“Set up” should be a critical part of any string pedagogy course. For all string instruments, how a student holds the instrument and bow is the chief influencer of the quality of sound produced and comfort playing the instrument. It is essential to take all the time necessary to ensure a string student has the best possible entrance to a lifetime of fulfilling music making.
Ear training starts from day one. Even while students are playing by plucking the strings, the focus should be on their hearing and assessing pitch and tone quality. The Ant Song is a wonderful way for students to listen for high vs. low and distinguish the frequency of each open string. Once left fingers and bow are employed, attention to tuning and tone should be part of every lesson.
Advanced students and professional string players are well aware of the complexity of moving the bow. There are basic bow strokes that need to be included from the beginning of study including staccato, legato and detaché. Early on, students should also be given the experience of playing in different parts of the bow, using different bow stroke lengths. Students, thereby, gradually learn the bow’s various properties and how to play rhythms accurately.
Violinist Linda Beers is the creator of the Inspiration for Violinists card deck. Each one of the 50 cards in this deck has a unique image and text inspiring musicianship, mindfulness and spirituality.
Thank you to Edge2Edge Media for the image.