Book 2

Rebecca said: Jan 23, 2015
 Violin, Piano
6 posts

I have several Book 2 students but I have not had my Book 2 training yet. I’ve been teaching for many years but this is the first time I’ve done Book 2 with students learning by ear (my first batch of “true Suzuki students” you could say—although I know Suzuki teaching is not just defined by learning by ear.)

I am very overwhelmed w/ all the bowing technique in Book 2. I don’t know if I’m moving too fast (the students I’m thinking of learn very quickly) or if I don’t do enough prep work, but I just feel like the students’ entire life is me correcting bowing. Should I do more bowing w/ scales first? Should I have them move more slowly and just keep them interested by adding other activities (sight reading, other repertoire etc.)?


Mengwei said: Jan 23, 2015
Mengwei Shen
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Piano, Cello
Jersey City, NJ
120 posts

My book 2 students pick up notes and rhythms well but slurred bowing is new to their physical vocabulary (only since the Minuets) so they tend to miss that. We’ve prepared slurring 2 and 4 using scales starting in late book 1, and as they get comfortable with making and hearing the slur type of sound, I also assign active listening—to have them listen specifically for slurs in the book 2 pieces.

At Gossec Gavotte, I’ve pointed out that the patterns of 4 slurred notes are a big deal. They need to have a strong sense of beat and of using the bow stroke to keep the beat (vs. guessing at how many notes are going in the same bow direction). We do stopped bows as practice before fully connecting the notes (this is also built into the Minuets). Nearly all the pieces in book 2 have this pattern, so they will see that this prep work pays off.

In addition to doing scales and new Twinkle rhythms, we apply different bowing patterns to Perpetual Motion and play it in different keys. On the non-bowing scene, I think that Two Grenadiers is a bit late to be starting the minor tonality and thus have already introduced E minor alongside with G major in book 1. I also do duets to book 1 pieces, non-Suzuki ensemble pieces and other folk songs learned by ear, music notation/reading prep, solfege, etc. These benefit their overall musical development and are not simply to “slow them down” (but “slowing down” does have the effect of them spending more time building foundations of skills).

Danielle Gomez Kravitz said: Jan 27, 2015
Danielle Gomez Kravitz
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
59 posts

Book 2 is when I start having the book play a more active role in the learning process. I believe it’s important to do some away-from-book listening but, ideally, the sheet music should compliment the listening process.

Bowing on the shoulder while listening is helpful. If the student continues to struggle, I tell him/her to “sing the slurs.” So like for the first two measures of Minuet 3 we would go:

“Long, slu-ur, sep-rate, long, up, up.”

It’s mostly just to make them think about where the slurs are as a sound effect.

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