Viola

The exercises, etudes, and pieces listed for each of the proficiency levels are to be considered only as a guide. The goal is for each student to reach a new level with each semester of study. Final selection and grading of material assigned to the student is at the discretion of the studio instructor.

Whether planning to be a teacher OR a performer, students should and are encouraged to go back and learn repertoire not specifically assigned even after advancing to the next level. These achievement levels are based on the ASTA String Syllabus levels. Note that many exercises and repertoire pieces overlap from level to level so that they may be worked on at the appropriate time for each individual student. Levels are minimum general guidelines, and exceptions can be made at the discretion of the instructor.

Level I | Level II | Level III | Level IV | Level V | Level VI | Level VII | Level VIII | Graduate Level

Level I

Technique

The student should be able to play in the first three positions and with a good tone. Effort should be made to master proper right hand and left hand positions, as well as master basic bow strokes such as detache, martele, and a basic spiccato. Selected major and minor scales up to two octaves.

Etudes and Exercise books
  • Sevcik – School of Technique Op. 1 Book 1 (finger exercises in first position)
  • Harvey Whistler – Introducing the Positions vols 1 & 2 (shifting)
  • Samuel Flor - The Positions (shifting)
  • Mazas – 30 Special Studies Op. 36 Book 1 (etudes)
Repertoire
  • Marcello – Sonata in E Minor
  • Eccles – Sonata in G Minor
  • Telemann – Viola Concerto in G Major
  • Vaughan Williams – Fantasia on Greensleeves
  • Seitz – Student Concertos (violin, transcribed for viola)
  • Vivaldi – Concerto in A Minor (violin, transcribed for viola)
  • Orchestral excerpts

Level II

Technique

The student should continue to work on shifting, hand positions, Sevcik exercises, as well as all major and minor scales up to two octaves.

Etudes and Exercise books
  • Sevcik – School of Technique Op. 1 Book 1 (finger exercises in first position)
  • Harvey Whistler – Introducing the Positions vols 1 & 2 (shifting)
  • Samuel Flor - The Positions (shifting)
  • Kayser – 36 Studies Op. 20 (etudes)
  • Dont – Twenty Progressive Exercises (etudes)
Repertoire
  • Marcello – Sonata in E Minor
  • Eccles – Sonata in G Minor
  • Telemann – Viola Concerto in G Major (all movements)
  • Marin Marais – Five Old French Dances
  • Schubert - Sonatina Op. 137 No. 1
  • Glinka - Sonata in D Minor
  • Handoshkin – Viola Concerto in C Major
  • Vaughan Williams – Six Studies in English Folksong
  • Orchestral excerpts

Level III

Technique

The student should be able to play in the first five positions with occasional higher notes as well. Double stops will appear more often and double stop exercises should start to be practiced. Proper right hand and left hand positions should have been mastered by this point, but attention should be paid to their continued development. Selected major and minor scales up to three octaves,
with basic detache and slurred bowing patterns.

Etudes and Exercise books
  • Becker/Schmidt - Scale Book (three octave scales & preferred scale fingerings)
  • Carl Flesch - Scale Book (three octave scales)
  • Sevcik – School of Technique Op. 1 Book 1 (finger exercises in 1st position)
  • Sevcik – School of Technique Op. 1 Book 2 (finger exercises in 2nd-7th positions)
  • Sevcik – Exercises in Double-Stopping
  • Harvey Whistler – Introducing the Positions vols 1 & 2 (shifting)
  • Samuel Flor - The Positions (shifting)
  • Kayser – 36 Studies Op. 20 (etudes)
  • Dont – Twenty Progressive Exercises (etudes)
  • Bruni – Etudes/Studies (etudes)
  • Sitt - Etudes Op. 32 (etudes, double-stopping)
Repertoire
  • J. C. Bach/Casadesus Viola Concerto in C Minor (1st & 2nd movements)
  • David Amram – The Wind and the Rain
  • J. S. Bach – ThreeViola Sonatas BWV 1027-29
  • J. S. Bach – Cello Suites arr. for viola (selected movements)
  • J. S. Bach – Concerto in A Minor (violin, transcribed for viola)
  • Bloch – Meditation and Processional
  • Bruch – Kol Nidrei Op. 47
  • Rebecca Clarke – Shorter Pieces for Viola (Lullaby, Passacaglia, Chinese Puzzle, etc.)
  • Glazunov - Elegie Op. 44
  • Faure – Apres un reve (After a Dream), arr. for viola
  • Faure – Elegy Op. 24
  • Debussy – Beau Soir arr. for viola
  • Alan Hovhaness – Chahagir Op. 56a for solo viola
  • Mendelssohn – Viola Sonata in C Minor (2nd movement)
  • Orchestral excerpts

Level IV

Technique

Scales, shifting, Sevcik, and double stop exercises should continue to be practiced daily. All major and minor scales up to three octaves, with basic and faster detache and slurred bowing patterns as well as spiccato and sautille strokes.

