Document for MA in String Pedagogy
Many have established fundamental goals for beginner violin students such as proper violin posture, bow hold, body position, and basic technique. They have developed rote strategies, method books, and repertoire lists that facilitate the development of these skills. Beginner level violin instruction includes the following: good posture, simple rhythms, detaché, staccato, hooked bowing, mainly first position, keys D, G, C, A, and 2-4 note slurs (STS 34; ASTA 1). Once students learn fundamental posture, instrument position, and technique, what are the next playing skills they need to learn? This project proposes sixteen intermediate level violin playing skill goals and suggests repertoire and etudes in which to develop those skills.
Most resources consulted did not define intermediate, so the definition was determined through deduction. To define “intermediate” level, the graded levels of a variety of violin curricula were compared and a compilation was made of recurring playing objectives. Left-hand skills were arbitrarily capped at three-octave scales, and right-hand skills were capped at sautillé. From this compilation process and personal suggestion, sixteen intermediate level playing skills were proposed. The following curricula was consulted: the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) Handbook, the Royal Conservatory of Music (RCM) Violin Syllabus, the ASTA Syllabus, ASTACAP standards, and Strategies for Teaching Strings. Next, dozens of intermediate level pieces were analyzed from various curricula for their technical requirements. A few of these pieces and etudes were listed in a table for each corresponding playing skill with further remarks and analysis of technical challenges. Highly-esteemed pedagogue’s student repertoire lists and other repertoire collections were reviewed including ABRSM Violin Exam Pieces, RCM Violin Repertoire, Suzuki method books, Barber’s Solos for Young Violinists. Repertoire selections for this project were based on the following criteria: appropriate level, frequency of playing skill, variety of other playing skills, popularity of the piece, and style variety. Just as the detailed analysis of playing skills for a beginner violinist is critical, a thorough pedagogical understanding of intermediate violin playing skills is advantageous.