INTRODUCTION

 

This publication is designed to assist teachers in selecting and teaching Canadian violin music. Preparation of this Guide began with the identification and location of Canadian violin compositions published prior to 1990. Detailed guidelines for assessing level of difficulty were developed, and these guidelines were used to assess the difficulty of all the located compositions. Those compositions assessed as being of a suitable level of difficulty for junior and intermediate level violinists were analysed in detail, using standardized frameworks for appraising technical challenges, musical characteristics, and pedagogical value. Included in this Guide are descriptions of selected compositions judged to be pedagogically valuable for junior and intermediate level players (up to the Grade 9 Royal Conservatory of Music of Toronto level). Information on each composition includes instrumentation, duration, publisher, and level of difficulty. The adjectives Easy, Medium, and Difficult are used as general descriptions of the degree of difficulty, but teachers should refer to the detailed descriptions of the technical challenges in order to judge the suitability of specific compositions for individual students.

 

Although the analysis of compositions has been as objective as possible, based on carefully devised guidelines and standardized frameworks, the importance of subjective response to music and the uniqueness of each teaching situation must be acknowledged. No piece, whether Canadian or not, is suited to all teaching situations. Since musical tastes and technical abilities differ, it is important that there be a variety of Canadian music, in different styles and at varying levels of technical difficulty, from which teachers can choose.

 

The selection of repertoire for teaching purposes is one of the educator’s most important responsibilities, for music must be at the centre of music education. Teachers owe it to their students to choose the best possible repertoire, weighing all the various factors related to their specific situation, using their musical and educational judgement. They should use whatever information is available to help them make repertoire choices, including the information provided in this Guide. When teachers are aware of the variety of Canadian music which is available and suitable for student performers, and when they have access to support materials to guide them to their choice and teaching of this repertoire, they can include Canadian music as an integral part of a well-balanced music program, thus fostering students’ awareness of their national cultural heritage.

 

 

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I would like to express my sincere thanks to those whose assistance made the publication of this Guide possible. I am grateful for the on-going support of the John Adaskin Project from the Canadian Music Centre and the Canadian Music Educators’ Association. John Adaskin Project research and administrative assistants provided invaluable help. Jill Dawson assisted with much of the preliminary research, and Lisa and Peter Kim helped in the preparation of the camera-ready text. The work of these assistants was supported through grants from the Ontario Arts Council and from the Canadian government through the Department of Employment and Immigration. The University of Toronto Faculty of Music provided the computer facilities used to prepare this Guide. And, finally, special thanks are due to my parents, my husband, and my daughters Alison and Fiona for their love and encouragement.

Patricia Martin Shand

Director, John Adaskin Project

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