Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Tips for Happy Farmer, Suzuki Violin Book 1

It seemed like it would take forever, like we would never finish, but finally here we are. Two more songs and you will graduate Suzuki Violin Book 1. This is a big accomplishment for those of us that have started the journey of learning the violin. 

Happy Farmer was originally written by Robert Schumann for piano in his Album for the Young (Album fur die Jugend), Op. 68. The great german composer of the 1800s cared about beginning piano students to learn some beautiful music.

Here are some tips as you tackle this piece:

Happy Famer is in the key of G Major like Etude and all three Minuets by J.S. Bach. This means that we will be using a low 2nd finger on the A and E string, and high 2nd finger on D and G string. 

You can think of the piece in 3 parts: part 1 (m.1–4), part 1 (m. 5–8), part 2 (m. 9–10), part 3 (m. 11–14), part 2 (m. 15–16), part 3 (m. 17-end). Understanding the structure will make it easier to learn and perform.

Long-Short Hook Bow. In Minuet №1, Minuet №2, and Minuet №3 we learned that hook bows are played up-up or down-down with a stop between the notes. 
This bowing is indicated by a curved line over or under two or more notes with dots above or below them. 

Now we will play hook bow with a dotted-quarter-eighth-note combination. Remember that a dotted-quarter note gets 1.5 beats and the eighth note 1/2 a beat. For younger children these number of beats is still new and they may not understand very much how it applies to playing the notes. Don’t let that bother you, the important point for them to remember is that the dotted-quarter note is longer and the eighth note shorter. Also, put a stop between the notes like the other hook bow rhythm. As the child grows so will his understanding of counting the beats.

Allegro giocoso. We have learned that Allegro means “fast”, “lively”, “happy.” Now we add giocoso which means “playful”, “humorous”, and “with energy”.


1. Play long-short hook bows on open strings with different combinations.

2. Play the A, D and G scale with long-short hook bow slowly at first, then faster and faster.

3. Play through the piece with no hook bows or slurs, just focusing on the fingering and rhythm.

4. Isolate and play only the hook bow measures slowly until it is easy to play them. 

5. Play Twinkle, Perpetual Motion, and other songs that you like with long-short hook bow. 

6. Prepare for your Book 1 Recital by playing through all the pieces at different speeds adding dynamics and good tone.

Thanks for reading! Please leave a comment and any questions that you have and subscribe for more.

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