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Violin Books for Beginners

Y’all, there are so so many wonderful options when buying violin books. The three books below are the ones that I use on a regular basis, but they are certainly not the only ones I use for my students! I have been incredibly fortunate to have mentors who are some of the most well known string educators and who happen to be the authors or co-authors of the majority of these books. No single one of these books is better than the others; rather, they are to be used for different purposes. If you are one of my beginning students, you will most likely use all three of these books at different points in time. After the consultation lesson, I let all my students know which book is best for them! Again, it may not come from this short list.

Measures of Success Book 1: Dr. Gail Barnes, my college professor and mentor wrote this book with a team of three other music educators. This book is perfect for the orchestra classroom and also for private lessons. It comes with an audio accompaniment for the songs. I believe it is so important for beginning students to practice with a soundtrack for several reasons. The soundtrack is not going to have intonation, rhythm, and other technical problems. The student will always hear the correct music which is crucial for beginners.

Essential Elements Book 1: I have a lot of love for this book as well. I began learning violin with this one. It also comes with an accompaniment that I personally used all the time even when I was not practicing. You will most likely see this book used in an orchestra classroom. Another mentor of mine, Pamela Hayes, is one of the writers to this book. I love that both Essential Elements and Measures of Success include music theory and awesome note reading exercises.

Suzuki Violin Book 1: I use this book primarily for students who are between 3-10 years old. After becoming Suzuki Book 1 certified, I have loved using this book. I believe Suzuki pedagogy is beautiful, particularly in the suzuki conviction that “Every Child Can” learn to make music and benefit from learning music. I love this. No matter the circumstance, whether a child is autistic, or blind, or lacks certain motor skills- every child can. As an undergraduate, I did an independent study with USC Suzuki Professor Hughes and learned so much more than I thought was possible about this book and the different ways to use it.

Again, all of these books are wonderful for private lessons and for the orchestra classroom! The most important factor is always going to be consistent practice: the first book used does not determine whether or not the beginning student will someday be the first violinist of the New York Philharmonic!

Musically yours,

Christine B

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