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Sunday, July 19, 2015

New Trinkets for Teaching Beginning Strings

I'm always on the lookout for trinkets to use in my classes to help students learn position and to keep the class fun.  I had a colleague once tell me that he would never use trinkets in his class, and that's fine.  Every teacher needs to stay true to his/her own personality.  Yet, we do teach children, and children like little toys.  Object lessons and mini-challenges help students remember our objectives and they help students focus on accomplishing specific goals in their practice.  I recently found a site called and I bought a few items to use in my class.  Things from this site were very inexpensive and I am impressed with the quality of the items.  Here are some pictures of the items I will be trying out in my class.

My favorite item that I found is this balancing eagle.  It will work great for teaching students to keep violins/violas level on the shoulder.  Students can practice balancing the eagle on their instruments.  The eagle toy is pretty awesome and I bought enough of these for students to earn throughout the year by meeting certain practice goals.  It's amazing what students will do for a little 30 cent toy. :)

The balancing eagle can also be balanced on the fingers.  This works well for showing violin and viola students to keep fingers round and tall.

I thought these eyeball rings might be useful for placing on the bow as a bow distribution lesson.  After trying this out, I noticed that these rings will only work for full size bows.  The circle part will be too wide for smaller bows and these probably would not work on the fingers of young students.  I teach 7th grade beginners, so these rings will fit my students.

These rings could also be balanced in the scroll as the student plays.  It is impossible to keep the eyeballs in the scroll with poor position.  This draws students focus to proper playing position as they practice their music.

I love these little emoji stress balls.  I will be using these for finger strengthening exercises and some team rhythm games.  (I should write a post someday about the fun rhythm games we play using balls)

I purchased a bunch of these 2 minute timers to use in class and for students to earn as a practice incentive.  I don't want students to watch the clock as they practice, but I do want them to realize how much they can accomplish in only 2 minutes when they really focus.  We can use this to time students as they perform repetitions on a small excerpt of music and see who can get the highest number of perfect reps.  When students practice, we don't want them to just play through a piece once.  We want them to work...and I will be teaching them how to really practice using these timers.  I have used this timer with my son in his piano practice, and it really helps keep him motivated and focused.

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