If you’re a band director who is suddenly in a position where you have to teach orchestra, then you might be concerned about how to proceed. This might be completely new to you and you could have very little idea how to move forward. Luckily, there are a few tips and tricks that you can keep in mind that will make teaching strings a lot simpler than it would otherwise be. Read on so that you can do your best to teach orchestra.
Check Instruments for Common Problems
Your school might provide instruments for the students to use. These instruments could have some common problems that you will need to check for. Open seams and cracks are problems that will become worse if they are not addressed. Check for cracks by giving instruments a thorough visual inspection and check for open seams by listening for a “slap” sound while lightly rapping the perimeter of an instrument.
Ensure Students Know How to Hold the Instruments Properly
Next, you might want a refresher when it comes to how to play specific stringed instruments. If you’re dealing with upper strings, then these instruments need to be parallel to the floor and should be between 30 and 40 degrees off-center to the left. Students should have their left elbows bent at a right angle. If you have problems with the instrument being too straight, then it’s likely that a smaller instrument is needed.
For holding the cello, you need to know that the top of the scroll is supposed to be eye-level while the student is standing. Sitting students should hold the cello by the neck upright and keep it at arm’s length. The cello should then be brought toward them while ensuring that the scroll is placed to the left of their heads. Ideally, you want the A-string tuning peg to be at an even height with the student’s left ear.
A bass should have the nut near the top of the student’s forehead when they’re standing. The right edge of the back of the bass should come into contact with the student’s stomach and groin. The bass should be able to balance on its own as well.
Holding a Bow Properly
Holding a bow properly might be the most important thing to get right. Practicing by using pencils will allow you to reduce the weight and relieve some unnecessary tension. It can take time to get it right and some students will have problems with thumb positioning. The thumb should curl inward toward the palm.