Theory Workbooks for violin

Elizabeth Jones said: Apr 25, 2010
Elizabeth Jones
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Violin
Owensboro, KY
21 posts

I have several students (ages 9, 10, 12) who are interested in learning more music theory. I’m looking for theory workbooks that are written specifically for violin. I know that All About Strings series has workbooks. Has anyone here used these? What would you recommend?


Jennifer Visick said: Apr 25, 2010
Jennifer VisickForum Moderator
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Suzuki in the Schools, Violin
998 posts

There’s an older thread about this… there, I just found it and posted to it. You should see it if you click:

Carol Anderson said: Jul 8, 2010
Carol Anderson
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Suzuki Early Childhood Education, Piano, Cello, Viola
9 posts

I have written music theory games and have them in Ebook form on my website. Many are geared specifically for violin.

Rhymes and Reason teaches the relationships of notes.

Lots of finger position workbooks that are basically card games or board games that you download and cut out.
Music terms board game in Ebook form….major minor madness is one I’m honing right now because the next teacher meeting will concentrate on that, games to teach reading music and spitcato….the kids favorite game that teaches the order of notes on auto pilot.

Also, since I have been giving teachers ‘Music Theory Game Days’, I’ve been providing them in printed form. Let me know what interests you and I’d be happy to let you look at it. Just email me:

[javascript protected email address]

Connie Sunday said: Jul 10, 2010
Connie SundayViolin, Piano, Viola
667 posts

There is a collection of such materials here:

I have purchased and examined most of this materials. The Dorothy Croft is fine for violin players. I use the Theory Time materials for piano students. For adult students wanting to improvise on the piano, I use the Essentials of Music Theory: Complete Self-Study Course, which is an excellent review. The Master Theory books are good for pre-college adolescents. See the URL, above, for links to these materials on SheetMusicPlus.

Violin, Viola & Piano Theory
Dorothy Croft—Violin Theory For Beginners: Bk. 1, Bk. 2
Mel Bay, Beginner Violin Theory For Children: Bk. 1, Bk. 2

Alfred’s Essentials of Music Theory:
Instructional (book)-Complete, Instructional (book/CDs)-Complete
Textbook: Book 1, Book 2, Book 3
Teachers Answer Key, Teacher’s Activity Kit (Book 1)
Alto Clef (viola)-Complete
Student Version-Complete, Ear Training Books 1-3 (CDs only)
Flash Cards: Note Naming, Key Signatures, Rhythm
Double Bingo Game: Note Reading, Key Signatures, Rhythm
Alfred’s Essentials of Jazz Theory
Jazz Improvisation
The Jazz Piano Book
Essentials of Music Theory: Complete Self-Study Course
Complete Book of Scales, Chords, Arpeggios & Cadences
The Chord Wheel

Master Theory: Bk. 1, Bk. 2, Bk. 3, Bk. 4, Bk. 5, Bk. 6

More theory materials

Theory Time Workbooks:
Bk. 1, Bk. 2, Bk. 3, Bk. 4, Bk. 5, Bk. 6
Bk. 7, Bk. 8, Bk. 9, Bk. 10, Bk. 11, Bk. 12
Piano Flash Cards: Set A, Set B
Snell Fundamentals of Piano Theory:
Prep, Level 1, Level 2, Level 3, Level 4
Level 5, Level 6, Level 7, Level 8, Level 9, Level 10.

Free Handouts for Music Teachers & Students:

Lisa said: Sep 20, 2010
Lisa HollisViolin, Suzuki Early Childhood Education, Viola
Dorchester, MA
21 posts

For basic theory I love, love, LOVE Faith Farr’s Foundations for Music Reading. It starts very basic but doesn’t leave out anything and gets students ready for more academic style theory such as RCM or ABRSM and it teaches fingerboard geography which I think is very important.

Jennifer Visick said: Sep 21, 2010
Jennifer VisickForum Moderator
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Suzuki in the Schools, Violin
998 posts

Speaking of fingerboard geography, Barbara Barber has new(ish) books out that go by this very title, for violin & viola, that go through the Suzuki repertoire with exercises geared specifically for teaching finger patterns (i.e. fingerboard geography).

And (shameless plug follows) our suzuki program in Pasadena, CA, is hosting Barbara on November 21 & 22 as she gives an Enrichment teacher training seminar covering these very books…

Diane said: Sep 21, 2010
Diane AllenViolin
245 posts

I’m in the midst of creating the Fingerboard Workbook Series for Violin and Viola. It’s extensive and similar to Faith Farr’s in that you are filling out fingerboard charts.

The series drills:
Key Signature reading
Note reading
Seeing/Hearing/Feeling notes

It covers 1st—11th position so the range is from beginners to high leger line practice for violinists and treble clef reading for violists.

I’ll let y’all know when they are done. Just last night I gave all my files to the graphic designer who is going to make the books look pretty then we’ll send it off to the publisher!

Videos of student violin recitals and violin tutorials.

Christine said: Sep 22, 2010
Christine Goodner
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Suzuki Early Childhood Education, Viola
Hillsboro, OR
68 posts

Sounds very interesting Diane!

I am interested in this topic because I want to prepare my private high school students to study music in college. I am thinking of starting with the Alfred books—the school I teach at uses these books to prepare high schoolers for the AP music test. My students enrolled at this school get a lot of music theory, but those I teach outside the school do not and I want to change that.

Anyone have any experience with these books—or with helping give a student a solid theory background before going off to college? I have to say as a student growing up I did not learn a lot of theory and wish I had!

Christine in OR

Christine Goodner

Studio Website: Brookside Suzuki Strings

Blog: The Suzuki Triangle

“When Love is Deep, Much can be Accomplished” ~ Suzuki

Diane said: Sep 22, 2010
Diane AllenViolin
245 posts

Christine—Here’s a brief description of the books. I’ve used the first position book with fantastic results for years with my students. Since technology has changed so much I was able to make books for 1st—11th positions quite easily compared to the first time I made the book on dinosaur age software. I’m hoping to have them published sometime this fall.

Each position has the exact same format.
All musical examples are within 2 strings and drill all the left hand fingering combos.
The directions are as follows:
Identify key signature
Identify note names
Plot them on a fingerboard chart
Assign fingerings
Identify the interval
Sing the example looking at the chart then the music
Play the example looking at the chart then the music

Part 1—Half Steps and Whole Steps
Part 2—Chromatics
Part 3—Thirds
Part 4—Fourths
Part 5—Fifths
Part 6—Sixths
Part 7—Sevenths
Part 8—Octaves

Videos of student violin recitals and violin tutorials.

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