Search This Blog

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Invisible Instruments

Before students open up cases and get out instruments for the first time we have a 20-30 minute lesson with our 'imaginary' instruments.  When demonstrating how to handle and hold a violin, viola, cello or bass, I want students to give me their full attention.   Excited students with shiny new instruments in hand can get very distracted.  Students can easy forget to listen to the teacher while admiring their brand new instruments and some students will miss instruction and become lost.

On 'imaginary instrument' day each section of the orchestra has a short article to read and a worksheet to complete.  An 'Instrument Parts' worksheet is a useful worksheet to use for this day.  I work with one section at time while the rest of the class completes the worksheet.  

For violin and viola players, we learn how to open cases, how to put on a shoulder rest, hold the instrument and place it in rest position, and how to make sure the instrument covers the shoulder in play position.  Students mimic my motions and practice these skills along with me, but only with imaginary instruments.   I have students feel their shoulders and place their 'imaginary' instruments there.  

For cello player and bass players, I demonstrate how to get their instruments from the racks, how to carry the instrument, adjust the endpin, how to hold the instrument with the knees, where the instrument sits on the body.  We go through everything before they have the actual instrument and students know exactly what to expect and how to handle their instruments.  Students listen carefully because they are so excited to get their actual instruments.

Next is my favorite part.  I put on "Also sprach Zarathustra" (start the video at :20 seconds) and tell students to get out their real instruments.  It's so exciting to see all of the instruments come out and students already holding them correctly, ready to learn.  It turns the first day of playing into an unveiling of fun amazing instruments.

No comments:

Post a Comment