We came accross this article on the web, and thought it would be a good one to pass along, especially since school will be starting up again in just a few weeks. It’s by Jacquelyn Dillon-Krass from Wichita State University.
Tips for Teaching Young String Groups to Play “In Tune”
by Jacquelyn Dillon-Krass
Music students learn more than music – they learn of life and self-worth. You are a valuable person in the lives of your students. “Don’t under-estimate the importance of your work or the responsibility that your job demands; enjoy it.”
Without a doubt, the most important and most difficult task facing the string teacher is teaching students to play “in tune.” Orchestral educators need to understand that (1) Good pitch never just happens; it is very carefully taught; (2) Poor pitch never gets better on its own; in fact, it usually gets worse; and (3) Concern for playing with good pitch is a never-ending quest, that has to be stressed daily with every group.
A beginner group, playing even the simplest music, should be expected to play with good pitch (first fingers in correct place, whole steps and half-steps obvious, etc.). “All purpose” second fingers (neither high enough nor low enough), so often heard, are simply unacceptable. In other words, there is absolutely no excuse for groups at any level to play out of tune.
If students are trained to be concerned about pitch from the very beginning, and then never allowed to play out of tune in rehearsals, they will play in tune under pressure at concerts. My beliefs and ideas on teaching young students to play in tune follow: