The use of graded examinations in teaching?
With the autumn edition of ‘arco’ out (vol 44 no 4), it was interesting to see the article ‘2020 ABRSM string syllabus – development in progress’. In it, five of the string consultants for the new examination syllabus outlined their views on the enormous task set for them to suggest new music. This is quite obviously no easy task as choices are limited very much by duration, technical demands, the feasibility of the accompaniments and Read More
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Modern Progress
09 November

Modern Progress??

Whilst looking through back issues of ‘ESTA news and views’ (the precursor to ‘arco’ for the uninitiated), I came across a rather interesting article by Elizabeth Waterfield, dating from September 1981 – ‘On the use of mechanical aids in string teaching’. (ESTA News and Views volume 6 no 2). In it, Elizabeth shares her views on the use of modern technology in instrumental music lessons.                     Read More
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The Science of Playing
In his book ‘The Violin Lesson’ (Edition Peters), Simon Fischer talks about ‘The Science of violin playing’: ‘To develop technique on the violin you have to learn the Science of Violin Playing. But this must not be confused with studying ‘real’ sciences like physics, chemistry, biology, DNA and so on. Any field like these is obviously a lifetime’s work, and however much you know is only ever a tiny speck compared to the amount you Read More
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Why do children start playing musical instruments?
Some children will genuinely be inspired by the sound of an instrument they have heard on the television, radio, recording or a live performance; but for many the opportunity to learn an instrument is limited through the choices they are offered at school, often resulting in the learning an instrument for which they are not ideally suited! Parents have a large influence on why many children take up musical instruments. This can be a double-edged Read More
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Practice More
31 October


The dictionary defines practice as ‘do repeatedly; work to gain skill; do habitually; put into action’ Motivation is defined as ‘that which makes a person act in a particular way; instigate; incite’ Susan Hallam, in ‘Instrumental Teaching’ (Heinemann: 1998 p 136) lists these activities as defining practice: acquiring, developing and maintaining aspects of technique learning new music memorising music for performance developing interpretation preparing for performance What else would you, as a string teacher, add Read More
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