Violin Curriculum

The purpose of the ECMS Violin Curriculum is to provide a systematic pedagogy for students. Instruction is provided in the private studio setting. The program is divided into six levels and includes:

  • Standards and requirements, therefore establishing a strong foundation.
  • Scales for intonation, sound production and bow control.
  • Methods and Studies, to focus on specific technique.
  • Building basic repertoire to hone musical skills.
  • Exams and juries to evaluate student progress

Students, who are in ECMS levels 0-3:5 (beginning and intermediate level)  play 10-minute exams for one faculty member, who is not their usual teacher.  Students, who are in ECMS levels 4-6 (advanced level), play 15-minute juries with piano accompaniment for a panel of faculty.  The decision of whether to play a jury or exam at any age/level, shall be made at the discretion of the teacher, in consultation with the student and parents.  This particularly true when a student has attained the transitional stage of levels 3.5, 3.75 or 4.0 (awarded during the previous school year).  Juries are considered more beneficial and appropriate for students, who are not younger than school grade 7.  Elementary school- aged students, who reach advanced levels may be counseled to play an exam until they are of appropriate age for the jury setting.

Memorization is optional for adults. Our faculty are encouraged to create their own teaching personalities while working within the suggested general guidelines.

This table is a theoretical model of the learning path through each level of study.  Of course, ECMS students are each unique, artists.  Due to a combination of natural ability and past instruction, a student may show ease with certain skills and be challenged by others.  Download a copy of the complete curriculum here.


Level I

Core Technical Requirements

  • Establish correct posture, physical coordination, encouraging flexibility of the hands
  • Establish note-reading, including correct pitches and rhythms
  • Develop basic skills for correct pitch placement
  • Use of first position with different fingering patterns
  • Basic, full and partial bow strokes with correct placement at sounding point, straight path and direction: detaché, staccato, legato, slurs and string crossings

Examples of Scale Studies

  • Applebaum Scales for Strings
  • Barber Scales for Young Violinists
  • Whistler Elementary Scales and Bowings
  • Herfurth A Tune a Day Scale Book

Examples of Etudes/Studies

  • Applebaum String Builder Bk.1, 2
  • Applebaum First Position Etudes for Strings
  • Avsharian Mississippi Hot Dog Hoe Down
  • Avsharian Fun with Rhythm
  • Avsharian Fun with Basics
  • Bang Violin Method, vol. 1 and 2
  • Doflein Violin Method Bk.1
  • Suzuki Bk. 1, 2
  • Whistler First Etude Album for Violin
  • Wohlfahrt op. 38 Easiest Elementary Method

Examples of Musical Repertoire

  • Applebaum Building Technics with Beautiful Music Bk. 1
  • Avsharian Songs for Little Players Series
  • Barber Solo Pieces for Young Players Bk. 1
  • Brown, JS Bach Ten Little Classics
  • Pracht Album of Easy Pieces op.12
  • Suzuki Bk.1,2.

Exam Requirements for Level I

  • Scales: (1) One or two octave scale in a major or minor key in first position. Memorization required
  • Etude: (1) One Level 1 etude or piece. May be performed with music.
  • Repertoire: (1) Level 1 piece. Memorization required.

 


Level II

Core Technical Requirements

  • Refinement of skills in previous level
  • Double stops in first position
  • Natural harmonics
  • Shifting technique from first position to third position
  • Varied rhythmic patterns in scales, etudes and solos
  • More varied and complex string crossings, adding colle, martele, and longer slurs

Examples of Scale Studies

  • Hrimaly Scale Studies
  • Sitt Scale Studies
  • Sevcik School of Violin Technics op.1 pt.1
  • Schradieck School of Violin Technics Bk.1

Examples of Etudes/Studies

  • Bang Violin Method, Bk. 3
  • Doflein Violin Method Bk.2,3
  • Kayser 36 Progressive Studies, op.20
  • Polo Double Chord Studies for Violin
  • Suzuki Bk.2,3
  • Trott Melodious Double Stops Bk.1
  • Wohlfahrt Foundation Studies Bk.1,2
  • Whistler Introducing the Positions Vol.1
  • Whistler Developing Double Stops
  • Whistler Preparing for Kreutzer Bk.1

Examples of Musical Repertoire

  • Applebaum Building Technics with Beautiful Music Bk.2
  • Applebaum String Festival Solos 1,2
  • Avsharian Fun with Solos
  • Barber Solos for Young Violinists Bk.2,3
  • Huber Concertino op.8
  • Kuchler Concertino in D op.15
  • Portnof Concertino op.13
  • Rieding Concertino op.21,34,35
  • Ruegger Concertante in G
  • Seitz No.2,5
  • Suzuki Bk.2,3,4

Exam Requirements for Level II

  • Scales: (1) Two- octave scale in a major or minor key fully or partially in third position. Memorization required.
  • Etude: (1) Level 2 etude or piece. May be performed with music.
  • Repertoire: (1) Level 2 piece. Memorization required.

