PEDAGOGY instruments musicianship books

String Class Method Books

This list includes most of the method books currently in use in the U.S. I do not endorse any particular method. I believe that a quality string teacher can be successful using any or NONE of the following books. The teacher is the actual method, not the book.

Having said that, I have enjoyed using books that come with accompaniment CDs. They help with pacing in the classroom, as well as giving the students a better sense of rhythmic pulse and harmony. They also appear to foster increased home practice because the CDs are motivational to practice with.

Allen, Michael, Robert Gillespie, and Pamela T. Hayes. Essential Elements 2000. Hal Leonard.

There are 4 volumes of this method. Contains background CDs. Many supplementary materials are available. For better or worse, the accompaniments have a real pop oriented sound, since it is a Hal Leaonard method. Many teachers like this method, and it is authored by three leading experts in string education.

Applebaum, Samuel. String Builder. Miami, FL: CPP/Belwin Inc., 1986.

This method is in three volumes, and each one comes with a cassette or CD, which contains accompaniments to the songs in the method book. Traditional, old-school, not flashy, but it still works.

Dabczynski, Meyer, Phillips. String Explorer. Alfred Music Publishing, Inc.   

A 2 volume series with CD accompaniments. Graphically intense. Pages are loaded with concepts, pictures, etc. This is pretty much the opposite of String Builder.

Dillon, Jacquelyn, James Kjellard, and John O'Reilly. Strictly Strings. Alfred Music Publishing, Inc. 

Alfred's older method book. Includes a cassette or CD accompaniment . Accompaniments are simple synthesized backgrounds (no heavy metal guitar solos like in Essential Elements). There are three volumes, and lots of supplementary materials.

Frost, Robert, and Gerald Fischbach. Artistry In Strings. Kjos.

The latest offering from Kjos. Two volumes. CD accompaniments. Incorporates Fischbach's pedagogical ideas. Fischbach is a Paul Rolland expert, so many movement and natural playing techniques are incorporated.

Anderson, Gerald, and Robert Frost. All for Strings. Kjos.

Kjos' older method book. Three books. Book 3 has an interesting approach to position playing.

Gazda, Doris, and Albert Stoutamire.  Spotlight on Strings. Kjos. 

Gazda has a start with the fingers down approach designed to facilitate better left hand position. Includes music composition activities.

Johnson, Sheila. Young Strings in Action. Farmingdale, N.Y: Boosey and Hawkes, 1986.

This method is based on Paul Rolland's approach to string playing. It comes in two volumes. There are cassette accompaniments to each book. I think it is out of print, so if you can find it, hold on to it.

Smith, Bret P. and James O. Froseth. Do It! Play Strings. GIA Publications.

The background accompaniments were recorded with top-quality studio musicians and are the core of this method. All the pieces in the book are song repertoire. Click here for more info.


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