Etudes and Exercise books
  • Becker/Schmidt - Scale Book (three octave scales & preferred scale fingerings)
  • Carl Flesch - Scale Book (three octave scales)
  • Vamos/Schmidt - Daily Dozen (hand setting, shifting exercises)
  • Sevcik – School of Technique Op. 1 Book 1 (finger exercises in 1st position)
  • Sevcik – School of Technique Op. 1 Book 2 (finger exercises in 2nd-7th positions)
  • Sevcik – Exercises in Double-Stopping
  • Harvey Whistler – Introducing the Positions vols 1 & 2 (shifting)
  • Samuel Flor - The Positions (shifting)
  • Bruni – Etudes/Studies (etudes)
  • Sitt - Etudes Op. 32 (etudes, double-stopping)
  • Kreutzer – 42 Studies (etudes)
  • Lillian Fuchs – Fifteen Characteristic Studies (for solo viola)
Repertoire
  • J. S. Bach – ThreeViola Sonatas BWV 1027-29
  • J. S. Bach – Cello Suites arr. for viola (selected movements)
  • Brahms – Two Songs Op. 91 for alto, viola and piano
  • Frank Bridge – Two Pieces
  • Bruch Romanze Op. 85
  • Elliott Carter - Elegy
  • Henry Cowell – Hymn and Fuguing Tune No. 7
  • Handel/Casadesus - Viola Concerto
  • Handoshkin - Variations on a Russian Song of Love
  • Hindemith – Trauermusik
  • Hoffmeister – Viola Concerto in D Major
  • Alan Hovhaness – Talin Concerto Op. 93
  • Alan Hovhaness – Sonata for Solo Viola Op. 423 (1995)
  • Hummel – Fantasie
  • Mendelssohn – Viola Sonata in C Minor (all movements)
  • Vaughan Williams – Romance
  • Vaughan Williams – Suite (ed. for viola and piano)
  • Vieuxtemps – Elegie Op. 30
  • Orchestral excerpts

Level V

Technique

Scales, shifting, Sevcik, Kreutzer etudes and various double stop exercises should continue to be practiced daily. Continued development of all major and minor scales up to three octaves, with basic and faster detache and slurred bowing patterns as well as spiccato and sautille strokes. The Flesch scale book should start to be used for practicing scales in 3rds, 6ths, 8ves, and fingered harmonics.

Etudes and Exercise books
  • Becker/Schmidt - Scale Book (three octave scales & preferred scale fingerings)
  • Carl Flesch - Scale Book (three octave scales; scales in 3rds, 6ths, 8ves, & harmonics)
  • Vamos/Schmidt - Daily Dozen (hand setting, shifting exercises)
  • Sevcik – Changes of Position Op. 8 (advanced shifting exercises)
  • Sevcik – School of Technique Op. 1 Book 1 (finger exercises in 1st position)
  • Sevcik – School of Technique Op. 1 Book 2 (finger exercises in 2nd-7th positions)
  • Sevcik – Exercises in Double-Stopping
  • Bruni – Etudes/Studies (etudes)
  • Sitt - Etudes Op. 32 (etudes, double-stopping)
  • Kreutzer – 42 Studies (etudes)
  • Lillian Fuchs – Fifteen Characteristic Studies (for solo viola)
Repertoire
  • J. C. Bach/Casadesus Viola Concerto in C Minor (3rd movement)
  • J. S. Bach – Three Viola Sonatas BWV 1027-29
  • J. S. Bach – Cello Suites arr. for viola
  • Bloch Suite for Viola and Piano (1919)
  • Bruch Romanze Op. 85
  • Elliott Carter - Elegy
  • Handel/Casadesus - Viola Concerto
  • Hoffmeister – Viola Concerto in D Major
  • Alan Hovhaness – Sonata for Solo Viola Op. 423 (1995)
  • Milhaud - Viola Sonata No. 1
  • Franz Schubert – Sonata D. 821 “Arpeggione” (Paul Doktor edition)
  • Joseph Schubert – Viola Concerto in C Major
  • Schumann – Adagio and Allegro Op. 70
  • Orchestral excerpts

Level VI

Junior recital
  • minimum of 30 minutes of music. (No jury required.)
Technique

Scales, shifting, Sevcik, Kreutzer etudes and various double stop exercises should continue to be practiced daily. Continued development of all major and minor scales up to three octaves, with basic and faster detache and slurred bowing patterns as well as spiccato and sautille strokes. The Flesch scale book should continue to be used for practicing scales in 3rds, 6ths, 8ves, and fingered harmonics. Orchestral excerpts should start to be practiced by students in the performance track.

