The O'Connor Method for string teachers and students is a 10-Book series designed to guide students gradually through the development of pedagogical and musical techniques necessary to become a proficient, well-rounded musician through a carefully planned succession of pieces.
The O'Connor Method Official Website
Gradual development of left-hand technique, bowing skill and ear training as revealed through the study of beautiful music encourages a love of music-making in a slow, steady and natural way.
The music that I have collected for the O'Connor Method includes some of the most endearing melodies in American music as well as some of the great folk fiddle tunes that have endured our 400 year-old history of violin playing. I have made it a specific feature of the Method to include musical literature that represents all of the Americas -Mexico, Canada and every region of the United States – and all musical styles – classical, folk, Latin, jazz, rock and ragtime. I have chosen and arranged material that will be both instructive and artistically enriching, and will help create the future classical violinist, folk fiddler, jazz musician - or all three!
The Method takes into consideration that, even at the beginning levels, learning music possessing a timeless quality is a healthy vehicle for engendering a lifelong love of music-making. Beginner tunes can be great tunes, and could very well stay with the student for a lifetime of playing and performing. In my own experience giving classes around the country, I often tell students that I have professionally recorded three of the first fiddle tunes I learned as a child. All three - Soldier's Joy, Arkansas Traveler, and Fiddler's Dream, are presented early in this Method. I believe there are no throw-aways. The beginning tunes are built to last, providing a sturdy foundation and core for the novice. The tune that I have arranged to provide the most rudimentary studies for a beginning violinist - Boil 'em Cabbage Down - is the first fiddle tune I learned as a child.
In the early books, students will learn simplified arrangements of more advanced music which will appear later in the Method. Many of my own compositions such as Appalachia Waltz and The Fiddle Concerto, appear in the early books in a form accessible to beginners. Students revisiting these and other pieces at a higher technical and musical level some years down the road will find themselves coming full circle with their own earliest years of wonderment and fascination with the violin.
My travels of the past 30 years have convinced me that a new American Classical Music is evolving. I have encountered thousands of students of all ages and abilities at concerts, workshops, college/ conservatory/university seminars and fiddle camps and have found repeatedly that students do not want to be "left out" of the great sounds and energy of fiddling and jazz because they wish to become fine classical players. It is my firm belief that the new American Classical Music will embrace the totality of our rich history of violin playing, and it is my sincere hope that my Method will further this process and perpetuate love for the violin. -Mark O'Connor
Read the full histories of the pieces featured in the O'Connor Method
at the "New American School of String Playing" blog
String Orchestra Too!
The O'Connor Method is unique in that the solo repertoire corresponds with the string orchestra repertoire so students experience the music they are learning through a different prism. By using the O'Connor Method orchestra books, students can further explore harmony, melody, rhythm, counterpoint, cultural diversity and American music from many eras on the pieces student's learn in their solo lessons. This approach using common repertoire is the perfect tool for school programs interested in producing fine string players and creative musicians and playing great American music. The versatility of the music and orchestral arrangements in the O'Connor Method series allows for classes from 3 students to 300!