posture

As a music teacher, teaching violin requires a good amount of planning, preparation, organization, goals and objectives.

But more than that, there has to be a few different approaches depending on the student.

When it comes to violin, a student’s age can vary from a 6 year old to maybe a more experienced musician who wants to experiment with a second instrument.

But of course this can also be applied to teaching other instruments, so let’s dive into the specifics of learning how to play violin.

Posture

This is something that needs to be reminded to students every once in a while after teaching it for the first time.

The idea is to remind your students to keep an upright posture, but remain loose and flexible, from your knees up through your neck. Keep the violin parallel to the floor. In the process of playing, you will invariably move the violin up and down, but your home base posture should have the violin aligned parallel to the floor

How to Hold the Violin and the Bow

violin

This is one of the most important parts of teaching a young musician how to play the violin, and while every instrument requires a specific technique, it is more notable with the violin.

When we are talking about playing the piano or even holding a guitar, it comes as a very natural posture, however with a violin, something feels strange at first.

This is why it’s easy for the student to make mistakes when it comes to standing correctly and holding the instrument the way they should.

Pizzicato

Remember to mix things up a bit while having your students learn how to play pizzicato, which will strengthen the left hand, and focus on intonation.

It may even be a good idea to start with pizzicato before even learning how to use the bow as a way of letting your students get familiar with violin without the complexities of holding another part of the instrument.

It’s a really fun way to interact with the instrument and it will get your students to interact with the violin in an interesting unexpected way.

Interview with Violin Teachers

Rigo Murillo is a classically trained violin teacher who specializes in lessons with students between the ages of 3 to 18 years old.

In an interview with Murillo, he spoke about some of the most important aspects about violin teacher., For example giving advice to parents seeking a violin teacher for their children.

OBSERVE a lesson with a prospect violin teacher before you sign up. Do not let their hourly rate be the first screening factor. Effective, quality-oriented music teachers with adequate training and experience are not cheap, but are well worth your money, translating in a great experience and proper technique, musicality and music theory learning.

While his advice is directed towards parents, as teachers, it’s important to keep this sort of advice in mind when thinking about becoming a dedicated violin teacher.

Music teacher Bonnie Foti on the other hand comments on the difficulties of keeping the violin in tune, which at first seems like an easy thing but it can be very chaotic for beginner violinists as she tells of an experience with her students.

It’s awful. I had a parent tuning class. Strings were broken and bridges fell. It’s such a sensitive instrument, like if you don’t know the history behind it, at the making of it – the shapes, and nothing’s glued. You know these parents just rented it. They don’t have the touch for it – to be gentle, or to know how much to turn the pegs. So I told the kids the great thing about the instrument you play is that you can still play it without making noise. They can do the fingerings, hold it up and just go through it. Just sit and say the name of the letters if you don’t have your instrument. Read the music. Yes tuning is definitely a problem.

Remember giving the much needed attention to tuning the violin properly as it could turn into a bad habit for your students.

To help you with your lessons, remember to check out Music Teacher’s Helper to keep your lessons in order.

 

 

 

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fitness for musicians

By Robin Steinweg

It’s obvious. Physical fitness helps us be better vocalists, pianists, guitarists, whateverists. We grow more fit as we practice our instruments. This is probably especially true for voice or wind instruments. And it probably goes without saying. But teachers can also encourage students to great physical fitness during lessons.

Fitness by-products of playing or singing

  • Better posture
  • Breathing more deeply and breath control
  • Endurance/stamina
  • Better eating habits—especially stressed in vocal lessons, I suspect
  • Better hydration—I offer water to all students, not only vocalists
  • Greater body awareness
  • Emotional health

I recall one of my voice instructors telling me that if I were to sing correctly I’d probably never need to do crunches! It’s true that vigorous practice or performances can be taxing. But over time, they also build us up and energize us.

12 fun ways to encourage fitness during lessons or practice

(use some of these as practice challenges—get parents, siblings or grandparents to join in!)

  • Sit on an exercise ball during lessons or practice http://ow.ly/rRdc300JTeK
  • Stand to play, even at the piano
  • Walk around the room while playing or singing
  • March in place while playing
  • Practice vocal scales as you trot up and down the stairs
  • Dance the rhythm of your piece
  • If syncopated, add handclaps
  • Bounce a ball in rhythm while walking and playing (try it with a partner)
  • Jump on the rests
  • Listen to a recording of your piece—choreograph with steps and arm swings—like aerobic dance
  • If you have a trampoline, young students could practice bouncing in time to you or a recording
  • Set up a gentle obstacle course (chairs, cones, folders, stairs) and walk it while playing or singing

Note: check with parents before engaging students in activities (wouldn’t want to bring on an asthma attack or anything!).

How do you promote physical fitness as a music teacher?

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