The fourth in a series of very easy songs for beginning violin students and Suzuki
"Pre-Twinklers" to foster the transition from rote to reading music and functioning knowledge of the violin fingerboard.
I was fortunate to have had access to training in three internationally recognized methods of childhood education - Montessori, Kodaly and Suzuki. The basic tenets of all three of these educators is adherence to a sequential learning program.
In my own teaching of Kodaly classes and private violin lessons I have used a sequential step by step approach and found it very successful.
The order of the materials presented here follows such a plan: 1. Rote learning of the song by singing.
2. Introducing the rhythm (Using Kodaly syllables) kinetically, visually and finally written.
3. Learn melody using solfa syllables and hand signs.
4. Join rhythm and solfa reading and singing.
5. Introduce solfa on the violin and play.
6. Replace solfa with note names and play.
7. Introduce solfa on 3 line staff.
8. Introduce notes on 5 line staff and play.
After studying the explanatory pages and completing the worksheets a student will be able to play the song by heart and also with knowledge of the written music - the best of both worlds!
SONGS FOR SUZUKI VIOLIN “PRE-TWINKLERS”
EASY TO PLAY
I have found it helpful to have a number of easy songs for beginning students to sing and then play before approaching the technical challenges of Twinkle. The following Kodaly based songs offer a good opportunity as they are songs kids know, have sung and played the games in Kodaly classes. The first songs are played on only one string – each string is introduced separately in solfa, with rhythm and notes, then on the music staff. Later songs involve the string crossing which will facilitate playing Twinkle.
ROTE TO READING = SEQUENTIAL LEARNING
These simple songs are perfect for transitioning from rote to actually reading the music.
Included are rhythm and solfa pages (puzzles and worksheets) as review or to introduce the songs to
those who might not have learned them. After students are familiar with the solfa patterns they are encouraged to experiment with changing do, a valuable inner hearing exercise.
A sequential learning program is suggested, leading smoothly from playing by ear to learning rhythms and notes separately, then together and ultimately on the music staff.
1. Au Clair de la Lune
2. Hot Cross Buns
3. Airlie has a Violin (Mary had a little lamb)
4. Apple Tree
6. Knock the Cymbals
One of my students’ favourites, great for concerts, lots of laughter! Play like London Bridge. Two students make an arch with arms up and joined. While all sing the song, the other students form a circle and march through the arch to the beat. At the end of the song the arch “falls”, catching one student who then becomes part of the arch. Use to teach dynamics by singing loud or softly while stomping or tiptoeing , and tempo by singing faster or slower (the fast version is most fun!)
For violin students once they can play the notes on their violins: play soft-loud, fast-slow; organize puzzle cards then play from them. In 2 groups: one play beat on d while other group plays melody; each play one phrase to put the song together; one group plays rhythmic obligato while other plays melody; one group plays only s and d (E & A; D & G) the other group plays only m and l (C# & F#; D & B).
TEACHING SUGGESTIONS - to encourage the transition from rote to reading.
SINGING1. By rote - Teach the melody while playing the game. (refer p.2) Sing and clap beat.
2.Rhythm - Clap the rhythm with the words. Read rhythm sheet p.4. Ask questions (how many ta’s or ti-ti’s can you find? etc.) to encourage visual understanding of rhythm. Play rhythm puzzle card game p.20. Complete the p.5 & 6 worksheets. (p.5 is for young students learning to write)
3. Melody - Teach by rote using solfa syllables and then sing with hand signs, emphasizing phrasing. Students in a circle, step in on first phrase out on second etc.
- sing melody with different dynamics and tempos, cueing with flash cards.
-join rhythm and solfa reading and singing p.7.
- play the puzzle card game with both rhythm and solfa cards pp.20-21.
Complete worksheet p.8
PLAYING - introduce melody first in solfa on the violin (d = 0 string) pp.9-10.
- introduce melody in A major on A & E strings p.11-12.
- introduce pitches on full music staff and complete the worksheet pp.13. Play
rhythm and notes puzzle card game p.22 & 24, p.26.
- play from notes in A major p14.
- continue the same progression in G major with solfa on (pp.15-16, 23), notes
(pp.17-18, 19,20 & 25).
- play from notes in G major (pp.14-18 using optional 4th finger).