String Methods for Beginners  book cover
1st Edition

String Methods for Beginners

ISBN 9780367226862
Published March 30, 2020 by Routledge
262 Pages 199 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

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.



Table of Contents

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



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