1st Edition

String Methods for Beginners

By Selim Giray Copyright 2020
    262 Pages 199 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    262 Pages 199 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    String Methods for Beginners is designed for students to receive the essential playing and teaching skills on all orchestral string instruments. The goal of this textbook is to be truly methodical in its approach, and to assist the instructor, completely eliminating the need to do additional research, or reorganization in preparation to teach this class. Students will gain the basic knowledge and experience to teach bowed stringed instruments in public schools. String Methods for Beginners covers the necessary topics to learn and teach the violin, viola, cello, and string bass. It explores the fundamentals of those instruments and teaching considerations, utilizing a heterogeneous approach.

    As the primary resource to any college- and university-level String Techniques, String Methods, or Instrumental Methods class, this course book fits into a standard semester, comprised of 25 lessons, which correspond with two hourly classes per week for the term. It provides the instructor with the tools to teach a classroom of non-majors or string education majors, or a mixed classroom of both.


    • Offers a blueprint for a semester long string methods course.
    • For beginning students, and also comprehensive for more in-depth study or for reference.
    • Logical, step-by-step "recipe-like" approach.



    List of Illustrations



    Lesson 1

      1. Introduction
      2. Address to Non-Majors
      3. Address to Majors
      4. Some Qualities of an Accomplished String Teacher
      5. Fundamentals of String Instruments
      6. Building Practice Skills
      7. Course Outline
      8. Course Requirements
      9. Parts of String Instruments
      10. Parts of the Bow
      11. Motions of the Bow
      12. Course Timeline for Bow Application
      13. Items to Receive a Quote, and if Necessary, Purchase

    Lesson 2

      1. Instrument Overview and Care
      2. Heterogeneous String Classroom Setup
      3. Instrument Assignment
      4. Review of Parts of String Instruments
      5. Posture and Instrument Hold
      6. Five-Step Instrument Posture
      7. A Pizzicato Exercise
      8. Preparatory Bow Exercises

    Lesson 3

      1. Review of Five Steps to Instrument Posture and Left-Hand Position
      2. Tuning
      3. "Pendulum" Exercise
      4. Preparatory Bow Exercises (continued)
      5. A Brief History of the String Instruments
      6. Tone Production

    Lesson 4

      1. Review of Five Steps to Instrument Posture and Left-Hand Position
      2. "Pendulum" Exercise (continued)
      3. Preparatory Bow Exercises (continued)
      4. Finger Patterns
      5. Rosining the Bow
      6. The Bow Hold and Arco Playing

    Lesson 5

      1. Preparatory Bow Exercises (continued)
      2. The Bow Hold and Arco Playing
      3. History of the Bow
      4. Tuning Strategies
      5. Tuning with Pegs

    Lesson 6

      1. Arco Tuning
      2. Bow Exercises
      3. Accessories

    Lesson 7

      1. Arco Tuning
      2. Bow Exercises
      3. Arco Playing
      4. String Ensemble Playing Traditions

    Lesson 8

    Videotaping of First Playing Test

    Lesson 9

      1. A Bow Placement Exercise
      2. Bow Management and String Crossings
      3. Selection and Maintenance of String Instruments, Bows, and Strings

    Lesson 10

      1. Conducting Strings: Error Detection and Rehearsal Techniques
      2. Incorporating Good Teaching Habits in Strings: The Teaching Cycle

    Lesson 11

      1. Collé Bowing Exercise
      2. Classroom and String Orchestra Setup

    Lesson 12

    A) Left-Hand Techniques

    B) Performance Practices Specific to Orchestra

    Lesson 13

      1. Principal Schools of Bow: German, Franco-Belgian, Russian; French
      2. vs. German bow holds

      3. Bow Strokes and Expressions

    Lesson 14

    Common Technical Problems and their Remedies

    Lesson 15

    Videotaping of Second Playing Test

    Lesson 16

      1. Studio Teaching
      2. Teaching the Violin
      3. Teaching the Viola
      4. Teaching the Cello
      5. Teaching the Bass

    Lesson 17

      1. Pedagogical Understanding of String Teaching
      2. Moving Students Between Instruments

    Lesson 18

      1. A Presentation and a Discussion on the Secondary-School String
      2. Program Observation

      3. Legato Playing and its Exercises

    Lesson 19

    Shifting, Vibrato, and Trill Exercises

    Lesson 20

    Videotaping of Third Playing Test

    Lesson 21

      1. Extended Left-Hand and Bow Techniques
      2. A Discussion on Heterogeneous String Class Method Books.

    Lesson 22

      1. Selection of Repertoire: A Discussion on Graded Orchestra Repertoire
      2. How to Avoid the Dreaded Over-Programming
      3. Spiccato Exercises

    Lesson 23

      1. A Brief Discussion on First Year of Teaching and Contest Preparation
      2. Writing a Lesson Plan for Individual and Classroom Teaching

    Lesson 24

    Videotaping of Fourth Playing Test

    Lesson 25

      1. Videotaping of Individual Lesson
      2. Videotaping of Classroom Teaching


    Appendix A

    Instrument Sizing Chart

    Appendix B

    One and Two Octave Scales in D Major, G Major, and C Major

    for a String Ensemble




    Selim Giray is Director of Orchestral Studies at the University of Mississippi.