Sassmannshaus Gives Voice to Viola
'Early Start' instruction series
With early string instruction an accepted part of childhood education, there is a proliferation of beginners’ books. The Sassmannshaus father-and-son team uses traditional, well-tried methodology, but also incorporates fresh ideas—underlying their methodology is their palpable enthusiasm and joy of making music for children. Following the very successful “Early Start” violin series widely used in German-speaking countries (an English-language version was published in 2008), the team has developed a cello series and now, by popular demand, viola. They use large-print notes, easy-to-read texts, and colorful pictures that children love. Note values and symbols, rhythms, scales, intervals, new positions, and bow strokes are simply and carefully explained and appropriately repeated before the next step.
Duets (nursery rhymes and familiar dance pieces) are introduced in Volume 2 and carried through to Volume 4; young students avoid the tedium of technique with entertaining tunes that incorporate steady progress through a range of keys and transpositions. Volumes 3 and 4 consolidate and expand upon all of the previously introduced skills, enabling performances of advanced duets in various positions and two- and three-octave playing in all keys. Small, easy steps throughout accomplish a sizeable viola technique by the end of Volume 4. An accompanying website offers video instruction of the lessons.