 


Level III

Core technical Requirements

  • Refinement of skills from previous levels
  • Proficiency in first and third positions; introduction of second, fourth and fifth positions
  • Vibrato with coordination of arm, wrist and fingers
  • Dynamics with good tone quality and musical expression
  • Proficiency in basic bow-strokes with increased flexibility; Increased accuracy of intonation
  • Musical expression- use of dynamics and clear phrasing
  • Use of more advanced skills- chords, trills, up-bow staccato.

Examples of Scale Studies

  • Flesch Scale System
  • Hrimaly Scale Studies
  • Sevcik School of violin Technics, op 1, Bk 1
  • Schradieck School of Violin Technics Bk 1

Examples of Etudes/Studies

  • Bang Violin Method, vol 4
  • Kayser Studies op.20
  • Mazas Etudes Speciales Bk 1 op. 36
  • Polo Double Stops
  • Sitt Studies for Violin op 32 Pt.2
  • Trott Melodious Double Stops Bk 1 and Bk 2
  • Whistler Preparing for Kreutzer Bk 1
  • Whistler Introducing the Positions Volume 1 and 2
  • Whistler Developing Double Stops

Examples of Musical Repertoire

  • Barber Solos for Young Violinists Volumes 3, 4
  • Dancla Airs Varie, op.89
  • Fiocco Allegro
  • Handel Sonata no. 3 in f major
  • Mlynarski Mazurka
  • Portnoff op.14
  • Severn Polish Dance
  • Vivaldi Concerto in A minor
  • Vivaldi Concerto in G minor

Exam Requirements for Level III

  • Scales: Memorization required. Scales may share a tonic. Must partially or fully utilize a position above first position.
    • (1) Two-octave, major scale
    • (1) Two-octave, minor scale
    • (2) or more pattern arpeggios.
  • Etude: (1) Level III etude. May be performed with music
  • Double -Stops: (beginning 2018-2019): (1) Level III Double-stop etude
  • Repertoire: (1) Level III piece. Memorization required.

Level IV

Core technical Requirements

  • Proficiency in skills of previous levels, including basic position, left hand and bow-arm techniques and use of correct dynamics.
  • Consistent accuracy in first five positions
  • Vibrato with continuity.
  • 3-octave scales with 7-arpeggio sequences for chosen major and minor scales with correct fingering (introduced).
  • 2-octave scales in double-stops (introduced).
  • Repertoire which utilizes primarily first through fifth positions, including extensions and half position.
  • Understanding and clear demonstration of printed articulations and expressive terms.
  • Interaction with accompanist.

Examples of Scale Studies

  • Flesch Scale System
  • Galamian Scale System
  • Sevcik School of Violin Technics
  • Schradieck School of Violin Technics

Examples of Etudes/Studies

  • Dont 24 Studies Preparatory to Kreutzer and Rode Studies, op. 37
  • Kreutzer 42 Studies

Examples of Musical Repertoire

  • Accolay Concerto No. 1 in A Minor
  • Bach, J. S, Concerto in A minor
  • Kreisler Sicilienne and Rigaudon
  • Monti Czardas
  • Dancla Airs Varies, op. 89
  • Weber Waltz
  • Tartini Fugue from Sonata in C, op. 1, no. 3
  • Handel Violin Sonatas in D Major and A Major
  • Haydn Concerto in G Major

Jury Requirements for Level IV

Students striving to achieve level 4 for the first time may sign up for either an exam or jury, according to the teacher’s recommendation.

  • Scales: Memorization required.  Scales may share a tonic. Scales should be performed at a moderate speed with any bowing articulation
    • (1) Three-octave, major scale.
    • (1) Three-octave, minor scale.
    • (7) pattern arpeggios.
  • Double Stops:
    • (1) Etude or caprice with primarily double-stops throughout. May be performed with music.

Or

  • (1) Two- octave scale and (1) Two-octave minor scale in double-stops. Memorization required.
  • Etude: (1) Level 4 etude. May be performed with music.
  • Repertoire: (1) Level 4 piece. Memorization required. Piano Accompaniment required (if the piece is not just for solo violin) for a jury only.

