Hello - It has been a while since I posted here on the blog and that is because there are so many changes going on behind the scenes. I am excited to share that I will be going to Nursing School in September. In an attempt to honor, celebrate and archive all the special parts of being a violin teacher for the past 20 years I will be completing several parts of this project between now and then. Expect the following additions over the course of the summer:
NEW VIOLIN SHEET MUSIC COLLECTIONS:
1- Fiddle Duets - A collection of my favorite fiddle tune arrangements plus a couple of duets I composed in a folk-fiddle style.
2- Folk Music for Beginning Violin - 10 beautiful and simple folk tunes from around the world to help beginners grow their skills and experience the joy of playing.
3- Teacher's Toolkit - My best teaching materials inspired from 20 years of working with young musicians designed to help students practice independently and make the most of their home practice sessions.
4- Welcome Packet (FREE) - 4 Samples from Music for Young Violinists available free to all on the newsletter list and new members who sign-up.
PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT/PARENT SUPPORT:
I am creating 11 more videos for the Teach with PASSION series. These are short (2-5 minutes) and informal videos designed to help you re-charge your violin teaching battery and give parents of young musicians some guidance on this journey. Learn more HERE about what makes these so special.
* Blue Jello Cards giveaway coming later in July.
* Inspiring story about a local man in my area who attempted to beat the Guinness World Record for most burpees in 12 hours. He came and shared his story with my studio and I think when you learn why he did this you will feel motivated to make your dreams come true.
* Teaching Materials for SALE - I had to move out of my studio and do not have room to store things so am selling lots of great materials are low prices.
* Studio Smarts - This is a page here on the website that will be sharing some ways to run the business portion of your studio in the most streamlined manner so that you can focus as much energy and creativity as possible on your teaching.
Thanks and stay tuned for all of the exciting growth on this project this summer! Heather
Ms. Heather BEFORE:
STUDENT: “I have an audition in 1 week and I have to sight read for the first time ever.”
OLD ME: (trying to stay calm) “OK, let’s see what I can do to help” meanwhile I scramble to find appropriate supplemental music on my shelf to practice this new skill, think of how to break down sight reading into layered steps for a young student to grasp in a 30 minute lesson and am in frustration wondering why I did not know about the audition until today!?!?!?!
Ms. Heather NOW:
It helps to live in an area for a few years and learn the rhythms of local auditions. Now I have my students tell me months (and sometimes 1 year) ahead of their audition plans and they must print out 2 copies of the audition requirements: 1 for me to keep on file and 1 for them to have in their folder.
STUDENT: “My audition is in 3 months and I have printed out the requirements for you to look at”
NEW ME: “Fantastic, this is going to be a great experience and I love teaching how to sight read! It can seem scary to have to play the unknown for your first time in front of judges but when you know the process for how to prepare in your head you will have a successful & empowering experience. Also be sure to sign-up for the *mock auditions we are hosting next week so you can practice your audition.” and I pull out my new and nifty sight reading packet and we get to work.
Download a sample version for FREE HERE thru DECEMBER 2016
Can anyone relate to this experience? That was me in my early teaching years and I now love teaching sight reading. I break it down into these 5 steps:
#1 - Evaluate the key signature and touch the scale on your fingerboard. In lesson and at home actually play the scale out loud.
#2- Do a rhythmic analysis using Music Mind Games “Blue Jello” words (or whatever you use in your studio). In lesson and at home actually tap the rhythm on the music stand.
#3- Look at the shape of the melody: Scales or skips? Ascending or descending? Are there any accidentals? Bonus points for assessing dynamics, articulations and bowings at this step.
#4- Play/sing the first phrase in your head.
#5- Play on your violin.
At an actual audition the first 4 steps happen in about 30 seconds but in the lesson and home preparation this takes several minutes. Lastly, I tell my beginning students new to this process that if they forget all of the above steps then at least remember not to dive right into the sight reading - give it some mental time before actually playing on the instrument.
* IDEA: Collaborate with colleagues to offer your students a mock audition before your local youth orchestra audition. Last year I did this with some colleagues who also happen to be parents in my studio and it was a huge success. We contacted the local youth orchestra to learn how they conducted their auditions and did our best to imitate this including having an adjudicator to bring the students to the audition room. We also wrote comments for the students so they had some feedback and focus points.
How do you teach sight reading? Please share with this global group of music teachers in the comments below, we would love to learn from you!
Hi! It's me, Heather. I absolutely love working on the Music for Young Violinists project and all the many facets: blogging, website, music, teaching materials, freebies, videos, newsletter and giveaway contests. The best part is connecting with you so feel free to drop me a line. You can learn more about me on the "ABOUT" page. Thanks!