O’Connor Violin Method

Jennifer Visick said: Mar 1, 2010
Jennifer VisickForum Moderator
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Suzuki in the Schools, Violin
997 posts

Mark O’Connor has recently come out with a new set of books for beginners (for the moment, only available at Shar). Currently he’s published books 1 & 2, with plans to continue through a set of 10 books.

Has anyone bought these books yet? Used them? I just attended a weekend workshop for teachers on using these two books…. There are some interesting ideas. It’s designed to be a “core repertoire” that addresses a complete set of techniques on its own—but Mark’s philosophy is quite consonant with Suzuki philosophy and I can see the repertoire and ideas working well within a Suzuki framework.

Thoughts?

said: Mar 2, 2010
 5 posts

My child’s teacher began using them this past autumn and we think they are great! Now my boy is working simultaneously in Suzuki Book 1 and O’Connor Book 1 and it’s has really been working out well. The O’Connor songs are great fun and lighten up the practises, while reinforcing key concepts and techniques. My son actually enjoys the O’Connor songs more than the Suzuki songs and when he’s happy, I’m happy;-)

Ruth Brons said: Mar 11, 2010
Ruth Brons
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
Livingston, NJ
148 posts

The MOC books are a HUGE hit in my program.
Yes, the skill sequence follows that of Suzuki [and even improves it a bit by introducing easy double stops], but it is the repertoire content that has engaged my students.
The students and their families are finding pieces in the collection that resonate, that are meaningful in some way.
Whether it’s a five year old’s imagination that is captured between the lovely photgraphs and the beautiful orginal Mark O’Connor tune “Beautiful Skies” , the 7 year old who tells me that “Amazing Grace” is on dad’s Ipod becuase it was played at his sister’s funeral; or the 10 year old who’s mom requests a “Boogie Woogie” break after dinner each night!

I love the genius that is the Suzuki core repertoire. While region competition, ASTA CAP exam requirements, or ensembles supplement the students experience in the later books, the MOC books, coming from the American perspective, are a perfect compliment to the early Suzuki repertoire. It is my understanding that there are to be ten books in the MOC sequence, and my students are eagerly waiting the next installments!

Ruth Brons
Inventor of Things 4 Strings[tm] Universal Fit Bow Accessories:
Bow Hold Buddies[tm] for Violin/Viola, and
CelloPhant[tm] for Cello
http://www.things4strings.com

Jennifer Visick said: Mar 12, 2010
Jennifer VisickForum Moderator
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Suzuki in the Schools, Violin
997 posts

ruthbrons

It is my understanding that there are to be ten books in the MOC sequence, and my students are eagerly waiting the next installments!

At the weekend teacher training workshop I attended, he said he was planning to come out with Books 1 & 2 for viola & cello by Summer, and would begin books 3 & 4 after that.

Ruth Brons said: Mar 12, 2010
Ruth Brons
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
Livingston, NJ
148 posts

Thanks for the update.
I am glad to hear about the viola and cello MOC projects!

Ruth Brons
Inventor of Things 4 Strings[tm] Universal Fit Bow Accessories:
Bow Hold Buddies[tm] for Violin/Viola, and
CelloPhant[tm] for Cello
http://www.things4strings.com

Joan Dailey said: Mar 21, 2010
Joan Dailey Towles
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Suzuki Early Childhood Education, Bass, Cello, Viola
Pasadena, CA
2 posts

Thank you for the information. I will evaluate.
Joan Towles

Danielle Gomez Kravitz said: Nov 10, 2010
Danielle Gomez KravitzInstitute Director
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Violin
59 posts

I have the first two volumes and have used them as supplemental material.

The kids always like the idea of playing a fiddle tune. Though in my opinion the books do not progress smoothly enough in the technique department to be used as core material.

For example, in book one he has Boil Em Cabbage as his “Twinkle.” But he only does the equivalent of twinkle variations A, C and E. So if a student was learning ONLY from this book, they would not yet have been taught how to string change and bow direction change (as taught in var. B) by the time they reach the second song, Beautiful Skies.

In Beautiful Skies the new techniques required in order to play the song are:

-changing bow direction while changing string direction
-doing “short short” bows and the frog and tip (as in go tell aunt rhody and then o come)
-more advanced finger pattern movement

In O Susanna (3rd song in the book), he adds on:

-using individual second finger (lightly row)
-fast 8th note bows (may song)
-quarter notes vs. half note bows (twinkle theme, lightly row)

The list goes on. Point being, it seems to me like the focus behind these books is more to have a progression of beginner to advanced fiddle tunes rather than being something that could systematically teach technique.

Jennifer Visick said: Nov 13, 2010
Jennifer VisickForum Moderator
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Suzuki in the Schools, Violin
997 posts

The sequence of techniques is different, but I don’t think it’s completely unrealistic to go from the first three cabbage variations directly into Beautiful Skies. Then again, I haven’t tried it yet.

Danielle Gomez Kravitz said: Nov 13, 2010
Danielle Gomez KravitzInstitute Director
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Violin
59 posts

It’s not so much sequence as number of techniques. A student learning from only these books would have to learn 3 or 4 brand new tricky techniques for every piece. That’s a heady prospect from someone who is just beginning. It would be different if you already knew how to play and just wanted to learn fiddle tunes.

Barb said: Nov 17, 2010
Barb Ennis
Suzuki Association Member
Cello
678 posts

Curious to hear opinions of the cello books!

Barb
Music Teachers Helper—for individual teachers
Studio Helper—for entire music studios or schools

Community Youth Orchestra said: Nov 21, 2010
Community Youth OrchestraViolin, Viola
70 posts

It depends on the age of the student.

The MOC books now have viola and cello volumes, and a unified version for school orchestra is coming out as well. 4th grade students learning in a group setting wouldn’t have any problem with the number of techniques being introduced, especially if it were reinforced with supporting material/exercises.

I can see it being challenging for a 3 or 4 year old beginner…

Danielle Gomez Kravitz said: Nov 22, 2010
Danielle Gomez KravitzInstitute Director
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Violin
59 posts

I don’t think age or even skill level really matters. If you tell an intermediate student “play through the piece again but I would like you to focus on vibrato,” they could do that. If right after that you said “the vibrato was good, now play it through focusing on straight bows,” there’s a good chance the vibrato will not be heard that time. Add on a third thing to think about and the vibrato will be all but lost.

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