To the foregoing suggestions may be added a word of advice which should interest all those engaged in teaching the young. Too often, in the selection of easy pieces for the young and inexperienced pupil, the mistake is made of choosing compositions for their musical attractiveness rather than for their violinistic worth. That is, the pieces chosen have been written by men who have no intimate or practical knowledge of the instrument, and who, consequently, have not taken into consideration the educational value of their compositions, instrumentally speaking. Such pieces are not sufficiently helpful to the young student. He requires the far-seeing aid of the violinist-composer—the practical player of the instrument whose wide and varied experience enables him to combine what is pleasing with what is unquestionably instructive. Though many of the compositions written by well-known French violinists have little to recommend them from the stand-point of musical worth, they contain, in proper form, the true elements of violin technic, and prove invaluable to the student who endeavors to master their contents.
In conjunction with this subject, it would be well to dwell, for a moment, on the inadvisability of encouraging young pupils to play a great deal in the upper positions. This is a very grave, but common, error among teachers who are anxious to exploit ambitious pupils. Such lack of wisdom or conscientiousness often has serious results in after years, inasmuch as the struggling, but incompetent, pupil develops faulty intonation in his strenuous efforts to accomplish what is really beyond him—at least beyond him from the view-point of a natural and healthy growth.
Special advice on such a subject is, naturally, out of the question; for the needs of one pupil will not fit the needs of another; and the really gifted pupil accomplishes with the utmost ease that which the untalented struggle for in vain. But a safe, general rule is assuredly that of confining the pupil’s work to the lower positions during the first two years of his studies. Such a course cannot fail to add strength to the hand, and surety as well as delicacy of touch to the fingers.