Etudes and Exercise books
  • Becker/Schmidt - Scale Book (three octave scales & preferred scale fingerings)
  • Carl Flesch - Scale Book (three octave scales; scales in 3rds, 6ths, 8ves, & harmonics)
  • Vamos/Schmidt - Daily Dozen (hand setting, shifting exercises)
  • Sevcik – Changes of Position Op. 8 (advanced shifting exercises)
  • Sevcik – School of Technique Op. 1 Book 1 (finger exercises in 1st position)
  • Sevcik – School of Technique Op. 1 Book 2 (finger exercises in 2nd-7th positions)
  • Sevcik – Exercises in Double-Stopping
  • Kreutzer – 42 Studies (etudes)
  • Lillian Fuchs – Fifteen Characteristic Studies (for solo viola)
  • Campagnoli - Caprices (etudes)
Repertoire
  • J. S. Bach – Cello Suites arr. for viola
  • Berlioz – Harold in Italy
  • Bloch - Suite for Viola and Piano (1919)
  • Bloch - Suite Hebraique
  • Bruch - Romanze Op. 85
  • Britten – Elegy for Solo Viola
  • Britten – Lachrymae Op. 48
  • Elliott Carter – Elegy
  • Gyula David – Bracsaverseny (Viola Concerto)
  • Hoffmeister – Viola Concerto in D Major
  • Holst – Lyric Movement
  • Kodaly – Adagio
  • Martinu – Rhapsody Concerto
  • Milhaud - Viola Sonata No. 1
  • Milhaud – Quatre Visages
  • Mozart – Sinfonie Concertante in E-Flat Major K. 364 for Violin & Viola
  • Paganini – Sonata (from Quartet)
  • Franz Schubert – Sonata D. 821 “Arpeggione” (Paul Doktor edition)
  • Schumann – Adagio and Allegro Op. 70
  • Schumann – Marchenbilder Op. 113
  • Karl Stamitz – Viola Concerto in D Major
  • Weber – Andante and Hungarian Rondo
  • Orchestral excerpts

Level VII

Technique

Scales, shifting, Sevcik, etudes and various double stop exercises should continue to be practiced daily. Continued development of all major and minor scales up to three octaves, with basic and faster detache and slurred bowing patterns as well as spiccato and sautille strokes. The Flesch scale book should continue to be used for practicing scales in 3rds, 6ths, 8ves, and fingered harmonics. Orchestral excerpts should be practiced by students in the performance track.

Etudes and Exercise books
  • Becker/Schmidt - Scale Book (three octave scales & preferred scale fingerings)
  • Carl Flesch - Scale Book (three octave scales; scales in 3rds, 6ths, 8ves, & harmonics)
  • Vamos/Schmidt - Daily Dozen (hand setting, shifting exercises)
  • Sevcik – Changes of Position Op. 8 (advanced shifting exercises)
  • Sevcik – School of Technique Op. 1 Book 1 (finger exercises in 1st position)
  • Sevcik – School of Technique Op. 1 Book 2 (finger exercises in 2nd-7th positions)
  • Sevcik – Exercises in Double-Stopping
  • Kreutzer – 42 Studies (etudes)
  • Lillian Fuchs – Fifteen Characteristic Studies (for solo viola)
  • Campagnoli - Caprices (etudes)
Repertoire
  • J. S. Bach – Cello Suites arr. for viola
  • Berlioz – Harold in Italy
  • Britten – Elegy for Solo Viola
  • Britten – Lachrymae Op. 48
  • Gyula David – Bracsaverseny (Viola Concerto)
  • Martinu – Rhapsody Concerto
  • Milhaud - Viola Sonata No. 1
  • Milhaud – Quatre Visages
  • Mozart – Sinfonie Concertante in E-Flat Major K. 364 for Violin & Viola
  • Franz Schubert – Sonata D. 821 “Arpeggione” (Paul Doktor edition)
  • Schumann – Adagio and Allegro Op. 70
  • Schumann – Marchenbilder Op. 113
  • Karl Stamitz – Viola Concerto in D Major
  • Weber – Andante and Hungarian Rondo
  • Enesco – Konzertstucke (Concert Piece)
  • Lillian Fuchs – Sonata Pastoral for solo viola
  • Hindemith – Sonata for Viola and Piano Op. 25 No. 4
  • Hindemith – Sonata for Solo Viola Op. 25 No. 1
  • Honegger – Sonata
  • Khachaturian – Sonata for solo viola
  • Reger – 3 Suites for Solo Viola Op. 131d
  • Alan Shulman – Theme and Variations
  • Stravinsky – Elegie for solo viola (difficult - all double stops!)
  • Vaughan Williams – Flos Campi for Viola, Women’s Chorus and Orchestra
  • Orchestral excerpts

