The need for incorporating authentic Baroque repertoire into existing viola pedagogy
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Viola pedagogy has developed since the beginning of this century, particularly that of beginning players. Many methods, tutors, and series of books are designed for beginners, but perhaps the most prominent is the Suzuki Method. This method has earned a place of favor amongst many music teachers for its felicitous choices of repertoire appropriately graded from easy to difficult in scope. Much of the repertoire in the Suzuki books for viola is transcribed from violin literature, and almost none is for viola. However, in light of recent discoveries of viola repertoire, much of the wonderful ideas contained in these books could be further enhanced by the use of this original material. A fundamental part of a beginner’s repertoire is music from the Baroque period because of its value in basic technical development. The purpose of this report is to propose that for almost every Baroque work in the Suzuki books, an original piece of Baroque repertoire can be efficiently and judiciously substituted, while preserving Suzuki’s original pedagogical and musical intent. Rather than being a rewriting of Suzuki’s books and ideas, this essay is intended to preserve the all too evident pedagogical quality of this method while proposing in one small corner of the repertoire, a more timely and mature approach to what is still a relatively young study of viola pedagogy.