My First Pieces - Violin - Dalseno String Studio

My First Pieces

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  • To make the short term and long term lesson experience as musically satisfying for the student as possible.  My experience is that once students are inspired to play they will be often more open to developing their technique just so the music can sound more beautiful.
  • The teacher is seen more as a partner and facilitator.  Both the string and piano accompaniments allow for this to happen in an ongoing meaningful way.
  • Advanced students can also play along – the buddy system works so well!
  • The actual pieces are drawn from well-known works and a number of works especially written for a particular need.
  • The accompaniments themselves, whilst packed with plenty of musical ideas and styles, have been devised to support the student and certainly not overwhelm them.  The three part texture, melody, counter-melody & bass line is consistent through the entire book.  Cellists can choose to play their part or the bass part.
  • A wide range of keys and modalities are aurally introduced to the student. For instance, when they learn C#, the accompaniment is in C# minor or after playing the G major scale, a piece in A dorian mode (no 62. Galloping across the Plains is played).  This gives the student a wider aural experience than they would normally experience as a beginning player.


Some Features of the Books

  • Spiral binding for ease of opening.
  • Images of the instrument and posture are in colour – easier and more attractive to the eye.
  • Glossary at the back to check on terms used throughout the books.
  • Table of contents for easy navigation.
  • The student’s books page numbers are indicated throughout the Teacher’s and Accompanist’s books.
  • Uncluttered – much better for learning.
  • Students are encouraged to draw their own pictures.  There is alsoplenty of room for stickers!

Pedagogy and Sequencing

  • There is no specific method put forward – most of what is presented is in line with current pedagogical practice.
  • Technical tips and images regarding posture, bow-hold etc. are only there as an aid for students and are not in any way meant to be definitive.  I personally do not advocate a solid shoulder rest and prefer a Huber pad but I would never put that on other colleagues!
  • I have tried both ways of starting ie: with the bow or with pizzicato.  I now favour the right hand pizzicato as little arms really get tired with both at first.  The bow-hold is introduced using a pencil after a week or two of learning.  Students are always encouraged to follow the set –up rule for the left hand.
  • Bowing is introduced at piece no. 24.
  • A wide range of techniques are covered but with no one area overdone.
  • Musical terms and concepts are introduced one or two at a time.
  • Many of the bowings in the teacher’s parts are matched with the student’s bowings.
  • Students are encouraged to compose – a compositional task is at the end of the book for easy reference.  It can be started at any appropriate time.
  • The sequencing is logical and fairly straightforward:


  1. All the open strings – note that the bassists learn their open strings in reverse order to the other string players.  I believe it is less confusing for them when they know their sounds are in reverse.
  2. The D major scale notes with a range of keys/modalities.
  3. The G major scale notes with a range of keys/modalities.
  4. The C major scale notes with a range of keys/modalities.
  5. The E String Notes (violin/bass – viola/cello review)
  6. The C string notes (viola/cello – violin/bass review)


 Crotchets, minims, semibreve, dotted minims, and their rests.  Quavers – in 2’s then 4’s, dotted crotchet followed by a quaver.  Time signatures used are: 4/4 à 3/4 à 2/4


 Right hand pizzicato à detache à staccato à hook stroke à slurs & legato à portato.


 Retakes; bowing divisions; harmonics; left-hand pizzicato.

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