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The Complete Musician
Violin Book One

The Complete Musician violin books are a sequence of activities, materials, and folk tunes designed for the beginning violinist, ages 5-8. This sequence follows singing musicianship curriculum principles common to most North American Kodály-based programs. The tunes are drawn from all over the world, with emphasis on songs that are part of North American cultures and heritages. The Hungarian instrumental school practice of presenting the mi-fa half-step earlier than in singing class in order to facilitate instrumental learning is observed in the Complete Musician.

While there are some pages devoted to the development of certain fundamental aspects of violin technique, the teaching of the technique of the instrument itself is left to the discretion of the teacher. However, essential information about how to use the pages is given in the teacher's book version of this volume.

Since a child's first steps in the learning of the violin are easiest if he or she relates the playing of his instrument to songs he already knows, the most effective use of this book is in its connection with the singing class he or she is experiencing at school or which is being provided by his private music teacher.

The essence of the Kodály Concept is that children are natural music-makers, born to feel, sing, and move in highly musical ways. Since the voice, body, and emotions together constitute a child's first instrument, these should be cultivated as highly as possible as early as possible.

When sufficient progress has been made in expressive in-tune singing, relative hearing, and rhythmic accuracy, then an instrument may be approached. How often do we see the reverse in beginning string instrument students? Teachers all too frequently must try to teach children to play music on an instrument when no useful or tasteful musical material appropriate to the instrument has been implanted in the child's heart, mind, and ear. The Kodály Concept seeks to develop the natural musicality, susceptibility to good taste, and enthusiastic expression of children before and during instrumental study. This means that before coming to an instrument, children will already have become rather adept at singing in-tune and then hearing, reading, and writing standard notation based on what they can sing.

Book One is based on the expectation that the beginning violinist has some fluency in quarter-, eighth-, and quarter-rest rhythm notation in duple meter, as well as in solfa up to the basic pentaton.

Songs that the children learn in singing class which are used as important technique building songs are written in the book in solfa notation. These songs should be learned beforehand by rote and are only written in the book for reference. They should be practiced on each string, the teacher using them to refine the student's technique. The reading songs (those written in staff notation) are given for cultivating all of the cognitive skills required to play the music by reading the symbols on the page.

Since the demands on a young student's mind can be quite taxing as these skills are developing, the technique of the instrument should be secondary until all the elements are in place. Perhaps at this point he or she has enough brain "left over" to be able to handle further refining. The following step-by-step approach for practice of the reading songs is recommended:

  • Say the rhythm syllables.

  • Sing the solfa.

  • Sing the absolute pitch names.
  • Pizzicato (relate the pitches to the fingering).
  • Bow the rhythm (shadow bowing).
  • Arco (play the tune with the bow).
  • Re-establish the beat and rhythm.

    These steps, practiced in this order, educate the student to hear what is on the page in his or her head before playing it on the instrument. If any of the steps is left out, an important piece of the puzzle is missing. As skills increase, the combining of steps naturally results.

    8.5 by 11 inches, 97 pages, spiral bound

    Price per copy $14.95
    Add $1.50 per copy for shipping within the United States.
    Utah residents please add 6.85% sales tax.

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