Music is about sound. Listening to the Suzuki cd creates an aural model for the child to hear, a method of learning the music that is not dependent on visual symbols, increases memorization skills, enables students to self-correct, expands sensitivity to style and sensitivity.
Incorporate “environmental listening” by putting on the cd while getting dressed in the morning, getting ready for bed at night, reading, riding in the car, eating meals, or doing chores. The other kind of listening, “active listening,” requires participation while listening, such as, tapping the beat or rhythm, singing the fingerings, singing note or pitch names, or even singing made-up words. Encourage and participate in active and environmental listening with the student.
Consider listening to the cd for book one while doing the following exercises:
Violin Tree Pose
Balanced posture is the foundation of all violin techniques and the most critical skill of all. Most problems and difficulties with playing are first addressed by ensuring balanced posture is maintained.
- Start with feet together, knees and hips over feet, shoulders over hips. Violin in rest position.
- Unzip the feet. Step out with one foot
- Check to see that knees and hips are over feet and shoulders over hips.
- Parent then takes the violin from the child and places it on the child’s shoulder, trying to balance it. Then the child points nose down the fingerboard, resting jaw on the chin rest. Check to ensure the violin is balanced. Keep a light hold on the violin to make sure it doesn’t fall. See if the child can place left hand on their right shoulder. See if child can hold the position without the parent holding the instrument for 10 seconds.
Repeat the whole process 10 times with breaks, if necessary. Don’t push if the child gets tired. Balanced violin posture is probably the hardest skill to develop!
Start with instrument in rest position. Feet together. Look at eachother in the eyes. Smile. Tell a joke. Practice leaning over and looking at toes. Say Hippopotamus while looking at toes. Come back up and look at eachother and smile. .
Bow Workout Exercises:
Take turns with student doing the exercise.
Train coming into the station
This exercise helps build a flexible and adaptable bow hold. Walk the student through the exercise a ten times. See if the steps can be mastered without prompting the steps. Goal is to have child reproduce steps without prompts.
Student holds out right hand palm up like you might give them $100.
Parent Guides bow wood side down between the tracks between the second and third knuckles on the ring and middle fingers from the tip of the bow to the “station”. The station is the silver part of the frog. The “Train” stops right between the middle (2) and ring (3) fingers. The student then places a bent thumb tip (the part right next to the nail) in the little seat between the leather or rubber cushion and the ebony part of the frog, right on the wood. The first knuckle of the thumb touches the bow hair. Turn the bow right side up then place the child’s bent pinkie on the part of the wood facing the child. The pinkie (4) is the conductor who hangs off the side of the caboose.
Notice the feeling of the bent thumb sending energy up towards the bent pinkie.
Thumb shoots water at pinkie or Thumb and pinkie feel a force field between them
Build the bow hand using the Train Station exercise. Start in the upside down position. Slowly turn the wrist to right side up. Add the pinkie. Then practice slowly turning wrist upside down and back again.
Practice this slowly 10 times.
Practice this slowly rotating the wrist rhythmically while saying or singing the words to Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star
How I wonder what you are!
Up above the world so high
Like a diamond in the sky
Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star
How I wonder what you are.
This exercise teaches a the concept of up and down bows and begins the process of developing control of the bow.
Start with a bow hold built using the train station exercise.
Turn bow to perpendicular to the floor, frog at belly button height.
Up like a rocket (Send bow up towards ceiling)
Down like the rain (Send bow down towards floor to the belly button)
Back and forth like a choo-choo train (Move bow from one side of the body to the other in a straight line.)
All Around the sun (With bow perpendicular to the floor, move bow around the head)
then, Land on the moon (Go around the head again and then Place screw of bow on top of head, keep bow perpendicular to floor the whole time)
then come Back again for another time (Move the bow from top of head to in front of belly button)
Repeat the exercise a few times. Goal is to keep bow steady and perpendicular to the floor the entire time.