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Gordon Shumway
London, England
Pro advisor

June 20, 2021 - 4:17 am
Member Since: August 1, 2016
Forum Posts: 1961
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A warning for beginners

There are threads here about Schradieck: there are threads elsewhere about Kreutzer and Dont and so on. And I worry that beginners get put off by attempting too much of this sort of thing.

I took weekly piano lessons for something like 7 years in the 70s (last piece I studied was Beethoven's Pathétique) and I was never asked to work on more than 4 studies (Czerny dexterity kind of thing) in all that time. So I really don't think it's a good idea for a beginner to attempt all of Schradieck. At most Schradieck #1 after twinkle twinkle.

What tends to happen on a forum is you ask about études and someone will recite a list of all the étude composers they have ever heard of, and all of a sudden you have so much material that if you actually worked on it (you can bet your bottom dollar the reciters haven't worked on them all - they might have worked on one piece of Bériot, so they'll recommend "Bériot"), it would be 25 years before you got to play a piece of  music.

The ideal is to find a limited selection of études, a few at each level of difficulty. My favourite is O'Leary, 80 selected studies in 2 books aimed at 8 levels of ability. There's more than enough free stuff on Fiddlerman, but use discretion in how much you attempt.

Don't get bogged down thinking that violin playing begins and ends with "Studies".


June 20, 2021 - 11:13 am
Member Since: December 26, 2018
Forum Posts: 3891
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Excellent post. 👍

The Bumblebee Flies!

Gordon Shumway
London, England
Pro advisor

November 16, 2021 - 9:21 am
Member Since: August 1, 2016
Forum Posts: 1961
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Further to this, études should be prescribed by a teacher, or by yourself if you are really aware of your weaknesses.

I find that after a few years of first position, if I see an A on the E string, I automatically slam my third finger down on the E string, no matter what position I'm in (lol!). Also, my intonation and note finding are very poor in 2nd and 3rd position. Practising a piece with these positions in is one thing, but I often have to sight-read at orchestra, especially as, now that we have no gigs to work for, we just play anything and everything (the Suk serenade is a surprising pig!).

So recently I've begun working on Sitt's positional studies, Op.32 (I've got two hard copies - spendthrift that I am). These are not heavy. In fact, you can make them easier by slowing right down and perfecting the intonation of every note before speeding up.

Vol 2 is 5 studies each in 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th positions.

Vol 3 is about shifting between them. 

Don't bother with Whistler - his stuff is all second-hand. Sitt is more convenient, and free. (and there's nothing wrong with Wohlfahrt either)


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