There are several major players in String Pedagogy and they are all reputable and they strive for well defined, uniform standards. For the most part, they are mutually respectful of each other, however there is little to no coordination or equivalency provided between them.
In this article, I will compare the four major violin pedagogy organizations I will attempt to provide equivalencies between them.
First, what are the four major organizations?
Suzuki Method (which really isn’t a method, it’s a philosophy of teaching) has certifiable teacher training, and standardized student proficiency tests which adhere to 10 books of progressively harder repertoire. There are Suzuki programs all over the world, all strive to adhere to the same standards.
American String Teachers Association (ASTA) is the body which provides guidance for string programs across the USA. Sponsors string festivals, competitions, and teacher training. Spans 6 grades, or levels.
Royal Conservatory of Music (RCM) is the body which governs the uniformity and standardized testing of string students in Canada. RCM spans 11 grades, or levels.
Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) is the body which governs the uniformity and standardized testing of string students in the UK. ABRSM spans 8 grades, or levels.
The equivalencies given are based on repertoire and supplemental material such as etudes and scales. It is important to note that the Suzuki material does not provide supplemental material in its curriculum and MUST be supplemented with scales, arpeggios, etudes, theory, and additional repertoire for diversification in order to be considered on par with the RCM and ABRSM.
There is huge discretion in how Suzuki teachers supplement the books, for better or for worse. For the sake of this article, I am drawing my equivalencies based on the scales, etudes, techniques, theory, and repertoire I require in my online Suzuki classes.
This is unavoidably subjective. I am therefore giving you copies of the resources I used to prepare this video and write my blog article. Simply click this link, to download a copy of the resources I used for my comparison of Suzuki, ABRSM, RCM, and ASTA. This is invaluable for both teachers AND students.
Here are the equivalencies in a nutshell, assuming Suzuki is properly supplemented:
Suzuki Book 1= ABRSM Prep and 1; RCM 1; ASTA 1
Suzuki Book 2= ABRSM 2; RCM 2; ASTA 2
Suzuki Book 3= ABRSM 2-3; RCM 3; ASTA 3
Suzuki Book 4= ABRSM 3-4; RCM 3-4; ASTA 4
Suzuki Book 5= ABRSM 5-6; RCM 4-5; ASTA 4
Suzuki Book 6= ABRSM 6; RCM 5-6; ASTA 4-5
Suzuki Book 7= ABRSM 6-7; RCM 6; ASTA 5
Suzuki Book 8= ABRSM 7-8; RCM 6-7; ASTA 5
Suzuki Book 9= ABRSM 8; RCM 7-8; ASTA 5-6
Suzuki Book 10= ABRSM 8; RCM 9; ASTA 6
RCM Level 10 and 11 are beyond Suzuki Book 10
You read through this whole article, which was quite long and technical. This tells me you are either a teacher trying to refine your teaching, or you are a student taking your education into your own hands. In both cases, I applaud you, and invite you to take a look at my various online courses. They may be just the thing you are missing!
Suzuki Book 1
Suzuki Book 2
Suzuki Book 3
Suzuki Book 4 (coming in mid 2017!)
Wohlfahrt Violin Etudes Opus 45
Keep up your pursuit of musical excellence!