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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Perpetual Motion: Introduction

Perpetual Motion is the first song in the last half of Suzuki Violin Volume One. The song marks the halfway point, and in my opinion, the song introduces the intermediate portion of book one. I lump Perpetual Motion, Allegretto, and Andantino in my designated “intermediate” section of book one.

When I first began my article about Perpetual Motion, I realized that this is a monster piece in terms of teaching points, presenting the song to the student, and discovering all the hidden value and uses of the song for teachers and students at a later time and for group classes. The task of organizing all of these gems into a format that would be easy to present to readers to help them understand my teaching process was daunting. After spending a few days thinking about it and summarizing some key points for myself, I decided to divide and conquer the task into smaller articles.

For now, here is a brief introduction to some basics about Perpetual Motion. 

Left Hand Skills

  • The song is in A major with the same close 2-3 finger pattern that the Twinkles introduced.
  • The song has four parts and is in the form: A-B-C-A.
  • The song uses all of the notes of the one-octave A scale above middle C.
  • I use this song to introduce the first of several fingering habits that I want my students to learn. In this particular song, I teach two places where the student uses the pinkie rather than the E string (measures 2, 4, 10, 12, 14, 16).

Right Hand Skills

  • The song is a good vehicle for practicing staccato.
  • The song will help the student learn to better coordinate the left hand fingers and the bow to play together.
  • The variation will reveal any difficulties that the student has with the timing of the fingers and the coordination of the fingers and the bow.
  • The song presents opportunities for numerous group class activities.
  • The song presents other possible variations to introduce the student to more advanced technical skills.

How I Teach It

I will discuss my teaching plan in a later post as well as some group class ideas and advanced technique ideas. In the meantime, if you would like more information about how I prepare my students to learn Perpetual Motion, click here.

I think Perpetual Motion is a terrific song because it provides me with many, many teaching possibilities. I frequently refer back to this song when I work with my advanced students. Even my university students are encouraged to keep this song in the repertoire in case we need to refer to it while working on another skill at the university level. The song is such a useful tool for so many things, as you will discover in my future posts.

So folks, if you have not reviewed Perpetual Motion in a while, then you had better get cracking! This is a big one, and you will understand it better if you can play it well.

Happy Reviewing!

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