What Scale Book to use for Beginners?

Brittany Proffitt said: Sep 13, 2013
Brittany ProffittViolin
6 posts

Teaching is going wonderfully. Really enjoying it.

My more advanced student (age 10) does not have a scale book. Which scale book do you think is most beneficial?

Connie Sunday said: Sep 16, 2013
Connie SundayViolin, Piano, Viola
667 posts

I start out having them print out three pages from this source:


Just the A and D majors one octave, and the G two octaves. We use “Suzuki bowings” for these three scales and arpeggios. I think teachers use different names, but you know what I’m talking about: the bowing variations for the Twinkle. I also have a little handmade chart for other bowing variations:


Then the very first actual book I use is A Tune A Day Beginning Scales for Violin. I really love this book, and after working through every bit of it most students are ready for Hrimaly.


Free Handouts for Music Teachers & Students:

Amanda Hockenberger said: Sep 16, 2013
Amanda Hockenberger
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
Marlton, NJ
10 posts

Hi Brittany, Here are some of my favorite scale books to use.

Book 1-2: I don’t use a book for the first few scales. (AM, DM, GM, CM)
Book 2-4: I love Scaley Monsters by Mary Cohen. It includes a note-reading piece to go along with each scale/finger pattern. The finger pattern charts are easy to understand and enhance knowledge of finger patterns. When my students finish the book, we go back and add a second octave and shifting to any scales that didn’t include 2 octaves.
Book 4+: Scales for Advanced Violinists, by Barbara Barber. I always use this book when students are ready to move on to 3-octave scales. This book is appropriate for Book 4-10.
Book 10+: Scale System, Carl Flesch. Best for advanced students at a college prep level.

Enjoy! Amanda

Joyce McGlaun said: Sep 17, 2013
Joyce McGlaun
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Suzuki Early Childhood Education
39 posts

First of all—how I am enjoying the discussions!
Secondly, since the revised edition Suzuki books have most of the scales in advance of the pieces appropriate for them, I find these much easier to use. I also like Sally O’Reilly’s “Fiddle Magic” for scales and technique for beginners. One line of music is appealing for early readers and the titles are catchy and never include the word “scale.” For advanced students at about the book 3 level I begin with Barbara’s Scale book. Another good option for two octave scales is Jody Harmon’s Improvisation books. All scales are played in jazz rhythms.

Joyce McGlaun
Strings Unlimited Violin Studio & Quartet
Baby Music of Abilene, http://suzukibabymusic.blogspot.com
325-677-5766; 325-829-4440

Merietta Oviatt said: Sep 17, 2013
Merietta Oviatt
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Suzuki in the Schools, Cello, Viola
Stevens Point, WI
104 posts

I teach the one octave scales through G Major two octave without a book. After they have the G Major two octave I have them get Susan Brown’s two-octave scales book. It goes through the circle of fifths, so we skip C Major initially and go to G Major—then go back to C. I love this book because it gives the relative minor, goes through arpeggios, 7th’s, chromatic, etc… It also has options to play them in various positions—it’s like a preparation for the Barbara Barber book of 3 octave scales. By the time they get to the Barber book they are well prepared for it!
I also use Muller Rusch books to study finger patterns, basic note reading and bowing skills in books one and two, and then in book 3 there is extensive third position shifting exercises and note reading in the position. It has 5 total books and covers up through 5th position with some nice songs from Corelli. The first few books give exercises followed by short, cute songs to re-iterate what technique was just learned.
I have had great success with the system of these two books plus their Suzuki for beginning/intermediate players. It really gives them a great foundation in technique and reading!

Dr. Merietta Oviatt
Suzuki Specialist
Viola/Violin Instructor
Aber Suzuki Center, University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point
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