I posted earlier about a new book I was working on this summer called 'The True Beginning: Before the Method Book.' This turned out to be a huge and very time consuming project. I thought perhaps I could cover everything in 40 pages or so, but my final book is 97 pages! I am happy with how it has turned out and I hope it will be beneficial for teachers who would like some tips on helping beginners establish great postion and proper playing habits. The book contains 10 lessons to be taught before students begin their method books. Included are worksheets, techniques, tips, and music to help students learn playing position, bow hold, and left hand technique. I am especially excited about the 3 new beginning pieces that are included in the book that each contain 3 levels of ability. I believe these pieces will really help beginners stay motivated and have fun at the early stages of their skill development.
Puffy stickers are really handy for a few different things when teaching beginning strings and they work well because you can easily feel a bumpy sticker. To help students place their left thumbs on the correct place on the neck, I stick a puffy sticker in that spot and they can immediately feel when their thumbs are in the right place. Depending on the shape of the sticker, you can create a story or analogy to help students remember how to place their thumbs correctly. For example, I found some puffy kitty stickers and I told students a story about how fragile little kittens are and how you have to hold them gently and not squeeze them. When placing the thumbs on the kitty sticker, they had to remember not to squeeze on the kitty and to keep the thumbs loose and soft.
Check out what I found at Wal-Mart today! I was walking by the stickers and I stopped to see if they had any puffy stickers and they had these....
I was so excited - I bought 2 packages but now I wish I would have bought more. These are perfect for helping beginners watch their bow to keep their bows straight between the fingerboard and the bridge. When students first place their bows on the string, I always instruct them to keep their eyes on the bow to keep it straight. It seems like so many times, they are bowing totally crooked and they aren't focusing on the bow, so I will say, "Eyes on your bow!" Now, I can really stick some eyes on their bow to help them remember the goal of carefully placing and moving the bow.
I have been writing a book called "The True Beginning: Before the Method Book." After analyzing and studying the many different method books available to the string orchestra teacher, I realized that none of the books give adequate instruction for the very most important stage of a beginning string player....the beginning! I spend at least 2-3 weeks setting up my beginners before I even crack open the method book, yet every method book dedicates only one page to establishing position and bowing. Here are a few sample pages from the start of the book. The book will be ready by the end of the summer with over 40 pages packed full of great tips and info!