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Sassmannshaus Workshop, September 2011

by Mark Pfannschmidt

Kurt Sassmannshaus presented a workshop on the series of four violin method books that his father wrote: “Early Start on the Violin.” Kurt recently translated them into English from the original German. They are currently available not only for violin, but also viola and cello. In 2012, they will also be available for double bass.

The workshop was held at The Lutheran Church of Saint Andrew on September 10 and 11, 2011. Fourteen teachers participated. Jim Kelly was there from Potter’s Violins. Potter’s provided $25 scholarships to each participating ASTA member, and supplied materials for purchase for any teacher who needed them. In addition to ASTA MD/DC Chapter members, teachers also came from Richmond and Leesburg in Virginia and one even came from Minneapolis, Minnesota. We had a great time making new friends and learning together.

Kurt Sassmannshaus

In eight hours, Mr. Sassmannshaus took us through all four books, helping us to see how the method was designed. I was struck by several features of this method:

• This method is sequential, yet flexible enough to accommodate different teaching styles— beginning by rote or by reading, for example.
• Old familiar tunes are used to introduce each new finger pattern and later, each new position.
• The method is published by Bärenreiter, which means Mr. Sassmannshaus had a huge catalog of works to draw from, and the assistance of the editorial staff of one of the leading scholarly publishers, thus ensuring the repertoire is edited well.

Each participant received a certificate to document successful completion of the Sassmannshaus Tradition teacher training seminar. It was great fun!

See two more workshop photos on our PHOTO GALLERY page.

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