Written by Paula E. Bird ©2013
Up to this point in our discussion about teaching and learning the Suzuki Violin repertoire in book 1, I have systematically gone through the pieces and analyzed them into four areas:
- left hand
- right hand
- how to preview or teach
- later problems (or just later for advanced students, group class, or review ideas)
We have also engaged in reading preparation activities from the very beginning of lessons by referring to the symbols in the book, such as down bow and up bow indications, repeat signs, fermatas, and by discussing other words that we find in the songs, such as ritard, forte, and other dynamic markings. My students may also look at the way a piece looks, and we discuss the form of songs. Students are likely able to compare the way two phrases look and determine whether the notes look the same or dissimilar. Since I expect my students to play the songs without having to refer to music or a card, and as long as the parents play the reference recordings at home on a daily basis, I am confident that my students' aural abilities will remain strong.
So at this point in the learning progression, I focus more on the skills to be developed with each new song in the repertoire. I have several questions that I think about routinely as my students enter into the world of the Bach/Petzold Minuets:
- What skills are to be developed?
- What tricky bits will challenge the students?
- What supplemental exercises or repertoire could I use to shore up the technical challenges that students face?
- How can I reinforce the learning in group classes?
- Was this skill introduced gently in earlier repertoire?
- Will this skill be revisited in later repertoire?
In the next areas of discussion about the later Suzuki repertoire, I will approach the songs with the philosophical overlay I have discussed above as well as the questions I raised earlier. Between us, we will be able to come up with a plan to address teaching and learning concerns with the later Suzuki repertoire.
Let us start with the first Minuet in Suzuki Violin Volume 1. What challenges have you faced with your students or children? Leave a comment below, and we will tackle these issues in the coming weeks.