) are well suited for the short intervals of time the one normally has in the john, because you can learn one thing and then ponder it the rest of the day. To say that a book is well suited for the toilet is therefore a mark of considerable respect on my part.

I agree with Roy, but of course Fischer had the advantage of having read -- and probably very closely studied -- all the others. Considering the volume of literature available, it was a Herculean effort of scholarship on Fischer's part.

May 22, 2023, 10:23 AM · I've found Fischer's articles in the Strad to be very consumable, and so it makes sense to read The Violin Lesson in similar bite-sized chunks. I've never read the whole thing, though.

I did read Basics cover to cover when I first bought it, years ago when I had more free time. But it's also a smaller book.

Edited: June 1, 2023, 11:20 AM · There is also "Practice", another weighty tome to place on the table near the music stand (rather than where Paul suggested).
Once again, all my own tricks'n'tips plus hundreds more.

Warming Up, and Basics, fit on a standard music stand.
Not to mention Scales, and Double Stops.

All so intelligently practical.

June 1, 2023, 11:51 AM · I assume much of what Fischer says is applicable to viola playing, but has he written anything specifically for us alto clef life forms?
June 1, 2023, 12:13 PM · I have Warming Up, and Scales in viola editions.
June 1, 2023, 12:15 PM · Tom, other than his "Scales for Viola" I don't think so. I have been using both Basics and The Violin Lesson exercises in my viola practise to great effect though recently!
June 1, 2023, 5:33 PM · @Adrian, @Jake - thanks. I have Warming Up. I don't have Scales in viola although I have Barbara Barber's Scales for Advanced Violists.

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