Level VIII

Senior recital
  • minimum of 60 minutes of music. (No jury required.)
Technique

All major and minor scale in three octaves should be mastered with a variety of strokes as well as in 3rds, 6ths, 8ves, and fingered harmonics. Select advanced etudes should be played at a performance level, in preparation for graduate school auditions. Orchestral excerpts should definitely be practiced by students hoping to have a career in performance.

Etudes and Exercise books
  • Becker/Schmidt - Scale Book (three octave scales & preferred scale fingerings)
  • Carl Flesch - Scale Book (three octave scales; scales in 3rds, 6ths, 8ves, & harmonics)
  • Vamos/Schmidt - Daily Dozen (hand setting, shifting exercises)
  • Sevcik – Changes of Position Op. 8 (advanced shifting exercises)
  • Sevcik – School of Technique Op. 1 Book 1 (finger exercises in 1st position)
  • Sevcik – School of Technique Op. 1 Book 2 (finger exercises in 2nd-7th positions)
  • Sevcik – Exercises in Double-Stopping
  • Kreutzer – 42 Studies (etudes)
  • Lillian Fuchs – Fifteen Characteristic Studies (for solo viola)
  • Campagnoli - Caprices (etudes)
  • Other etude books as required by specific graduate school audition lists
Repertoire

(asterisked items are standard repertoire items that will possibly appear on many conservatory and orchestra audition lists):

  • J. S. Bach – Cello Suites arr. for viola*
  • Berlioz – Harold in Italy
  • Mozart – Sinfonie Concertante in E-Flat Major K. 364 for Violin & Viola*
  • Karl Stamitz – Viola Concerto in D Major*
  • Enesco – Konzertstucke (Concert Piece)
  • Lillian Fuchs – Sonata Pastoral for solo viola
  • Hindemith – Sonata for Viola and Piano Op. 11 No. 4*
  • Hindemith – Sonata for Solo Viola Op. 25 No. 1*
  • Khachaturian – Sonata for solo viola
  • Reger – 3 Suites for Solo Viola Op. 131d
  • Alan Shulman – Theme and Variations
  • Stravinsky – Elegie for solo viola (difficult - all double stops!)
  • Vieuxtemps - Capriccio Op. posth for solo viola
  • Vieuxtemps – Sonata in B-Flat Op. 36
  • Brahms – Viola Sonatas Op. 120 Nos. 1 & 2*
  • Hindemith – Der Schwanendreher (Viola Concerto)*
  • Walton – Viola Concerto*
  • Bartok – Viola Concerto*
  • Rebecca Clarke – Viola Sonata*
  • Rebecca Clarke – Morpheus for Viola and Piano
  • Paganini – Sonata per la Gran’ Viola
  • Penderecki – Cadenza for solo viola (1984)
  • Penderecki – Viola Concerto (1983)
  • Persichetti – Parable XVI for solo viola
  • Piston – Viola Concerto
  • Rochberg – Viola Sonata
  • Miklos Rozsa – Viola Concerto
  • Shostakovich – Viola Sonata Op. 147
  • Orchestral excerpts

Graduate Level

Technique

In the master’s program, the student should be perfecting its art. The student should be looking at everything with a microscopic eye and adjust and fix. Any technical problem should work on seriously and acquired though a specific etude. The student should also focus on learning about problem solving and teaching techniques. This is also the time to build up a repertoire and have certain key pieces at your fingertip.

Etudes and Exercise books:
  • TBD as needed by Studio Faculty
Repertoire
  • TBD by the Studio faculty
  • Orchestral excerpts
     

 

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