Am I making good progress?

Hunter McGlone said: Jun 3, 2013
 2 posts

I started violin 1 1/2 years ago. I didn’t use the suzuki method until a couple weeks ago and my current level is book 3. I am going to be a freshman next year is this good progress?

Jennifer Visick said: Jun 3, 2013
Jennifer VisickForum Moderator
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Suzuki Early Childhood Education, Suzuki in the Schools, Violin
1072 posts

If you have a teacher, that person is probably the best qualified to answer your question!

“Progress” is most often not best measured by which book level you are working in, but by how well you are playing whatever you are working on. It is impossible to say whether or not you are making good progress without answers to at least some of the following questions:

  • Do you have a balanced way of holding the instrument that does not place you at risk for injuring yourself?
  • Do you have a pleasing tone quality?
  • A sense of rhythm?
  • Are you improving and controlling the dynamics and articulations that you are learning?
  • How accurate is your intonation?
  • Do you have a good grasp of the historical style of the music you are working on?
  • Are you daily improving your mastery of skills for reading music, for adding ornamentation, for expressive vibrato, and
  • are you expanding your range and your choices for fingerings (improving your shifting and knowledge of finger patterns and how they work on the fingerboard)?
  • Can you play with an ensemble, or with a pianist, following a leader for starting and ending phrases together, matching dynamics and articulations and mood? Can you be the leader in such a group and effectively allow others to follow your musical tempo & style? If not, are you working on this by meeting and rehearsing with some kind of group or ensemble, and making musical friendships, on a regular basis?
Anita Knight said: Jun 4, 2013
Anita Knight
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Suzuki Early Childhood Education
Kent, WA
26 posts

Dear Hunter,
Good for you for working so hard to get to book 3! Sounds like you are a diligent young student that any teacher would love to teach!
Are you in an orchestra or taking private lessons? Like RaineJen said, that’s your best bet for growing on that list of things and continuing forward.
I hope you keep pursuing violin and find it enjoyable!
Keep it up!

Anita Knight
“Joyful Sound Violin Studio”

Hunter McGlone said: Jun 9, 2013
 2 posts

I have an after school strings class on monday and wed. And i just started private lessons.

Kiyoko said: Jun 11, 2013
 95 posts


If you only started private lessons a couple of weeks ago and just now with a Suzuki teacher, you might want to ask why you aren’t starting in Book 1 like most students who haven’t had private lessons do. The pieces may seem easy, but there is more to learn than just the notes. If your teacher placed you in Book 3, it maybe because your teacher assessed you and thinks you have self mastered enough of what is taught in the first couple of books or maybe they just want you to feel challenged enough by the music you are used to playing in class. There might be another reason entirely and it might help you to ask your teacher why.

As for progress, yes, Book 3 is good progress because in the Suzuki Method, philosophically, there is no such thing as a a student that is too slow or too fast. We all learn different things at different paces and in different ways. In my experiences as a Suzuki violin student (at your age), book placement varied by teacher as much as by the student. So keep in mind a student in Book 3 isn’t necessarily “better” than a student in Book 2.

You will eventually have to learn the first two books anyways if you want to fully participate in Suzuki group lessons and workshops.

Good luck and welcome to Suzuki.

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