Early Start on the Viola

The publication of the four violin books in 2008 in a fully adapted English version has been a big success. On the back of this success story Bärenreiter published the four books for cello in 2009 and the four books for viola in 2010 in an adapted version for today’s English speaking children.

Even before they reach school age, many children are enchanted by the warm sound of the viola. Instruments are availabe in a range if different sizes making it possible to play the viola at a young age. The tried and tested principles of the Sassmannshaus violin and cello methods have been maintained here; with small adjustments for the viola the method offers the same sure steps to early musical and technical progress.

Early Start on the Viola – Volume 1

15 lessons. With numerous call songs and nursery rhymes. Includes flash cards for learning notes in first position and their finger placements.
BA 9686

After the introduction featuring open strings and basic note values, the “cuckoo call” follows as a basic interval. Note reading is introduced from the beginning, and accidentals are explained in the easiest way in the first volume. By the end of the first book, many English children’s songs using all fingers have been played and note values from whole to eighth notes have been introduced. Most exercises are underlaid with text so that rhythms can be learned easily and melodies can be perceived as a whole.

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Early Start on the Viola – Volume 2

20 lessons. With numerous folksongs and nursery rhymes as well as dance forms, several in two parts for student and teacher to play together. Introduction to playing in upper positions.
BA 9687

The second volume already presents classical viola duets. The child’s knowledge and technique is expanded by dotted rhythms, sixteenths notes, and first double stops. And here is the most revolutionary aspect of the method: different finger patterns can be connected and combined to create any major and minor scale without the use of open strings. This creates the ability to practice scales in any position within the first or second year of playing! With this skill, songs learned in first position are easily transposed to other keys and higher positions. Coupled with beginning shifting exercises this sets a foundation for an early virtuoso technique not available in any other method.

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Early Start on the Viola – Volume 3

14 lessons. Elementary duets. With numerous dances and repertoire pieces in various keys. Music from the Baroque era to the early 20th century.
BA 9688

The third volume emphasises duet playing in a great variety of keys, rhythms and musical styles. Different finger patterns and strokes are thoroughly practiced.

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Early Start on the Viola – Volume 4

15 lessons. Playing in upper positions, scales, arpeggios, double and triple stops, harmonics, ornaments, bowing techniques. Music from the Baroque era to the early 20th century.
BA 9689

The fourth volume introduces various positions as well as new bowing techniques (brush strokes, spiccato, martelé, staccato). These are practiced in increasingly demanding classical duets. At the end of volume 4 students are able to play scales and arpeggios over three octaves. From this point on students can embark on the journey to the standard repertoire.

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