City Lit Blog

Choosing a String class at City Lit

Story added 14th Aug 2019

Choosing a String class at City Lit

Welcome to the City Lit instrumental department. We offer a range of string classes from complete beginners to weekly Chamber music classes, and regular Orchestra workshops for our most advanced players, so there’s sure to be a class that’s right for you here in the heart of Covent Garden.

Group Learning

All of our classes are group sessions and learning in a group is great fun. You will find lively discussion, theory quizzes, individual exercises and good company in your class.  

Classes for absolute beginners

If you are an absolute beginner, new to playing the Violin, Viola, Cello or Classical Guitar, and new to reading music notation, then it’s easy: just start at the very beginning with level 1 and work through each of the classes in the order listed below.  If you have any questions please email us and we’ll be happy to help.

Choosing the right level for returning players

If you have existing playing skills you don’t need to start at the very beginning: just join us at the correct level for you.

Each level corresponds (roughly) to an ABRSM grade (Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music). So for example, Violin and viola level 3 is approaching grade 3 standard repertoire and technique. If you look at ABRSM syllabus (pieces and technical work) you will get an idea of what each level is learning to play. You may also be interested in our Ensemble classes, which are also covered later in the blog.

Please check the individual course outlines for more details of the books you are requested to buy for each class as this will often give you the most clear indication of the level of a class.

If you are unsure of your current level, please email or phone us (020 7482 2630) and make an appointment to come and play to us for some advice.

Changing classes

In the first couple of weeks, if you feel that the class you have chosen is not the right level for you, you may move to a different course. You can do this online, by logging into your City Lit account (this is the quickest method), or phone Enrolments on (020) 7831 7831.
N.B. you must lodge your request before the third session of your course. Please ask your tutor for advice if you are not sure whether you’ve chosen the right course.

If you begin to find the level is unsuitable later on in your course then don’t panic, there will still be plenty to learn and you can then choose a more appropriate level the following term. That’s the idea of the short course modules, they allow flexibility because everyone learns at different speeds.

If you have any doubts at all, please contact us to arrange an advice session. Bring some music, play us a piece and we’ll help you choose.

 

The full sequence of Violin and Viola classes at City Lit (from September 2019)

 Level 1: from complete beginners to simple scales and pieces, including basic music-reading 

Level 2: from simple scales and pieces around grade 1 level to grade 2 repertoire

Level 3: achieve fluency at a grade 2 level and then begin some grade 3 material, learning to play and read music in 3rd position.

Level 4: achieve fluency at a grade 3 level and move on to grade 4 material, including higher positions, vibrato and bowing techniques

After Level 4, you can either progress to Violin and viola 5 or Advanced workshop.

Violin and Viola level 5 is more suitable for those keen to keep studying in a teacher-led environment with a focus on preparing for graded exams.

  • Violin and Viola 5A (Fridays in term 1)
  • Violin and Viola 5B (Fridays in term 2)
  • Violin and Viola 5C (Fridays in term 3)

Violin and Viola advanced workshop is more suitable for those with a secure basic technique and who have good musicianship and independent learning skills.

  • Violin and Viola advanced workshop (Tuesdays, all three terms)

The full sequence of Cello classes (from September 2019)

 

Level 1: from complete beginners to simple scales and pieces including reading the bass clef.

Level 2: from simple scales and pieces around grade 1 level to grade 2/3 repertoire

After Level 2: from grade 3 repertoire, develop your technique and musical skills through ensemble and solo repertoire up to grade 5 standard. N.B. students may take this level for more than one year

  • Cello workshop (Tuesdays in all three terms)

Advanced: for students who have been playing for around 4 years at grade 5 standard and above. Students may wish to continue in the Advanced workshop for more than one year.

  • Cello advanced workshop (Tuesdays in all three terms)

 

Ensemble classes

Our ensemble classes come in a variety of forms – string only, chamber music or orchestral with some being termly, others short courses over a couple of days or a weekend N.B. you will need to contact the music department to check your level and availability for your instrument

Termly classes -

  • String ensemble: suitable for those who have been playing violin/viola/cello or double bass for at least a year (Saturdays in all three terms)
  • Chamber music 1: suitable for those who are at least grade 3 standard and confident music readers (Tuesdays in all three terms)
  • Chamber music 2: suitable for those who are at least grade 4 standard and confident music readers (Fridays in all three terms)
  • Chamber music: advanced: for players at grade 6 or above with good sight-reading skills (Thursdays in all three terms)

Short courses -

  • String Schools: for players at grade 3 and above, a chance to play in a large ensembles and improve your musicianship and sight-reading
    • Winter (13–14 December 2019)
    • Easter (3–4 April 2020)
    • Summer (dates TBC)
    • Orchestra workshop: fun, intensive workshops for players of grade 6 and above. Repertoire is usually announced a month in advance and advertised in the course outline.
      • ME827A (Tues 10–Wed 11 September 2019)
      • ME827B (Tues 10–Wed 11  December 2019)
      • ME826B (Sun 23 February 2020)
      • ME827C (Tues 31 March–Wed 1 April 2020)
      • ME826C (Sun 31 May 2020)

 

The full sequence of Classical Guitar classes (from September 2019)

 

Level 1: from complete beginners to simple chords, scales and melodies

  • Classical guitar 1A (Wednesday daytime or evening in term 1)
  • Classical guitar 1B (Wednesday evenings in term 2)
  • Classical guitar 1C (Wednesday evenings in term 3)

Level 2: from simple chords, scales and melodies to harmonic accompaniments and ensemble pieces

  • Classical guitar 2A (Wednesdays in term 1)
  • Classical guitar 2B (Wednesdays in term 2)
  • Classical guitar 2C (Wednesdays in term 3)

Level 3: play melodies with harmonic accompaniments, improved technical skill to focus on musicality

  • Classical guitar 3A (Tuesdays in term 1)
  • Classical guitar 3B (Tuesdays in term 2)
  • Classical guitar 3C (Tuesdays in term 3)

 

Musicianship and music theory

Why not take a complimentary course to enhance your understanding of musical skills and musical notation. Please see our Musicianship and music theory programme for some ideas.