My first violin teacher, Mrs. Rhodes, wasn't a person to go in for method
books. Instead she would photocopy off whatever she thought would be
good for me to work on at the time. To this she would sometimes
supplement with her own exercises, which she would write out on staff
paper. I still remember her nice music penmanship. In fact I wish I had
just one of those pages today. I would frame it and put it on the wall
in memory of her.
Down in college I had a couple different teachers. But method books
weren't part of what we did either — I simply worked on this or that
piece. In any case method books by that point might have been a little
too elementary anyway — I really don't know never having used one.
Coming back to the violin after so long, and being currently without a
teacher, I have to set my own program. I got on line and looked at the
various method books. But without getting any hands-on with them and
being able to look at the material itself I wouldn't know whether a
particular book would be right for me.
As such I downloaded in PDF form a copy of the Etudes Op. 45 by Franz
Wohlfahrt, a very respected violin pedagogy book over a hundred years
old and known by everyone simply as "Wohlfahrt." So far I've been
working on the first 5 etudes. I can't say that the exercises are all
the most interesting, in fact some parts of each etude tend to be
interesting and some parts not, but they do address some technical
points that I definitely should be working on at this point. At first it
seemed sort of strange sitting at the desk and looking at the sheet
music on the computer. Until I realized that it really was no different
than sitting in a chair in orchestra and reading the music off a music
But all work and no play would make Ed a dull guy. So to that end I
decided to give myself a piece to work on. Along with the Wohlfahrt I
downloaded the 1st Violin part to the Vivaldi Concerti Op. 3. To begin
with I'm practicing the Largo cantabile from Concerto No. 6. The
movement is more or less in my technical range right now — the "less"
being some interesting stuff that will challenge me. The movement also
involves shifts from 1st to 3rd position (and unless I am mistaken one
brief part in 2nd position). Theoretically I shouldn't be worried about
shifting right now. But I figure, what the hell, the knowledge of how to
do it is up there in my head so why not get a head start on it. Besides,
the movement is just easier to play using 3rd position.
I love the look of the old Vivaldi score I downloaded. Such an antique.
Sort of makes me feel like going to a cafe and hanging out with Rameau.
"Garcon, more wine!" :p