Series of method books written by Samuel Applebaum “String Builder “ are one of my favorites to use when is comes to teaching elementary school children. I love the fact that all the songs/exercises used in these books are quite interesting, some of them are well known and they provide the basis for developing perfect technique of the left and the right hand.
In Book One students will learn basic rhythm like quarter, half, whole and an eight notes as well as quarter, half, and whole rests. After learning to play on the open strings Samuel Applebaum introduces the first three finger notes on the D and A strings. I like this approach because it allows students to play simple melodies using just these two strings as well as open G and E string. Finger notes on the two outer strings G and E are introduced later in this book. I like the fact that by the end of this book my students will know slurs, ties, repeats signs as well as natural notes. Basic dynamics, articulations, pizzicato of the left and right hand as well as introduction to the fourth finger are also introduced in this book.
Book Two starts with a brief review of Book One. Students will continue mastering fourth fingers, learning basic bowings such as detache and martele and they will also learn flats. The new rhythm dotted quarter note , major scales such as C,G,D,F and B flat as well as basic double stops are also introduced here. The last three pages are devoted to the third position.
Book Three is all about the third position. Students will learn shifting to and from the third position using different fingers. Each type of shift is presented and develop with interesting melodies. In this book students will also learn spiccato, wrist and finger strokes, more dynamics, sixteenth notes and combination of dotted eight and sixteenth notes. Minor scales are also introduced in this book as well as more complicated double stops melodies.
There is also “3rd and 5th position String Builder”, as well as “2nd and 4th position String Builder” . Teacher’s manual can be purchased with each book as well as piano accompaniment and duets for strings. It is a wonderful series of books. Very well organized and easy to follow.