Definition of the Levels of Playing


We’ll closely follow the curriculum and standards of technique put together by Professor Sassmannshaus of the Sassmannshaus Tradition of violin playing. The levels of playing progress from Level 0 (being the very fundamentals of setting up a proper violin hold and posture) up to Level 10 (being the most extravagant and refined playing seemingly capable on the instrument).

Levels 0-3 are the “student” levels, where the basics are practiced thoroughly and where technique is constantly under development.

Levels 4-5 are where things get interesting and where the student starts sounding like a professional player. In fact, at these levels, students should be able to manage a convincing performance of some more impressive and emotionally moving repertoire.

Levels 6-8 would be considered a very high standard of playing. The sound and technique of the player will be well developed and their toolbox of technical tools will be complete enough to deal with even extremely difficult repertoire.

Levels 9-10 is crazy! Admittedly, fewer players will reach this level of technical prowess, but surprisingly there are still challenges to conquer at these heights of technique.

    Level 1

    • Playing in 1st position with simple finger patterns.
    • Detache and simple legato bow strokes.
    • Elementary bow distribution into whole and half bows.
    • Mastery of A Major, D Major, and G Major across 1 octave.
    • Playing scales with basic bow strokes and simple repeated-note rhythmic variations.

    Level 1 Example Repertoire

    • Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
    • Go Tell Aunt Rhody
    • Lightly Row
    • Suzuki’s Perpetual Motion
    • … and many other folk tunes

    Level 2

    • Playing in 1st position with all finger patterns.
    • Simple double stops employing open strings.
    • Natural harmonics.
    • Detache, legato, and martele bow strokes.
    • Mastery of scales across 2 octaves with arpeggios in a single position.
    • Playing scales with up to 4-note bow patterns and rhythmic variations.

    Level 2 Example Repertoire

    • Bach, Minuet in G major
    • Bach, Bourree for solo violin
    • Rieding, Violin Concerto No. 2 in B minor
    • Kuchler, Violin Concertino in G major Opus 11
    • Seitz, Student Concerto No. 2 in G major
    • Seitz, Student Concerto No. 5 in D major

    Level 3

    • Playing in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd positions with elementary shifting.
    • Playing double stops using two fingers, and 3 or 4 voice chords.
    • Detache, legato, martele, elementary spiccato / sautille bow strokes.
    • Developing more deliberate bow distribution.
    • Controlling the sounding point – sul ponticello, normale, and sul tasto.
    • The beginnings of vibrato, with elementary vibrato in suitable places.
    • Mastery of major and minor scales across 2 octaves with arpeggios in a single position.
    • Playing scales with up to 8-note bow patterns and rhythmic variations.

    Level 3 Example Repertoire

    • Vivaldi, Concerto in A minor Opus 3 No. 6
    • Vivaldi, Concerto in G major RV310
    • Kuchler, Concertino in D major Opus 12
    • Millies, Concertino in the style of Mozart
    • Portnoff, Concertino in A minor
    • Mollenhauer, The Infant Paganini
    • Seitz, Concerto in D major Opus 15

    Level 4

    • Playing in 1st through 5th position with shifting.
    • Detache, legato, martele, spiccato, sautille, and colle bow strokes.
    • Developing a full and continuous vibrato.
    • Mastery of major and minor scales across 2 octaves with arpeggios with alternate fingerings.
    • Elementary mastery of 3 octave scales and arpeggios.
    • Elementary master of scales on a single string with various fingerings.
    • Playing scales with up to 16-note bow patterns and advanced rhythmic variations.

    Level 4 Example Repertoire

    • Bach, Concerto for two violins in D minor
    • Bach, Violin Concerto in A minor
    • Bach, Violin Concerto in E major
    • Debussy, Girl with the Flaxen Hair
    • Dvorak, Sonatina for Violin Opus 100
    • Elgar, Salut d’amour
    • Haydn, Violin Concerto No. 2
    • Kreisler, Rondino on a theme by Beethoven
    • Mollenhauer, The Boy Paganini
    • Monit, Czardas
    • Schubert, Violin Sonatinas Opus 137

    Level 5

    • Playing in all positions equally comfortably.
    • Mastery of all fundamental bow strokes.
    • Fully functioning vibrato.
    • Mastery of artificial harmonics.
    • Precise bow distribution and sounding point control.
    • Continuous development of scale playing fluency, including mastering double stop scales.

    Level 5 Example Repertoire

    • Beriot, Concerto in A minor
    • Dancla, Air Varie Opus 89
    • Kreisler, Siciliano & Rigaudon
    • Mozart, Violin Concerto No. 2 in D major
    • Tartini, Sonata in G minor “Didone Abbandonata”
    • Tchaikovsky, Meditation
    • Tchaikovsky, Serenade Melancolique
    • Wieniawski, Legende Opus 17