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Hi Beth and ViolinLab members, I have a musical background but am a very beginning violin student, and am looking for any advice on interleaving the beginning technique lessons with the Suzuki book 1 tutorials. I would like to create a lesson plan to help structure my progress, and would bet that someone in this group has been down this path before and could share pointers. Thanks in advance for any input!

5 Responses
Posted: April 9, 2011
Last Comment: April 10, 2011

Beth Blackerby
Posted: April 10, 2011
WOW. You'll definitely have to stop by and say "hi"!

Posted: April 10, 2011
Hi Beth, Jack and Anne, Thank you all for your feedback. I do not have a private teacher and am learning strictly through VL. This seems perfect for now, as my practice time is evening/weekend and I can repeat lessons as often as needed. (However, since I'm in Austin, Beth, I definitely plan to visit your shop in person!) I understand how difficult it would be to put together a single curriculum, especially because there is no one-size-fits-all path. In my case in particular, for example, I would want to focus specifically on the violin technique aspects as I already have extensive musical experience with other instruments. For now, I will focus on working through lesson 35 of the basic technique as suggested. My Suzuki book is in hand when I am ready for it. As a former Suzuki piano student, the Twinkles are very nostalgic and take me back to my first piano lessons at age 4 - that will be fun!

Beth Blackerby
Posted: April 10, 2011
Hi Carlie, Jack and Anne have wonderful advice. Do you have a teacher? I would love to know how many of the VL members are without a private teacher. It has been suggested several times that the site should have a syllabus. I have been toying with the idea, and have worked on a couple of formats for a training cuuriculum. My problem is that I want to get too massive with it and want it to be all inclusive: A comprehensive training manual and music reading course.

Anyway, to give you a quick answer, start using the Suzuki book after you've watched lesson 35. You should have may of the basic skills down and starting the Twinkles will be pretty accessible.

Meanwhile, I will at least make a list that inserts Suzuki book 1 tutorials into the video sequence.

Anne aMaudPowellFan
Posted: April 10, 2011

Welcome to ViolinLab! Are you self-instructed? I imagine that the wealth of material here might be overwhelming. Perhaps you could start with the basic lessons on holding the violin and bow, and then study the videos on Suzuki I, watching out for pointers to other pertinent lectures? Best wishes!

Jack, I like your approach! I used to have lists of things to practice between lessons, and I ticked them off (or even noted the time I had spent on each task). A good method to keep focus. Nowadays, I just put my sheet music into a sequence when starting a day's practice, and do as much as I can as focussed as I can until time is up.

Posted: April 9, 2011
Welcome to VL. This is a fantastic place to learn this challenging instrument and having Beth as your mentor and guide will sure make your playing a delight.

I am also a beginner and what I have done may or may not help you, but here it is . . . .

The first thing I did when I picked up the violin was to create a lesson plan, as you call it, and I stuck with it day in and day out. I first watched all the beginning lessons from this site and incorporated the exercises demonstrated by Beth. There are a lot of information in all of her videos, so I devised a plan that would allow me to change exercises depending on the day of the week. For example, I'd do string crossings on Monday and slow whole bows on Tuesdays. Basically I broke everything down to make as simple and focused as possible. I also made a target "goal" for each day and a target goal for the week. Write them down and place it on your stand, to remind you.

As I got better at each individual task, I'd added them together, so eventually I was doing whole bows with string crossings exercises at the same time. Of course, I also tried to learn new songs and practice scales as well. Make a lesson plan that will keep you focused and that it has a purpose. Don't try to do too much, just try to do whatever you are practicing that day very focused. Keep a log book and stick to your plan to achieve your goal. In no time, you will see the progress you have made.

I believe that focused practice is more valuable than hours of aimless playing. They are both beneficial, don't get me wrong, but you will learn and retain more if your practices are focused. I first started with 10 different exercises and practice each for 5-10 minutes (I used a timer to help me stay on task) and they ranged from holding the bow exercises, finger taps, bowing, learning a new tune/phrase, etc. and that has worked for me. So give it a try and that may work for you as well. My main goal has always been to try to get as much out of my limited practice time as possible, even if it is to simply learn a single measure of a song. Slow and steady is my motto ;-)

Once again, welcome to VL now go practice! ;-p