Level V

Core technical Requirements

  • Proficiency in skills of previous levels
  • 3-octave scales with 7-arpeggio sequences in keys with up to 3-sharps or flats with fine intonation and ability to perform with basic variations of speed and articulation
  • 2-octave scales in double-stops in keys with up to 3-sharps or flats with fine intonation.
  • Repertoire which utilizes all seven positions, primarily in sequential or “violinistic” manner. Some use of complex left-hand techniques, such as double-stops and artificial and/or natural harmonics.
  • Repertoire which explores all major, minor keys and simple modality.
  • Addition of complex bowing techniques, such as ricochet and longer, up-bow staccato
  • Varied, individual artistic expression

Examples of Scale Studies

  • Flesch Scale System
  • Galamian Scale System
  • Sevcik School of Violin Technics
  • Schradieck School of Violin Technics

Examples of Etudes/Studies

  • Kreutzer 42 Studies
  • Rode 24 Caprices

Examples of Musical Repertoire

  • Bach Concerto no. 2 in E Major
  • (selected movements) Bach Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin
    • Partita No. 1 – Allemanda, Giga
    • Partita No. 3- Bouree, Giga
    • Sonata No. 1- Presto (last movement)
    • Sonata No. 2- Allegro (last movement)
    • Sonata No. 3- Allegro Assai (last movement)
  • Bartok Rumanian Folk Dances
  • Mozart Concerto in G Major with a published cadenza
  • Kreisler Praeludium and Allegro
  • Kreisler Sicilienne and Rigaudon
  • Vivaldi Concerti “The Four Seasons: Spring”  
  • DeBeriot Scene de Ballet
  • Kabalevsky Concerto in C Major
  • Viotti Concerto no. 23

Jury Requirements for Level V

  • Scales: Memorization required.  Scales may share a tonic.
    • (1) Three-octave, major scale.
    • (1) Three-octave, minor scale.
    • (7) pattern arpeggios.

The student should be prepared to play each scale with two, different speeds and a steady pulse (e.g. eighths, triplet eighths, and/or sixteenths at M=50 or faster per quarter)  or two, different basic articulations (e.g. detache, slurs of 4 to 8 notes).

  • Double Stops:
    • (1) Etude or caprice with primarily double-stops throughout. May be performed with music.

Or

  • (1) Two- octave scale and (1) Two-octave minor scale in double-stops. Memorization required.
  • Etude: (1) Level 5 etude. May be performed with music
  • Repertoire: (1) Level 5 piece. Memorization and Piano Accompaniment required unless the work is written only for solo violin.

Level VI

Core technical Requirements

  • Refined proficiency in skills of previous levels.
  • 3-octave scales with 7-arpeggio sequences in all keys with fine intonation and ability to perform them with acceleration and advanced techniques of articulation and expression, including spiccato, martele and vibrato.
  • 2-octave scales in double-stops in all keys with fine intonation.
  • Artistic performance with sensitive, variable expression.
  • Understanding of musical structure and all musical markings.
  • Basic understanding of appropriate stylistic techniques (introduced), such as Baroque bow division, Classical transparency, Romantic portamento and varied vibrato.
  • Repertoire which demands facility in all positions. Use of refined, complex left-hand techniques, such as three/four-note chords, harmonics, glissandi and left-hand pizzicato.
  • Repertoire which may explore any major/minor key, atonal and/or modal harmony.
  • Sensitive, responsive collaboration with pianist.

Examples of Scale Studies

  • Flesch Scale System
  • Sevcik School of Violin Technics
  • Schradieck School of Violin Technics
  • Hrimaly Scale Studies

Examples of Etudes/Caprices
(N.B. Solo Bach is considered Repertoire)

  • Dont Etudes and Caprices, op. 35
  • Gavinies 24 Studies

Examples of Musical Repertoire

  • Bach Solo Sonatas and Partitas
  • Bruch Concerto in G Minor
  • Lalo Symphonie Espagnole (1st or 5th mvt)
  • Mendelssohn Concerto in e minor (1st or 3rd mvt)  
  • Mozart Concerti nos 4 and 5 (1st mvts w/cadenza)
  • Saint-Saens Concerto No. 3 (1st or 3rd mvt.)
  • Vitali Chaconne
  • Wieniawski Concerto no. 2 in d minor (1st or 3rd mvt)

Jury Requirements for Level VI

  • Scales: Memorization required.  Scales may share a tonic.
    • (1) Three-octave, major scale.
    • (1) Three-octave, minor scale.
    • (7) pattern arpeggios.

The student should be prepared to play one scale with at least three, different speeds with a steady pulse (i.e. triplet eighths, sixteenths, sextuplet sixteenths or 32nd notes) and the other scale with at least two, advanced techniques of bowing articulation (i.e. colle, martele, spiccato, 12 or more notes slurred, or combination of slurs and separate bows) or expression (i.e. vibrato, dynamic changes).

  • Double Stops:
    • (1) Etude or caprice with primarily double-stops throughout. May be performed with music.

Or

  • (1) Two- octave scale and (1) Two-octave minor scale in double-stops. Memorization required.
  • Etude: (1) Level 6 etude. May be performed with music. A showpiece, such as a Wieniawski “Polonaise Brilliante” may be substituted for the etude.
  • Repertoire:
    • (1) Movement from Bach Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin. Memorization required.
    • (1) Level VI piece. Memorization and Piano Accompaniment required.

 


Updated 4/26/22

 

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