What should I have to teach on the first violin class?

June 2, 2006 at 09:50 PM · HI everyone

This monday I have to teach violin to two little girls both 7 years old.

They know nothing about music.This is my first time wotking with students who know nothing about music.

What do I have to teach n the first class and what do I have to do to teach thery and violin at a time without been boring?

MAny thanjs for your help and sorry for my english lol


Replies (10)

June 2, 2006 at 10:16 PM · Well tuning the instrument is the most important thing. Learning to tune properly from the very beginning is very important so that your student will practice on in tune strings. Also I would suggest the Leopold Auer Graded Violin Course Book 1.

June 2, 2006 at 10:43 PM · Basic rhythm clapping

June 2, 2006 at 11:07 PM · Basic parts of the violin and bow (can't talk to them unless you all speak the same language). Then, go over correct posture and placement of the instrument.

June 3, 2006 at 04:03 AM · I'd probably save tuning the violin until quite a bit later for seven-year-olds. I teach them a foot chart, a song about the numbers of their fingers (Where is 1 mouse, and they go through the song tapping each finger), we sing Twinkle because it's the first "song" they'll learn, Parts of the violin, how to stand in rest position and a song about "rest position.".....

I recommend Suzuki training to help with teaching kids this young. I did the training starting 10 years ago, and it made me really comfortable teaching small children. I found the training itself to be fun, you take a class on each book and then do something like eight hours of observation of other teachers. The training also did not turn me into an audioanimatronic droid, I still teach my own way, especially with the more advanced and older students. I just have more ideas to use!

June 5, 2006 at 01:44 AM · Greetings,

I agree with most of the above. I think what surprise d me the most about teaching beginners or even students who have a few years and got stuck is how -little- one should teach with the violin at the beginning stages (or any other much of the time…). We are up against two fundamental problems : 1) Playing the violin is such a complex set of sub skills that without the proper basic foundation things are never going to be particularly satisfying. 2) It is rarely advisable to ask people to handle more than one key point at a time. Just because you have the information organized in your head doesn’t mean that a child is going to be able to absorb even one point well n a single lesson. It is really easy to tell newbie teachers they should read all the classics such as Galamian, Auer and Flesch. But there is actually not a great deal of advice there in handling beginners systematically.

That is one of the reasons I think the Suzuki method (?) has so much going for it irrespective of any aspects you disagree with (don’t use it myself).

So the teacher of beginners has to think very carefully about what the basis of playing the violin really is. For example, one might suggest it is simply a tool for expressing the musical voice of the student. That being the case, the first thing to identify and work on that . Thus, many of the responders above have pointed out the extensive use of singing away from the instrument.

It may also be important to recognize that this kind of complex skill can be handled really well by young kids if their natural sense of movement and rhythm is not by passed which is pretty much what happens if you just stick a violin up under their chin saying `practice keeping it there.`

So lots of clapping , tapping and marching around the room. Different gestures such as punching are also useful. Marching around the room with the case held above the head is a great arm strengthener and good fun too.

Fundamental is how to place the feet and stand in a relaxed way, moving the weight around freely. It takes some young children a long time to get this and they may not even need to be near the instrument to work on this. Suzuki and Rolland use similar setting up routines. Adventures in Violin land is a little different and then some teachers don’t use a leg forward stance but just have the feet shoulder width apart. I think there is a very good case for reading some of the literature like this or watching some established -beginner- teachers. Another very helpful book is called `how muscles Learn` by Susan Kempner (?) Easy to find on Amazon.

Just to give you an example of how serious this business can be, I have a very talented new student who is 13 years old and gives a creditable performance of the Vivaldi a minor concerto in spite of horrible tension. She is ready t go on and play any number of nice pieces but there is so much tension in her body I have had to stop the whole thing and go right back to the beginning. I could just apply standard shoulder /arm/wrist whatever bowing exercises and hope that in the long run she relaxes but instead, since her legs are locked dup so tight it hurts me to look I sat on the floor with her and tried a simple hamstring stretch. She can get her hands as far as her knees before it begins to hurt and she has to stop. Without resolving this kind of extreme issue I can’t build a whiz technique because of the shaky foundation. Fortunately her mother is a good piano teacher and she understand the problems completely. Another student may have different problems. I have a five year old with ADD it has taken me a years patient work tohelp him stand still for a second. Persuading the parents not to give him special chocolate cake breakfast before the violin lessons was a helpful factor…



June 5, 2006 at 02:35 AM · I really admire those who have the ability to TEACH, especially to children. Even for something i know very well, i'm pretty worthless as a teacher.

+ children have a very short attention span in general.

June 5, 2006 at 03:02 AM · Go to Michael Hopkins String pedagogy notebook site. You will get plenty of ideas about how to teach beginners. http://www.uvm.edu/~mhopkins/string/ When I teach violin methods I require my students to look closely at this site.

April 15, 2007 at 05:59 PM · Bruce - Thanks for posting the website. Great resource!

April 16, 2007 at 01:06 PM · The Starr book, "The Suzuki Violinist", the work of Paul Rolland and Samuel Applebaum can all give you lots of ideas for early lessons. There's also a little spiralbound thing called "Pre-Twinkle" something. I'm sorry I forget the exact title.That would be right up your line for true beginners. The online catalog "Young Musicians', which specializes in Suzuki-type stuff, may have all or most of these items. Sue

April 17, 2007 at 05:28 AM · I've had a lot of 6-year-olds the last few years, and I start IMMEDIATELY with reading notes. Not "A-D-C-F" but actual notes on staff using pizzicato then bowing. I begin with flash cards, and then go to a book like All for Strings. Kids love flash cards.

I put one of those corn cushions on the bow so they know where to put their pinkie.

Perhaps most importantly, make sure the parent is there, understands everything you teach them, and is willing to help them at home. This is critical to their success.

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