Method / Technical Study Books

Here's a list of the method books I recommend most often. Click the title to view and purchase from

Mel Bay presents Sensible Scales Plus! For Violin and Fiddle by Julianna Waller

Each skill section in this excellent resource for beginning, intermediate, and advanced players is concise, easy to understand, and provides an effective and meaningful approach to learning one-, two-, and three-octave scales plus more. Presentation of scales and arpeggios include excellent fingerings and an emphasis on bowing and rhythmic variations. Beginners are supported with rote and music notation as well as specific goals to accomplish. 

Suzuki Violin School Volume 1 - 4 Revised Editions (Book & CDs) (Suzuki Violin School, Violin Part) 

A must for all students - and generally presented in the correct order for learning necessary skills (you don't need to study the Suzuki method to utilize the books) 

Wohlfart Op. 45 Sixty Studies For the Violin Book 1 & 2

 This is the 2nd study book my students get to enhance their work on solos. I usually have them purchase this when they are beginning the 2nd Suzuki book level. 

Kreutzer - 42 Studies or Caprices: Violin Method

A must-have for the serious violin student, these exercises are excellent technique builders for the intermediate to early advanced player. I personally use these for warm-ups and start requiring this book for students once they are past the fourth Suzuki Book level. 

Double-stop Studies for the Violin Op 96 by Richard Hofmann

I like this book for Double stops as it starts with an easy progression from open string double stops and increases difficulty as it goes 

Introducing The Positions - Volume 1

Introducing The Positions For Violin, Vol. I (Third and Fifth Position) (Whistler)

The BEST studies...

Knowing the best books isn't always are the best studies AND WHY?

Ever try to correct a very specific problem? I have found certain studies (that I call my "favorites") to correct a number of issues that I would like to share.

Wohlfahrt Op. 45 Sixty Studies Book 1: STUDY #13

My ALL TIME favorite study! Goal is to keep tone equal for the 3 beat dotted half note and the 4 16th notes played first at the tip and alternating to the frog in every other measure. I use this study to work on straightening the bow arm, utilizing the right wrist fully in each bow, and reminding students to push the right wrist forward (to complete their "figure 8" motion) when reaching the tip. For beginning students I utilize this same bow pattern , playing only open A and E strings, adding D string bowing as appropriate, and finally G string when the arm is better developed.

Wohlfahrt Op. 45 Sixty Studies Book 1: STUDY #18

"Pinky Curl" correction and strength excercise. This study is also great for loosening the muscles in the student's left hand in preparation for Vibrato. Full, straight bow usage and distribution are key - so this is a "well rounded" study. Depending on student's level, notes per bow can be reduced to 6 per bow or 2 per bow for the novice.

Finger tapping (not in a book)

Builds finger strength. Start on the A string - with 1st finger down throughout, Tap the 2nd finger (C#) once; Tap 2 & 3 together once; Tap 2, 3, & 4 together once; Now keep 1st & 2nd down and tap 3rd once; then 3rd & 4th together once; Next the 1, 2 & 3 are down and you tap the 4th finger once. The pattern is repeated at least 10 times - and then should be played on the other strings. The goal is to gain speed. Fingers should be "heard" tapping on the fingerboard

Kreutzer 42 Studies or Caprices: STUDY #3

Position "crawl" from 1st to 6th, intonation & a variety of bowing patterns make this study a must for every advancing student

Introducing the Positions Volume I: STUDY #128

Harmonic Etude is the best study I've found for practicing the natural harmonics. Great study for intonation as the shifts are well placed throughout. This study is also great for reducing the "pinky curl" and straightening the left wrist if students bend when crossing to the E string.

Viva Vibrato, String Polishing: STUDY #6A 

When done correctly, this really allows the student to loosen their arm - key to this exercise is maintaining the relationship between thumb and 3rd finger (or whichever finger being used) when returning to 1st position. At the end of each "polish" I tell my students to pretend the finger they are polishing with has "Super glue" on it so they "plant" the finger on the fingerboard while continuing to rock. Motion should be from the arm - not the wrist!

Wohlfahrt Op. 45 Sixty Studies Book 1: STUDY #1

Great "First" study to add to an all solo repertoire - this study allows the student to sight read without any "finger numbers" over the notes, it's great for intonation, and bowing patterns can be chosen to enhance new rythms and bowings that appear in advancing solos.

Jazz Violin Phrasing (not in a book)

Jazz violin has a particular phrasing and feel that is impossible to get from a book, only from someone who can demonstrate it. There are free videos at Jazz Violin Lessons you may find useful.

Useful Links

Sheet Music

Buy solos, piano accompaniment parts, play along books with CDs, technical study & method books and more, I think the BEST site for sheet music 

Another great site for Sheet Music: JW Pepper offers a large online selection of sheet music for church choirs, concert & marching bands, and orchestras. Buy sheet music online at JW Pepper

...And don't forget to check out Last Resort Music - Sheet MusicSheet Music for Duets, Trios & other Ensemble groups, Strings, Woodwinds Brass, Wedding, Chamber

String Instruments and Accessories

Southwest Strings

Buy instruments, bows and accessories. I find them to have the BEST prices on strings (and you should always have at least one extra full set in your case at all times).

Shar Music

Buy instruments, bows, cases and accessories. From music stands and shoulder rests to rosin, peg dope and mutes, Shar has a great inventory of everything you need to keep on playing.

American String Teacher Association

Teachers and students are welcome to join this organization that supports string & orchestra teaching and playing. Check out ASTA now

Instrument Insurance

It's hard to find an insurance company that will insure string instruments. I use Huntington T. Block - and with my ASTA memebership, I secure a great rate! 

Play Along CDs

I adore these Dowani CDs, the music comes with play along CDs in 3 tempos: slow, medium & concert speed. In addition, the music does not contain "dynamics" markings, allowing students to write them in by listening to the CDs, or just "feeling" the music to see where they belong.

Other Cool Links

A fun site for learning - check it out: San Francisco Symphony Kids Site

Came across this site and TOTALLY agree with these practice tips: Violin Practice Guide

Ms. Tracy, a youth services librarian who runs a fun classical music history class for 7-13 year olds (and uses in her lessons) asked me to share this link - which inspired young Olivia to learn more about classical music - it's a great read:  Know Your Composers: Famous People of Classical Music 


Classical Aisles Violin Lesson Studio

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