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Learning positions to children

Nov. 5, 2008 at 1:33 AM


Buri's latest blog is so interesting and someone submited a comment about positions!  It gave me a wounderful idea.  I would like to share an efficient method that I invented for myself to learn my positions after being so frustrated that no one and not a website could be clear ennough about them! I strongly believe, even if I am not a teacher, that it would be fantastic for children.   I find it awful that ,to often, some teachers in order to teach the kids to use their ears to find the notes don't give them a drawing of the fingerboard with the notes and positions on paper.  The poor students have a hard time to put a mental picture of the finger board in their heads and I believe that  a mental picture can help to progress faster. It can take for ever and be really confusing to learn the anatomy of the fingerbord with only your ear. I made myself some charts (on paper) with four lines (each line was a string) and I made some frets like on a guitar on each semi-tone and placed dots only on the notes of a C scale at the beginning to not have a too full chart but that was a matter of taste.  By doing this, I had an idea of the spacing between each notes depending on if it is a semitone or a whole tone.  I did one chart of the whole finger board and one for each specific position.  I learned a new one each week. (of course you have to find your notes with your ear but I though that the FIRST STEP was to see a picture in my head of the finger board because it would allow me to know buy heart where is each note before playing it)  I also saw the finger board as a whole (a logical system) instead of "seeing" or knowing only the notes of my pieces and studies without knowing what was around them.  I saved so much time and could progress much faster than if I would have waited after my teacher to teach me where to put my fingers...  Of course, since memorization is not a task that children like, it would be a good idea to do it like a game.  In group lessons, the teacher could put some animal faces on the different notes on a giant chart of the finger board and ask each kid to choose an animal and name the note of his "animal" etc (you know what I mean).  At school, we all know that some children learn by ear,  others have to see the concept and others have to do it.  Well, violin is perfectly suited for those who learn by ear and those who have to learn hands on but what about those who have to see the concept on paper?  However, it is only my opinion and I have never tested this method with anyone!  If someone tries it, let me know if it works!

Have a nice day!


From Karen Allendoerfer
Posted via on November 5, 2008 at 2:14 PM

One of my former teachers gave me a printed fingerboard chart  like this once.  There are some available online:

I agree this can be a useful tool for students who think more visually and spatially.  And there's also value in making your own!

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