Violin Guidelines

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Fluent Memory

Rhythmic Integrity

Accurate Pitch



Beautiful Tone


Appropriate Dynamics

Both list I and II contain the graduation requirements for all levels. List I contains the more objective aspects of a performance and List II contains the more subjective aspects. The levels of graduation require increasing skill in all requirements, particularly those in List II.

  • It is the teacher’s decision when a student’s recording meets the requirements. A recording should not be sent that has memory stumbles, wrong notes or lack of a steady tempo. If the student has major problems in these areas then continue to work on the piece and submit it at a later date.
  • Recordings can include accompaniment, at the teacher’s discretion. If using a recorded track, it should not include the violin in the background.
  • While no specific tempo is required, a student who submits a video should be capable of playing at the performance speed performed on the standard Suzuki recordings, whether or not that speed is chosen for the video.


Violin Level I: Gossec Gavotte (Book 1)

The ability to keep a steady beat while playing the variety of note values that are present in this Gavotte is a challenge to many students so specific attention should be given to this.

Requirements: List I and II with special focus on List I

Student Level: Student should be studying in the beginning of Book 3 or beyond.


  • Intonation: The C# in measure 7.
  • Intonation & Articulation: In measure 20.
  • Articulation: The 16th notes in measures 25, 27, 29, 30, and 31.


Violin Level II: Bach Bourrée (Book 3)

A student making a tape for this level should have more highly developed skills from list II than would be expected from graduation Level 1.

Requirements: List I and II

Student Level: Student should be studying Vivaldi A minor Concerto 1st movement or beyond.


  • Intonation & Ringing Tones: Chords in measure 2 & 4.
  • Intonation: D#’s in measure 10, 12, 13, & 15.
  • Intonation: C extension in measure 19.
  • Intonation: B flats, E flats and F#’s in G minor section (Bourree II).
  • Clean String Crossings & Bow Articulation: Whole piece.


Violin Level III: Vivaldi Concerto in G Minor 1st Movement (Book 5)

The 1/2 step progression below refers to places where the fingers of two successive notes feel 1/2 apart even though the notes are fingered on two different strings.

Requirements: List I and II and more developed tone, phrasing, dynamics and vibrato (if vibrato has been taught at this point).

Student Level: Student should be studying Fiocco Allegro or beyond.


  • Intonation: Whole piece!
  • Intonation: The A flats in measure 38, 63, 73, 81 % 91.
  • Intonation: 1/2 step progression in measures 85-90 (see notes).
  • Intonation: Minor 3rds and 1/2 step progression in measures 119-126 (see notes).
  • Intonation: 2nd position in measure 131.
  • Intonation: Shift in measures 138 & 139.
  • Clean String Crossing & Intonation: In measures 41 & 167.
  • Intonation: F# extension in measure 161.
  • Tone, Intonation & Length: Final chord.

Violin Level IV: Bach Concerto in A minor 1st Movement (Book 7)

Pay special attention to steady rhythm and intonation as they are especially important to play Bach well. It is easy to play the many fast notes of this concerto as one long “run on sentence,” so think about breathing and phrasing.

Requirements: List I and II with special attention to steady rhythm and intonation.

Student Level: Student should be studying the Bach Largo or beyond.


  • Intonation & Ringing Tones: The ascending patterns and the 16th note groups in measures 4-9, 88-89, 105-110, & 126-134.
  • Articulation: There are many articulations under slurs. These need to be clean and evident throughout the piece.
  • Intonation & Ringing Tones: The repeated figure should have good ringing E’s in measure 24-28.
  • Intonation & Notes: Be precise with the changing finger pattern in the repeated rhythmic figure in measures 44, 48, 135, 137 & 139.
  • Intonation & Notes: Learn the whole and half step patterns in the scale in Measure 112-116.
  • Note Values: There are many tied notes so hold them accurately feeling the subdivisions throughout the piece.
  • String Crossing & Adjacent Whole and Half Steps: Be aware of the adjacent string relationships for good intonation throughout the piece.

Violin Level 5: Mozart Concerto in D major 1st Movement (Book 10)

This is the highest graduation level and the student should demonstrate high standards of performance. Playing the Mozart concerto well requires, in addition to advanced playing skill, musical maturity. This musical maturity will be evident especially in how the aspects of list II are dealt with. Students should have been exposed to enough classical music in general and enough Mozart to have sensitivity to the appropriate musical style. While the list of “Focus Points” for this piece is shorter it does not mean that this piece is easier or less problematic. At this level accompaniment is encouraged but not required.

Requirements: List I and II with a very high standard of performance, advanced playing skills and musical maturity. Special attention to advanced and mature skills from list II.

Student Level: Student should be studying music beyond the Suzuki books.


  • Letter D: Careful work on string crossings and intonation.
  • Letter G: Intonation.
  • Trills: Trill exercises may be helpful if trills tend to be sluggish.
  • Letter J: Careful work on string crossings, shifting and intonation.
  • Candenza: Every measure is tricky. Have the student listen to various performances so they can develop the improvisatory style necessary for a cadenza.