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Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Note Reading Worksheets: Note Stories!


Now available!  3 note reading stories where students write the note names to discover the missing words in the 'story.'  My students LOVE doing these worksheets.  Today they told me it was the most fun worksheet for note reading I had every given them!   3 different stories in all 3 clefs:  treble, alto, and bass clef.  9 worksheets total.  PURCHASE HERE!

Thursday, September 8, 2022

Ninja skills tracker for beginning orchestra


THIS WORKSHEET worked wonders in my beginning orchestra class. It shows each skill students must master in order to learn 'Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.' In class, I began the activity asking students to become teachers by helping 'grading' their stand partners on each skill. I prepared students by having them grade a sample of my playing during a demonstration. Students were told they could NOT go on to the next belt until the previous belt was mastered. Each skill builds on previous skills, so posture, bow hold, and left hand position must stay consistent throughout in order to keep passing off belts. Stand partners then worked together to assess each skill. They spent time practicing together when needed in order to keep moving forward. The vast majority of my students earned the black belt in about 25 minutes. After doing this worksheet, my classes sounded transformed! Twinkle became a piece of cake. :)

Get yours HERE!

Thursday, September 1, 2022

Beginner boot camp day for position and rehearsal protocol


My beginners have been playing for about a week.  They are learning how to handle instruments and bows and how to manage holding/playing instruments during rehearsals.  In order to establish great position and positive rehearsal habits, I held a 'Position Boot Camp' day.  Here's how I did it:

1.  Dress up in camo gear.  All I had was a jacket, but maybe I can add to my wardrobe some day. :)

2.  Show part of the following video to demonstrate how a well trained military group handles equipment.  They are disciplined.  They move at the same time.  All soldiers know their part.  It is synchronized.

3.  Show just the first part of the following video to show how much self-control is required of soldiers.  In orchestra, it can be difficult to NOT pluck/play instruments and hold still when listening to instructions.  It's important to develop self-control to play only when directed.  In orchestra we play when I give the following command:  'Ready, play!'

4.  Act like a drill sergeant while teaching students how to handle equipment.  Teach rest position, ready position (violin/violas on knees, all bow hold get set are are held vertically on right knee), and play position.  Once in play position, students place bows on the strings without making a sound.  Bows not begin playing until the command 'ready play.'  Use drill sergeant voice while practicing:  "Sit Tall."  "Bows up"   "Left hands set!"   Short commands work great.  This really helps clean up rehearsals as students remember to play only when directed.

5.  As a reward, use a rubber chicken to try to distract students.  Squeak chicken while students are playing to see if they will stay focused.  Have students line up and squeak the chicken by each student to see if they can keep a straight face.  (It's all about practicing self-control)