Complete Musician School For Strings
It’s been a long time since I posted on my blog, so here’s what’s new. Last year, after the school district decided to charge me a lot of rent for the after-school use of the building, I decided to go out on my own to create my own school for strings. With some advertising I was able to put together a class of six 4 and 5-year-olds which met twice a week for singing-musicianship. That was a lot of fun! Children that age are so unpredictable! And they love the games and songs! With a small class, everyone gets a turn every time. Taking and giving turns is an important life skill for these children. By the time we ended in April, the list of songs they knew was gigantic! Beat and rhythm were well-known elements of music, and they became familiar with quite a few composers. Expressing the music in their dance movements was also very important.
In addition to the kindergartners, my first-year violin class consisted of five children ages 6-9. In 12 weeks, from September to December, we covered basic 1st grade Kodály singing curriculum and part way through 2nd grade. (It’s not hard to have an accelerated course when the class is small. For one thing, you get through the games a lot quicker and can cover a lot of material in a short time.)
In January, the children began their study of the violin. The course changed from a twice-a-week 45-minute singing class, to a weekly 30-minute private violin lesson and one-hour group class. We spent half the class time playing the instrument, and the other half continuing on with learning the elements of music through singing-musicianship. I teach the students to sing and hear a new element before they play it. Then they learn to read and write the element, composing and improvising music of their own. The plan worked beautifully. It was a great year!
By the end of May, it was amazing how well the children could play, and more important, how much they knew in their heads and ears given the few short months they had been studying. The goal this summer has been to have the students finish Book 1 of the Complete Musician in private lessons, so we’re ready to move on to Book 2 at the beginning of the school year.
I sold my previous home and moved into another with an unfinished basement, which I am making into a classroom, ready for another first-year class and continuing on with other classes. I want to post the progress of our facilities and the program on a consistent basis. Questions and positive comments are welcome.