In the arena of heated conversations among string teachers, the subject of finger #s (i.e., 1, 2, 3) versus pitches (B, C#, D) is a hot topic. I was surprised to read the comments on the blog post Best Way to Learn Violin Notes? and did not expect the consistency of responses. My favorite part was learning how the different countries approach this.
Click HERE to read what others are saying about finger #'s vs. pitches.
The pros of using finger numbers are that they are simple and clear. They also can segue nicely into using finger patterns. I am a proponent of teaching finger patterns even if using pitches over finger #s is the preference since they help train the whole and half steps while strengthening the mind-body circuitry. Since the finger patterns correlate nicely with the tapes on the violin fingerboard, it is easy to integrate them into the curriculum, especially at a beginning level.
Another pro of using #'s is to benefit students with special learning needs. These students (i.e., dyslexic, or right-brain dominant learners), have minds that best connect with a # over a letter.
The pros of using the letter name of the note segue into a broader understanding of key signatures. This leads to understanding music theory, and ultimately teaches the universal language of music.
I spent most of my teaching career using finger #s and have to wonder:
Was my reluctance to embrace using pitch names a reflection of my struggles with music theory?
I digress but bring this up since many of us had either very limited or unsuccessful music theory training. It was not until I was age 25 and did teacher training and teaching using the Music Mind Games music theory curriculum that I began to understand music theory.
I recently discovered the Fantastic Finger Guides. I think they are fantastic- they offer a quick and economical solution to accurate finger placement and immediately help to code the language of music theory into the beginning level violinist.
In 8 seconds, I applied the Fantastic Finger Guide. It went on smoothly and would be doable for students to apply independently.
Now, a clear map of pitches appears on my fingerboard as well as easy to see finger numbers identified on the side of the neck (perfect to see from "rest position"). The product comes on a beginning version (with less information as not to overwhelm the beginning student) and an advanced version that includes more pitches and a quick visual guide for how sharps and flats work.
Receive 10% off the Fantastic Finger Guides thru July 31, 2020 with coupon code MFYV2020.
Click HERE to learn more and order the Fantastic Finger Guides.
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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!