Tuesday, December 22, 2015
Next Project: Shifting Method
I was really excited for Christmas vacation. December is a tiring month for musicians/teachers. There are so many performances in December - to prepare for, to direct, to perform, to watch. Two weeks of no school is a much needed break. I have been savoring sleeping in and staying up late reading fiction novels (Wow - I haven't had time to read fiction in years.) Today, I am starting to wonder if I am a work-a-holic. I am still enjoying my vacation (day 2), but am the type of person that needs a project. So far, I have cleaned out the pantry, organized my kids' bedrooms, ate my share of chocolate treats....already I am running out of things to do and I feel the need to begin something new. That is why I am now on page 13 of my new book: Exploring Shifting for String Orchestra.
I've been meaning to collect my shifting exercises and write a book about shifting for a while. In my situation, students need to learn this skill earlier (beginning in their 2nd year) because our district does not offer beginning orchestra in school until 7th grade. I feel we must learn quickly (yet effectively) in order to prepare for the high school level of playing. After studying many different method books and analyzing how shifting is presented, I decided that method books do not spend enough time on this skill. Students need more exercises that don't sound boring. They need to be given the time to develop the shifting motion for accuracy and smoothness. Students need a logical progression of exercises as they learn new fingerings for notes they had previously only known in 1st position.
I hope this will be of use to other teachers who need to teach shifting in a string orchestra class. Here is a sample of the first few pages. (I haven't even proofread, yet....but here it is anway...)