What are Your Favorite Go-to Beginner Books?

Posted on 7:12 pm

Since my book, The Beginning Violinist: A Companion Book for Children and Adults is meant to be used in conjunction with other beginning rep. I’m always looking for good materials to use with my students. I waded through some materials this fall, but unfortunately didn’t find any additional beginning rep. I liked.
I’d love to hear from you what go-to books you enjoy! Please post a comment about the book(s) you like the most (including the author) and a pros/cons list similar to mine below.

I’ll be featuring my favorite replies in the next issue of

The Beginning Violinist Newsletter.

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Here are some of my go-to beginner books:

Suzuki Violin/Viola Book 1


  • I use the Twinkle Variations as “etude” material for bow technique
  • The 4th finger can be used from the beginning songs in a way that makes sense musically
  • The repertoire progresses evenly through the book
  • Even bow distribution can be used on most pieces


  • There are so many fingerings…I usually white out everything but the 4th fingers or open string designations.
  • Since I teach long bows first, I often start at Theme and progress forward, coming back to the Variations when the student is ready.

Solo Pieces for the Beginning Violinist by Craig Duncan


  • The 4th finger can be used from the beginning songs in a way that makes sense musically
  • Very few fingerings.
  • Larger print than Suzuki rep.
  • The repertoire progresses evenly through the book with even bow distribution in most pieces


  • 16th notes show up half way through the book, so if you’re looking for something comparable to Twinkle Variations this book doesn’t have it.

Solos for Young Violinists by Barbara Barber


  • Long bows used from beginning
  • The first 8 songs are simple and don’t progress in difficulty too quickly
  • Very few fingerings.


  • The second half of the book is WAY harder than the first half (I would categorize it as intermediate level)
  • Even bow distribution cannot always be used on the beginning songs.

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