Basic Violin Skills, by Sue Hunt, Music in Practice.
What will she learn from mastering the Twinkle Variations?

The number of basic violin skills that a child learns by the time we have moved on from the Twinkle Variations never ceases to amaze me.

This list shows some of the basic violin skills learned:

1  A daily practice habit.

2  Rest feet and a bow.

3  How to focus on something for a count of 10 or more.

4  Names of parts of the bow and instrument.

5  Names and jobs of the bow fingers and instrument fingers.

6  Games for finger awareness and strengthening.

7  Playing feet and good posture.

8  Making a beautiful bow hold.

Bow hold games. There are loads of fun music games to choose from.

10  Holding the instrument in a relaxed playing position.

11  Instrument hold games.  There are quite a lot from which to choose  here.

12  Several ways of practising the twinkle rhythms away from the instrument.

13  Giving the bow to the instrument (letting the instrument take the weight of the bow).

14  Letting the bow rest silently on the string.

15  Twinkle rhythms on the instrument.

16  Focus for “Stop, prepare, play.”  (My kids listen for,  “Wait, wait, ready, play!”  Thanks Ed Sprunger)

17  Getting the right bow weight with a relaxed bow arm.

18  Keeping the bow on the right bow spot, (Kreisler Highway).

19  Playing with the bow at a right angle to the string.

20  Short stopped (Staccato) bows.

21  Short smooth (Legato) bows.

22  Bowing in the middle of the bow at the square of the arm.

23  Long quick stopped bows – Twinkle theme.

24  Playing on one string at a time.

25  Crossing from one string to another.

26  Left hand position with fingers on the instrument.

27  Soft left thumb.

28  Built up fingers, with quick finger placement.

29  Playing in tune, with bulls eye fingers on the tapes.

30  Coordination of bow and fingers.

31  Memory skills – the beginnings of a repertoire at the fingertips.

32  Pre Twinkle tunes, e.g. Open String Concertos, Ding Dong, Pizzicato Partners, The Flower Song, The Monkey Song, The Birds’ Lullaby.

33  Focus on good tone.

34  Practice skills.

35  A positive attitude.

36  The ability to focus on playing, for almost 5 minutes.

Isn’t that an impressive list for a small child to be able to master?  Just think of the the huge amount of focus needed to do one of these basic violin skills by itself, let alone to combine them.


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