I actually learned violin in the fourth grade (in public school, no less) without the benefit of the Suzuki Method, which, though very popular and I'd guess has taught millions of folks how to play various instruments, is criticized by some folks for being too rote in its instruction. Because I didn't actually learn through the method, I have no idea if the criticisms are correct, but I love the fact that fiddler Mark O'Connor is making an attempt to bring his "O'Connor Violin Method" to a few more folks.
I'm not going to speak on the pedagogical method -- because, you know, I'm not a teacher -- but I like the fact that O'Connor sought to include "musical literature that represents all of the Americas -Mexico, Canada and every region of the United States – and all musical styles – classical, folk, Latin, jazz, rock and ragtime." O'Connor goes on to say that
"The tune that I have arranged to provide the most rudimentary studies for a beginning violinist - Boil'em Cabbage Down - is the first fiddle tune I learned as a child."Who knows if "Ashokan Farewell" (a song which is barely 25 years old) is in the collection (I kinda doubt it), but it can't be a bad thing to have a fiddle/violin instructional method use some of those classic tunes, right? (And folks who want to learn from O'Connor -- or have their kids learn from O'Connor -- can go here to learn more about String Camps in Tennessee and New York City this summer. For once, being a viola player has its advantages -- cheaper registration.)
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