This is the 3rd week of school and so far, my beginning orchestra has learned to hold their instruments and bows (I still reinforce proper position every day). They can also pluck basic open-string back-up parts to a fiddle tune called Sourwood Mountian and they have learned how their instruments are set up so they can find any note on any string by going through the music alphabet on each string. (I taught this using a basic fingering chart). After that, I had students practice placing fingers up and down the D and A ladder and plucking/bowing using tukka tukka stop stop. We then learned the D scale.
I have not done anything in our method book, yet. I like to have students gain confidence AWAY from music for awhile so they can focus on proper position, finger placement, and intonation. When we do start our method book, we will be able to cruise through the first several pages very quickly because students will already have a solid foundation.
Tomorrow, I am going to pass out the music to ARKANSAS TRAVELER. There are two levels in my beginning class and my advanced-beginners need a challenge. They will learn the melody line while I teach the back-up parts to my true-beginners. Since they are not reading music yet, they will use a special back-up part that I prepared with fingering and note names. I like to have them learn without written notation at first so students quickly learn and place fingering on the D string. After they learn the back-up part, they will know where all of the notes are on the D string and when we are reading music, it will be easier for them to make the connection with notes and finger placement.
My true-beginners will be memorizing the notes on the D string in the next 2 weeks and once they can read those notes, I will have students read the actual back-up sheet music with a new rhythm.
You can purchase a copy of my Arkansas Traveler arrangement HERE and may print off as many parts as needed each year....a great value! Included in the download is 23 pages...included a score, parts for each instrument, and a pre-notereading simplified back-up part for each instrument.