Frederick Hall: A Teaching Guide (Part 1)
Frederick Hall: Movement I: Romance – an etude in shifting and phrasing
By Julia Reddy
Frederick Hall Easy Violin Solos, I. Romance
This post is part of a series sharing my adaptations and teaching methods for the Easy Violin Solos by Frederick Hall. Start here to read the introduction post to the series.
Download my annotated part so that you can follow along.
The biggest change I’ve made to the etude is adding many stylistic shifts. The goal is to keep the phrase on one string as much as possible, and the piece goes all the way up to 6th position on the D string.
You should help the students identify all of the shifts, and categorize them as either:
- A shift on one finger
- A shift from a lower finger to a higher finger
- A shift from a higher finger to a lower finger.
The student should already be familiar with these 3 types of shifts.
Then, have the student figure out the intermediary shifting notes for each of these shifts. Ex- G for for the shift between the first 2 notes. It may be helpful to write these down.
The student should then practice playing smooth shifts with all of the intermediary notes, and gradually shorten them down.
This piece can also be used as a great little introduction to romantic phrasing. I’ve provided my interpretation in the annotated part, but I like having students come up with their own ideas for bowing and dynamics.
The slow tempo also lends itself to practicing having a sustained vibrato from one note to the next. Constantly check that the hand is always relaxed, and that the thumb is not squeezing the fingerboard.
For dynamics, help the student plan the amount of bow to use for each note. Have them write which part of the bow they should be at, how much bow they should use, and where they should be saving & spending.
Bowing-wise, I suggest slurring the quarter notes into groups of two to keep things consistent. This way, the changing bow speeds/amounts to bring out the dynamics are really clear. This is also a good way to practice changing bows smoothly
Piano Accompaniment for Romance
Putting it all together:
Once the student is ready, have them practice along with the piano recording. You can find recordings of all of these pieces on my Youtube channel, both with violin and as a play-along piano part.
I hope some of my fellow violin teachers may find this helpful, and if so, please let me know in the comments! I’d love to know if anyone else is already using this material, and how you like to teach it.