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Mel Bay First Lessons Violin Book/CD Set Paperback – January 23, 2002

4.5 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Mel Bay Publications, Inc.; Pap/Com edition (January 23, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786618051
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786618057
  • Product Dimensions: 11.7 x 8.8 x 0.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #804,483 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Verified Purchase
I'm 36 and recieved a Violin for my 5th wedding anniversary. (5th = wood traditionaly) I've wanted to play for a long long time, however I know nothing about music. Before this book, I had absolute ZERO music knowledge. This book showed the finger positions before each lesson. This was key for me, because when I was reading through "Step one: Teach yourself Violin", which I got at the same time and looked into first, I didn't understand how you can make a B note on G, D, A, & E strings. It just didn't click. This book has a diagram showing for example on the E string it's Open string = E, then first finger position = F#, then G# and then A. Each lesson is laid out with a note diagram of the strings involved and which position on the fingerboard makes which note. This is what got me started, as I said I was somewhat lost with the other book. There is not much on holding the violin or bow, but enough to get started. It also has a brief description on music notation. Through the progression of lessons the music is a bit more complicated in that new things like dynamics are introduced. for $... this is a must if you are like me and starting from scratch. I also like "Step one: Teach yourself Violin", because it has a video cassette, but I suggest First Lessons first!
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Whenever anyone criticizes the Suzuki method, I always raise a red flag (review previous to this one). It's been around forever and has done a world of good!! The Suzuki method books include very mature pieces.

As a teacher, First Lessons, just doesn't have enough warm-ups. The ABCs of Violin is better--it's a longer book and includes more material--great selections of pieces, excellent warm-ups. The Suzuki books have minimal warm-ups, mainly pieces, but excellent selection of pieces.

First Lessons is an ok book as a supplement just in the beginning, but the Suzuki books and the ABCs of Violin have books you can move on to. Suzuki, Books 1 through 10 and the ABCs of Violin, Books 1 through 5.
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I'm 32 years old, and decided to learn the violin as my son has been playing a few months now. I've been working through this book for almost three weeks without a teacher and I'm in the middle of lesson 8 right now. As other reviewers have mentioned, there is no instruction on how to read music or how to tune the violin.

I played a string instrument (bass violin) many years ago and did not find this a problem, you simply remember Every Good Boy Does Finely to name the lines and F A C E to name the spaces and work from there. This will not slow you down, the bass plays in a different clef and learning to "read" the music in the treble (G) clef that the violin uses took less than a week. As for tuning, buy a chromatic tuner when you purchase your instrument and ask for tuning instructions then.

This book takes an approach much better suited to adults or musicians who play other instruments in that it emphasises melodies to learn to play. You are done with open strings after lesson one and learn the notes and fingering of the A major scale in lesson two. This is a much more satisfying approach than traditional method books. Slurs are introduced in lesson 11. You'll have learned most of the notes in first position by lesson 13 and the rest by lesson 17. Lesson 22 will introduce the 4th finger.

My only complaints about the books are: 1.) the heavy emphasis on the A and E strings. This was dramatic enough to make me search through the book to find any songs that use the G string (I found a couple at lesson 13), and to make me wonder if I should write out the songs an octave or fifth lower just to practice using the D and G strings as well. (The D string is included a little more often that G)

And 2.) the lack of difficult songs.
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I loved this book and CD combination. The CD makes it fun to play the exercises because you can play along with a full accompaniment. The songs are beautiful, and unlike the ABC violin book mentioned by other reviews, they are not songs written by the author, but rather timeless songs known by everyone.

This book and CD set has really helped me learn to read music, and has vastly improved my sight reading on the violin.
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The progression of pieces (and big bonus of being able to listen to them all on the CD) for this book is far superior to that of the Suzuki method (or the ABC for violin book). The selection of songs is neither too juvenile nor too complicated- this is my favorite book out of the 7 or 8 I now own. I am a first year violin student and am supplementing the books my teacher chose with some of my own selection that have more playable music, such as this one. If you only get ONE violin books- this is the one.
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This is a very fun supplement book along with the Essentials series and Suzuki series. I buy as many songbooks for beginners as possible so I can mix things up when I get bored. I am an adult student that may be at a 6th grade level (with violin). I'm over halfway through this book now and really enjoying it. But I do already know how to play a violin in first position and can read sheet music. I like this book because they have some slightly longer pieces, but they are not extremely difficult so you can hone your skills as far as bow strokes, accents, slurs, crescendo, decrescendo, etc.
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