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Monday, June 24, 2013

Rhythm book

I was thinking of writing a beginning rhythm book for students who have had no background in counting or writing rhythms.  I wrote these few pages, but I don't think I need to make more because of all the rhythm worksheets I already have that came with the String Explorer teacher pack. 

These worksheets show how I like to teach rhythm to my students.  Last year, I even brought in a box of oranges...each orange representing one beat.  I then showed the students how the beat can be cut into 1/2's - for eighth notes....or into 4 chunks for 16th notes.

This workbook is now available for download HERE!

Practice cards for orchestra?

I am curious to know how many orchestra teachers use practice cards.  I do not like to use practice cards and I do not feel like they would benefit my program.  Students always play the best if they are self-motivated to practice and I am always trying to find ways to inspire my students to want to practice.  I do hold playing tests every two weeks...and I suppose the fear of playing in front of a class inspires frantic last minute practicing. 

After much Suzuki training, I have learned that every student really can learn to play a stringed instrument.  The Suzuki method turns practicing into a sort of a science.  If students are taught to practice as the Suzuki kids practice, they would see the fruits of their labors.

I came up with this practice record that I will pass out to students to teach them how to practice and show them what they should be practicing.  The blank boxes under "Mixed up Measures" are for students to write-in measures of pieces that are giving them trouble.  I want the students to focus on what needs to be practiced, instead of just playing through a line of music.  The students mark tallies with how many perfect repetition they play each day.

My plan is to have students staple this sheet to the front of their music book.  I won't require students to turn this in... but maybe I will accept it for extra credit now and then.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Beginning Orchestra Note Reading Book - hot off the press!

You may purchase this 43 page resource at my store:

This is my latest creation....a workbook for beginning orchestra students to help with note reading.  I have found that some students come to class with some piano experience and they already understand music notation.  There are also students who have had no experience with music notation and they often struggle to keep up.  Some students play by ear and never learn to read notes!  Students who are good at reading notes have a definite advantage in orchestra class.   I am hoping that these worksheets will help students who have had no previous experience and help them understand note reading and basic theory.  These worksheet do not replace teaching the concepts first, but I plan to use them as a tool to assess student understanding and give them practice at note-reading. 

A great time to use worksheets like this is the first week of school...before students bring their instruments to class.  It takes a lot of time to assign lockers, folders, renting instruments, etc...and these worksheets are basic enough that the students can begin learning notation right away.  Once students have their instruments, it is very helpful to teach the class in sections.  For example, violins can work on a page in the workbook while you teach the cellists how to hold their instrument and adjust their endpins.  Then the cello players work on the  notebook while you teach violins and viola correct left hand position for their instruments.

This 43 page workbook is now available for download here or here.  After purchasing the download, you may print the workbook as many times are you need for your entire class and you will be able to use it every year.  No need to buy separate theory books every year when you can just print this workbook!