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Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Case for Having a System

In a previous post about when I introduce higher position fingering in the Suzuki repertoire, I discussed my system for introducing positions, and then I asked the question "why have a system at all"?

It is possible to teach a student without having a "system" for introducing various concepts, however, I think there is a danger of overlooking a crucial point without a system in place. It is also possible to teach "outside" the system, by introducing a concept earlier.

Here are some basic important topics that teachers should develop a system for teaching:
  • when to put the thumb "inside" the frog
  • when to begin learning to read music
  • when to introduce higher positions
  • when to teach vibrato
  • when to introduce spiccato
  • when to add music theory assignments
  • when to add supplementary materials
  • when and how to celebrate a book graduation and the requirements
  • when to accept a new student or let one go
What goes into the making of a system? Here are the questions I asked myself when I developed my systems for teaching the above skill topics:
  1. When will I introduce the topic? At what stage of the Suzuki or other repertoire will I begin teaching this topic?
  2. How will I introduce it? What are the steps I will follow to teach this topic?
  3. What materials will I use when I introduce it? Will I use different materials depending on the child's age or readiness to learn this topic?
Have a wonderful rest of the weekend!

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