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String Teacher Workshops

Choosing Repertoire For Young Violinists

Violin Teacher and Student Illustrationby Mimi Zweig

You may have wondered how your teacher chooses repertoire for you. Nothing is arbitrary, and your teacher has “figured out” an overall game plan. In the beginning you are playing open strings and the famous Twinkle Variations, which you might think go on forever. As you progress you can look back and see that there are usually three things  operating at the same time. You are reviewing and polishing older repertoire that you can now master, you are working on a piece at your current level, and you probably have a piece that is stretching your technical and musical abilities. This threesome will keep you happy because you will sound beautiful on one piece while experiencing the frustration and exhilaration of pieces that stretch your limits.

If you are in your first years of study, your teacher is also supplementing your Suzuki repertory with a variety of other fun and interesting pieces. And we can’t forget the scales and etudes. Your scales and arpeggios are probably the most difficult things to play perfectly (this “only” lasts for a dozen years) and your etudes ensure that you are mastering technical challenges with the infinite repetitions within each etude. All these will facilitate the learning of your solo pieces. Your teacher also tries to vary your pieces, giving you works of different composers and rom different periods of time, requiring different styles of performance. The most exciting thing is, that the more you practice, the better you become, and the more exciting the repertoire is. So … Keep practicing!!

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