Mackay, Neil: The First Year Violin Tutor
This tutor is written especially for the violin class but is suitable also for individual tuition.
The course is designed to cover the work for one year and is divided into three sections under the headings First, Second and Third Terms. For the best results class lessons should be of 30 to 40 minutes’ duration, depending upon the number of pupils in each group.
The finger pattern on each string is the same (tone, tone, semitone) and the melodies and exercises are written on one string or on two adjacent strings. By this means pupils should become thoroughly familiar with the first finger pattern by the end of their first year and can acquire a sound left hand technique which will ensure correct finger actions and true intonation.
Since the tunes and exercises are limited to one string or two adjacent strings the number of bowing elevations is likewise restricted. This is an important aspect of violin teaching when applied to class work in schools, as most beginners find it very difficult to control the bow when attempting numerous string crossings.
In this tutor the bowing and rhythmic difficulties are increased gradually on one or two strings and since the finger pattern on the E, A, D and G strings is the same, pupils can concentrate on the right hand without being confused by a variety of finger patterns or bowing elevations.
Sometimes the ‘banjo’ position is preferred for very young performers before they are allowed to use the bow. This, however, is purely a matter of choice, and depends upon the age, size and ability of the pupils as to whether or not this form of introduction to violin playing is adopted.
Class teaching provides experience in ensemble playing and gives pupils the opportunity of listening to one another. Listening is one of the most important factors in learning a stringed instrument and pupils’ aural training may be further developed by listening to the second violin parts which are provided for the teacher as an accompaniment to the melodies. It may be possible in some schools for an advanced group of pupils to accompany the beginners. If so, any chords in the second violin parts may be played divisi by the senior students.
These tunes in The First Year Violin Tutor can therefore be played as duets (by two pupils or groups of pupils) and will help to introduce students to the art of playing together which is the basis of all ensemble work. By so doing, players will improve not only their intonation and balance of tone, but also their musicianship.