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Book Advice?
Self-learning: Are Mark O'Connor/Simon Fischer Books suitable?
Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 (0 votes) 

July 30, 2015 - 10:52 pm
Member Since: June 18, 2015
Forum Posts: 257
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I was wondering if anyone owns any for the Mark O'Connor Method books or Simon Fischer Books. If yes, would you recommend them for a self-learner? (no other option here :-/)

So far, I've only worked with Violin for Dummies and another very basic book my mom had send me from home.

(I apologize in advance for the possibility of a late response to any answers, both of my browsers are still unpredictable in letting me sign in and post.confused)

It's easy to play any musical instrument: all you have to do is touch the right key at the right time and the instrument will play itself. Johann S.Bach


July 30, 2015 - 11:52 pm
Member Since: June 21, 2015
Forum Posts: 240
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@AnnyJ ,

I can only really comment on Suzuki and O'Connor, as these are the ones I'm currently using to learn. Suzuki is my primary method and O'Connor is a supplement.

Recently I found a used copy of Mark O'Connor book 1 and have been playing some of the songs from it. There are a few videos available on Youtube for the O'Connor pieces, but not nearly as many as you'll find for the Suzuki repertoire.

My early impressions of the O'Connor book is that it is very good, and either Suzuki or O'Connor would work very well if you have a teacher. If you're learning on your own, you'll find much more supplemental material to go with Suzuki.

If you're interested in fiddle style playing, I can think of at least a couple of introductory books that you can get with instructional DVDs (and CDs): Wicklund's American Fiddle Method and Wheeler's Children's Fiddling Method. Despite the name, Wheeler's book looks like it would work well for adults too. Dirt Simple Fiddle by Mary Ann Willis comes with a CD, and she has videos of herself playing the pieces on Youtube.


August 1, 2015 - 3:49 pm
Member Since: June 18, 2015
Forum Posts: 257
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thank you, I kind of had eyeballed the Mark O'Connor Books, the price had kept me back as well as the lack of reviews. Now that you said it doesn't have a lot of resources, I think it would be better for me to go to something else, like Suzuki. I need all the help I can get.

I like the idea of the fiddle books (with  DVD!) too, I'll definitely look them up. Thanks!

It's easy to play any musical instrument: all you have to do is touch the right key at the right time and the instrument will play itself. Johann S.Bach


August 1, 2015 - 7:28 pm
Member Since: July 6, 2011
Forum Posts: 969
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Welcome Anny!

I am not suggesting any book but sharing my experience about the books I have used. My experience with violin was during the first year, I have an indirect teacher - I sat in my daughter's lessons. I used Mel Bay  Product Detailsalong with Suzuki book 1. The pieces in Mel Bay are easy for beginner and may be level 1, as long as you could read music.  It comes with CD and DVD. The video clip has close up for fingerings.

As for Suzuki book 1, my understanding of it is: there are new techniques in each piece; each piece is build on the previous piece with new techniques add onto it. For example, like someone else said, go tell aunt rhody, song of the wind, and allegro has a couple measure that are the same. So it's like learning a language, you first learn words/vocabulary then you have two, three word phrase, then you have sentences, then an essay. I think one could self-taught him/herself using Suzuki book 1 as long as you could read music. Suzuki book 1 consists of prep level (up to perpectual motion) and level 1. Musical notations explanation and fingering chart are at the back of the book. Most of the pieces has some exercises. scales A, D, G and arpeggios are introduced.

I have also used solos for young violinists. Product DetailsThis is a book that has pieces for entry level to about level 3. you could get CD, but the violinist plays really fast, so I am not sure if it helps other than getting familiar with the pieces. I could never play along with the violinist. The book has 21 pieces,  the first nine are probably for beginner to level 1, then 5 of them are probably in level 2, and the rest of them are level 3. The levels are just my approximate guess. A few scales are provided, no explanation provided; therefore, as a beginner and self learner, I would not choose this book.

Product DetailsThe sassmannshaus is from very beginning, open strings and such. It does show you where to place your fingers (pictures), finger patterns and such but progress slowly. If you already know how to read music, it would be pretty boring. Volume has scale exercises and triads (arpeggios). Book 2 has songs like old macdonald, lightly row, go tell aunt rhody, etc. Volume 2 is probably equivalent to second section of Suzuki book 1. Volume 3 has longer pieces, but I am not familiar with them. Fourth finger and half step are introduced in this concept.

simply violin favorite songs for violin in first position, as tittle indicated. Fingering chart up to fourth position provided at the back.Product Detailssongs like this old man, can can, row row row your boat, long long ago, to greensleeves and star spangled banner. I got this book mainly for lyrics for children's songs.


August 3, 2015 - 12:22 pm
Member Since: June 18, 2015
Forum Posts: 257
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@pky   Thank you for the extensive response I appreciate it! 

Guess who's goiig to be book browsing. :-)

It's easy to play any musical instrument: all you have to do is touch the right key at the right time and the instrument will play itself. Johann S.Bach


August 6, 2015 - 10:21 am
Member Since: June 30, 2011
Forum Posts: 2687
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I like Essential Elements for strings. Its an excellent method for self teaching and you get a code to Essential Elements interactice, an online studio with play along tracks,tuner,metronome,etc. The books are $9.99 US and are a great value.

Another one I just recently started using and like very much is Orchestra Expressions. Its very well thought out and covers a great deal of information,exercises and gives some music history.  $8.99 US  ,also comes with play along CD


I like the Suzuki pieces and its a great addition to these method books.

There is no shame in playing twinkle, youre playing Mozart

California, the place of my heart
August 6, 2015 - 11:56 am
Member Since: January 11, 2012
Forum Posts: 4180
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I like the Essential Elements.

I also like First Violin Lessons.   (I like to play Largo, New World Symphony)

I have a bad habit of not playing with the cds.  I hope to be doing much more of that.

Good luck with your shopping. 



Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato


August 9, 2015 - 9:01 am
Member Since: December 25, 2013
Forum Posts: 878
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I started out with the Suzuki Book but then found Bluegrass!!  I have really enjoyed American Fiddle Method volumes 1 and 2.


Since I am attending bluegrass jams, I am learning the songs played there.  I search out the tunes on-line but am really trying to break away from that and learn by ear.  It is hard to kick that crutch away!!

Violinist start date -  May 2013  

Fiddler start date - May 2014

FIDDLE- Gift from a dear friend. A 1930-40 german copy, of a french copy of a Stradivarius.  BOW - $50 carbon fiber. Strings - Dominants with E Pirastro Gold string.

Fort Lauderdale
August 9, 2015 - 9:08 am
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 16296

We have a few books here at Fiddlershop.
Check out this link: http://fiddlershop.com/books
and http://fiddlershop.com/books?page=2

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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