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Date of Award
Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)
School of Music
There is a strong oral tradition present in the field of violin pedagogy, in which the influence of a single teacher can be felt for many generations. Current violin teachers have a large responsibility to pass on to their students a strong foundation of technique and musicianship so that one day the students will be able to adequately teach both themselves and their own future students. Because of this responsibility, it is important for the violin teacher to be able to adequately pass on information in variety of ways in order to suit each individual student, thus enabling every student to gain something from their violin studies. A thorough understanding of the history of violin pedagogy is imperative to being an effective teacher. There have been many great violin pedagogues through the history of the violin, along with many important treatises on both playing and teaching the violin. Any of these treatises can serve as a valuable resource in the study of violin pedagogy. The treatises that served as the basis for this document were Leopold Mozart’s Treatise on the Fundamental Principles of Violin Playing (1756), Carl Flesch’s The Art of Violin Playing, Volume I (1923), and Ivan Galamian’s Principles of Violin Playing and Teaching (1962). These three treatises were chosen as representatives of the violin playing styles from three centuries, the eighteenth (Mozart), nineteenth (Flesch-although his treatise was written in 1923, he was still influenced by and therefore served as a representative of the nineteenth century), and the twentieth century (Galamian). Although there were many treatises written throughout the history of the violin, Mozart, Flesch, and Galamian were chosen for this document largely because of their success rates as both violinists and teachers. Leopold Mozart was known as the best violin teacher in Salzburg during his lifetime and “his teaching was sought after even in his old age.” During my own journey as a violinist and teacher, I have collected some of the main treatises written on violin pedagogy, and that of Leopold Mozart was one of these treatises, which I collected but unfortunately never read. I used this document as an opportunity to finally read Mozart’s treatise. Also, through out music history, Leopold Mozart has unfortunately been overshadowed by his son, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, therefore not many people know that Leopold Mozart was a very good violinist. My hope is that by including his treatise in this document, Leopold Mozart’s work as both a violinist and teacher will be better appreciated by current violinists and teachers. Carl Flesch was successful both as a violin soloist and as a violin teacher. His students included Henryk Szeryng, Ida Haendel, and Ginette Neveu. Flesch’s Scale System is a valuable tool that is used by current violinists. My first exposure to the work of Carl Flesch was through his Scale System. This book has been a crucial part of my violin studies, and it is part of my daily practice ritual. I selected his treatise for inclusion this document because I wanted to learn more about Flesch and his teaching style. Ivan Galamian was one of the twentieth century’s greatest violin pedagogues. One of his famous students was Itzhak Perlman, who wrote that Galamian “was a virtuoso teacher whose system of teaching the violin was both ingenious and logical. He applied that system to all of his students, and it worked, no matter how much or how little talent the student had-a true sign of a great pedagogue.” His treatise was chosen for this document because its influence is felt the most by current day violinists. Over the course of my violin studies I have had violin teachers who have studied with either Galamian, or his former students, therefore my overall violin technique has been greatly influenced by Galamian’s teachings. Upon examination of the treatises written by Mozart, Flesch, and Galamian, it is evident that the fundamentals of violin technique and pedagogy have not changed greatly through history. It is important for the current day violin teacher to know the fundamentals that have been proven through history in order to guide their own teaching. This document examined the basic aspects of the left and right hand violin technique. The left hand technique covered includes the set up of the violin in playing position, shifting through the left hand positions on the violin, and vibrato. The right hand technique covered includes the bow grip, tone production, and two of the basic bow strokes used on the violin: détaché and martelé.
Shock, Steffany Ann, "Violin Pedagogy Through Time: The Treatises of Leopold Mozart, Carl Flesch, and Ivan Galamian" (2014). Dissertations. 92.