Exploring Suzuki Bass Books IV & V

I’m excited to have in hand the latest copies of Suzuki Bass School Bass Books 4 & 5.  It’s been a personal goal of mine to try and acquire materials (as I’m financially able) to enlarge my teaching resources.   I’m particularly happy to finally order these two books.

Photo: http://suzukiassociation.org/media/1936/

Without delving into specifics about the Suzuki teaching philosophy and books 1-3 which I feel encompass more of the heart of the Suzuki method, I happily embrace these additions to the pedagogically sequenced music for doublebass.  Here are some of my first thoughts on books 4 & 5.

Book 4– This book does a nice job of dovetailing with the mid-section of book 3 (from #5 “Trilling Waltz, not as with the Jazz pieces “So What” and “Sweet Georgia Brown”).  I like the beginning work with 2nd finger in the thumb-position (Bb and F-natural).   There’s a nice balance of what I would call ‘standard’ pieces (such as the final orchestral excerpt from Wagner’s Die Meistersinger overture and Marcello Sonata in e-minor [originally for cello]) with the Suzuki repertoire pieces (La Cinquantaine by Gabriel-Marie, Humoresque by Dvorak, etc.).  The Two-Octave Scales at the very end are an excellent resource for fingering and intonation.

Book 5– This book, slightly shorter than it’s predecessor, dives directly into learning tenor clef which I feel would be appropriate at this point in a student’s study (perhaps mid-high school age).  The familiar pieces “French Folk Song” and “Chorus from Judas Maccabaeus” are brought back in tenor clef and some of tenor clef usage continues in following pieces (mixed with treble clef in the upper register).  With Book 5 I feel like the teacher would have to do quite a bit of supplementation at this point because of the sparce nature of the material.   There’s just so much you COULD teach at this point- I see a great opportunity for diversification.   I enjoyed the usage of the Aria from “Rigoletto” as exposure to opera and lyrical solo playing.  The Marcello Sonata in G (printed in full) I consider to a decent piece for baroque sonata study.  The capstone of this book is the 1st movement of the Capuzzi Concert in F.

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About tunedin4ths

David Ballam Doctoral Student at the University of Texas at Austin Doublebass Instructor: UT String Project & Round Rock School District BLOG: https://tunedin4ths.wordpress.com/ WEB: https://ballam.musicteachershelper.com
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