Search This Blog

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Progression of a bow hold - the first 10 days of orchestra

I just survived the first 9 days of school.  Wow...it's been busy!  After a long summer break, it's always a shock to my system to start getting up early and working again.

I love the first few weeks of school.  Students are motivated and excited and I love seeing them delight in learning and developing their talents.  It is so important to give students a great start.  I am passionate about setting up beginners with the best possible position.  When students develop poor position it can be very frustrating to break bad habits.

One the 2nd day of school I showed this video to my students.  I wanted them to understand that holding a bow and holding their instrument might not feel natural at first...and that is normal!  It is normal to feel a little awkward when first learning a new skill.  This helps students not become frustrated as I insist on proper position.  It helps cello students who don't like the feel of the cello sitting on their chests.  Students are willing to work on their bow holds and keep thumbs bent...even though they want to keep the thumb straight.



The first days of school can be overwhelming since there is so much material to cover and so much to do to get students ready to play.  My first priority is to teach bow hold and help all students master bow holds.  I have a rule:  No student may touch the horse hair to the string until they pass of their bow hold and it must be perfect.  That means no playing with bows on the strings for almost 2 weeks.  It takes that long for students to develop a natural, relaxed bow hold.  The first impulse is to keep fingers straight and rigid.  We work through many exercises to help students stay flexible.



Here is an overview of my lesson plans for the first 10 days of school.  We work on bow hold first thing, then move on to master other important skills.  I just finished day 9 with my own class and they're doing great!  I haven't always taken this long to develop bow hold, but with my large classes this has helped all students progress together.  This chart doesn't really show my teaching strategies..I have so many ideas for teaching play position, left hand position, rhythm and counting...it would just take forever to type it all out.  I'd really like to do a presentation at a conference to demonstrate the first 10 days.   If you have questions about a specific topic feel free to comment and I'll answer.  :)  Much of these skills are described in my book 'The True Beginning: Before the Method Book" available at www.orchestraclassroom.com.


No comments:

Post a Comment