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Phylicia Morris November 6, 2012 40S- Beginning Strings Method Book Analysis When it comes to finding the right book for the teacher to base their lessons out of or, if a person who simply wants to self-teach themselves, there are many options out there. The problem here is, which book do we choose to get our information from? The book I chose was The Young String Student by Samuel Applebaum. As I studied throughout the book, I found it rather challenging to learn from. I do not believe that the book is user friendly for students who want to learn the violin nor, is it friendly for teachers to teach out of. I find some of the information of the book rather counterintuitive in the student's ability to grow as a player. Applebaum has sequenced the fundamentals skills emphasized in exercises in this order: 1.) Rote, 2.) Music Reading, 3.) Developing a Well Shaped left hand, 4.) Learning the use of different bow positions, 5.) Aural skills-hearing intervals, 6.) Intro of 4th finger on finger board, 7.) Intro of Dynamics, and 8.) The 8th note. The rote games are a series of memorization games meant for developing the players feel of holding and playing their instrument, more specifically, move around on different strings and had a sense of the finger board. The music reading portion introduces your basic quarter notes, half notes, time signature, and vague explanation of the staff. In the Left hand development section, I found that a bit confusing. It started to introduce things like the left hand pizzicato at the same time the student was learning new notes on the finger

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board. It is too distracting for the student and can lead to frustration. We then begin exploring about different bow positions around pg. 20 where we also begin to learn about scales (D major is starting scale). Aural skill development finally makes an appearance at pg. 25 where the author begins to talk about hearing intervals. Pg. 29 is when we finally use the fourth finger on the finger board for hitting notes and not using the 4th finger pizzicato. As we increase the difficulty of the music within the book, we are now adding dynamics in pg. 30. For the books last lesson, on pg. 35, the author introduces the 8th note. There are some positives I would like to note about the book. I liked some of the memorization games he has for the students. I do think they could be improved though but, its a nice start. Most of the memorization games range from memorizing how to play in tune to memorizing pieces of music. In one activity, he has the student play the first measure of whatever piece the teacher has chosen, sing the second measure of that piece, and continue on this pattern until otherwise instructed (pg.21). I really like the way he sequenced out the introduction of notes and fingering throughout the book. It is well thought up but its way of explaining is still vague at best. I believe the information he has here is very useful but, it just needs to be rephrased better for younger learners. Unfortunately, there are more negatives that I have came across while studying out of this book. The author has the student start playing on his/her instrument with the bow right off the bat (putting off the development of the left hand). I understand that developing a good bow hold is essential for good tone quality but, I think putting off aural skill development and left hand building will dwarf the new students growth. I

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also think he gives vague explanations at best when it comes to new markings in standard notation. Some concepts (like the dotted half note on pg. 17 for example) are explained but not reinforced until 4-5 pages later in the book. Then the book uses musical notation that is never discussed throughout the book. A good example of that would be on pg. 31 where the markings for A.M. and pg .28 when we started using ties. The book doesnt even have a fingering chart for student to refer to if they need to figure out how to play a note. I find that to be a little problematic for visual learners; it kind of excludes them when it comes to learning new notes on the violin. Last but not least, I find this book very unappealing and boring. If a student is going to be engaged in learning from your book, you got to at least make look like a kid friendly book with kid friendly explanations for new musical concepts. Bottom line, this book is not for everyone! This book seems geared towards fast learning students who have prior knowledge about some violin playing fundamentals. A person who wanted to self teach themselves out of it would have a hard time with that book. This book WOULD however, make a good transition book from beginner to intermediate level in the student. It could serve as a form of reinforcing certain concepts in to your student or a good extra book for any gifted students who want something else to read.