I have my own unique method which also contains the best of Suzuki and Colourstrings. I also utilise mindfulness and reflective techniques. This aims to raise students’ confidence in lessons by increasing their awareness of playing. It is a person-centred approach with a strong emphasis on fun delivered in a kind and gentle manner.
I am keenly aware of how important it is for younger students’ attention to be maintained. Because of this, I have created an approach where I can sustain even the youngest student’s interest for at least one hour by creating a diverse package of fun and relevant activities.
With very young students I think it’s important to place an emphasis on their overall musicality and to encourage singing. Often I find some students are happiest singing nursery rhymes and very simple melodies.
Lastly, I’ll gently ask students to play them on the violin. Overall, as Isaac Stern once said, “If we can use one part of the body to produce the sound then it’s easier for another. For as we all know, the violin is a lyrical instrument.”
With older students, I often find they are at a level where they are performing a balancing act. They are learning pieces that require accuracy at all levels. A good sense of rhythm, intonation and dynamics are a must. After this, I encourage them to sing or hum all their pieces with ALL the detail or as much as possible.
By doing this, they are less likely to miss something when they play it. How do I know this works? It works for me when I learn new pieces and it has proven to work for students in the past, many of whom have gained merit or distinction passes in exams and received very positive feedback in auditions.
I place a strong emphasis on warm up exercises, good posture, relaxation and a supple but powerful bowing arm. Many of my students will tell you that I encourage them to practice on open strings with an emphasis on creating a musical line through a highly developed legato technique. They will also explain to you that very slow scale practice is paramount for developing good intonation and a firm yet warm tone.”