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Wednesday, June 8, 2016

"Stop Plucking!" - Reverse Rest Position!

I'm sure you've all said it before...."Stop Plucking!"  It's a common plague in the string orchestra classroom.  Some students don't even realize they're doing's so easy to sit in rest position and casually pluck your instrument.  Other students just can't wait to try the next new technique being taught, so they sneakily try to practice and pluck before it's time to play as a class.  It's not fun to teach over the noise of plucking out of turn...and it can be distracting for other students who are trying to listen and internalize the lesson.   Class time is so much more efficient if students stay with the teacher and only play/pluck when directed to do so.

Just before the end of the school year, I found myself saying the nagging phrase, "Stop plucking," over and over again.  Sometimes I have students place their instruments on the floor so that it is not possible for them to pluck, but it takes time to put instruments down and pick them up again and I like to keep a very fast paced rehearsal.  Every minute is important to me.  Finally the thought came to me - 'I should just have them put their instruments is reverse rest-position!'  That is how this strategy was born.  When it is time for students to listen and not pluck, we go into reverse rest-position and it's like magic!  Instant quiet, attentive students.  You're welcome. :)