The Ice Skating Pond, by Hannah Bartel
Where to put it: After Minuet 2, and then anywhere in Suzuki Book 2
This is a phenomenal piece, and my students simply adore it. Especially when they’ve been working hard to master the more sophisticated bow patterns, playing this piece is a huge relief and lets them just play. I don’t teach this piece until after a student has done Minuet 2 and is fairly comfortable with both low 2 and high 3 patterns. Students will want to play this piece fast right away, and rather than rein them in too much, I make sure that there isn’t really anything new for them to learn in it so they can just run.
- Spend the first week on intonation, especially the 4th fingers. Have students stop and hold ringing 3’s and 4’s and tune them to the open strings.
- If you haven’t done so already, this piece is the perfect piece to introduce how to work with a metronome.
- Use dotted rhythm patterns (again with a metronome) to increase speed.
- Depending on the student, you can also have the metronome on half notes and then have them march quarter notes (while playing) to help keep them steady.
- It can be fun to do a travel bow from the frog to the tip in measures 10-11 for a dramatic dimuendo and to play the recap at the tip, then a reverse travel bow for the crescendo in m. 17-18.
Buy My Pine, by Edith Winn
Where to put it: Musette
Buy My Pine is a fun, fiddle-ish piece. I’ve found that it works best around the Bach Musette in Book 2 to work both on D Major finger patterns across all four strings as well as slurs that are a little less complicated than those in Musette. There are also opportunities for a lot of good level work.
- Isolate the 4th finger passages in advance.
- Teach the runs first playing each note twice (doubles), then separate bows, then hooked marteles, then slurs.
A Picture, by Edith Winn
Where to put it: After Minuet 2
A Picture works very nicely with Minuet 2. It reinforces the Down Up-Up bowing, and also has some great opportunities for building the connection between the high 3rd finger and the 4th finger. There’s more high 2/low 2 finger patterns, and some fun passage work across the strings. Depending on the student, the bowstroke can either be detache on the string at the balance point, or you can have them bounce it a little bit. There are also a great ritardandos to where you can talk about pacing and breathing.
Note: I don’t always teach this piece – I use it more in the Minuets if a student is really getting things quickly and needs more repertoire to go in depth.
- Isolate the runs in advance – doubles, singles, and rhythm patterns if needed.
- Point out the key change for the B section in advance.
- M. 25 – 26 and the analogous passages following them also work well if you slur the first two notes and then do an up-bow on the last quarter note of the measure.
- Many opportunities for bow circles and discussion of flexible bow fingers for a soft landing.
Green Tomatoes, by Hannah Bartel
Where to put it: Early Book 2, after Musette
Students love the fact that Green Tomatoes is almost entirely pizzicato. The D Major finger patterns as well as the bowing patterns in the arco section work well to reinforce the work they’ve done in Musette. Playing this much pizzicato helps prepare them for the ending of Gavotte from Mignon later in the book.
- Teach the pizzicato without the bow at all first – have them plant the thumb and pluck.
- Stage two involves holding the bow while plucking.
Note: I teach Gossec Gavotte after Bourree in Book 2, so this serves as prep for that as well. Green Tomatoes would also be good between Happy Farmer and Gossec Gavotte in Book 1 if you teach the pieces in that sequence.
Part 3 coming very soon!