Learning to read notation as a string player

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Classical Violin By: Please log in to see tutor details
Subject: Violin » Classical Violin
Last updated: 03/03/2017
Tags: string playing, viola, violin

I believe that the role of an instrumental teacher is far greater than simply teaching the mechanics of playing the instrument. We have a responsibility to create fully rounded musicians who understand what they are doing, and why.

Part of this process is learning to read notation. If this is approached in a logical way, alongside technical development, it should hold no great mystery.

So, the first decision is – do I write in the fingering? NO!!! Well, maybe the occasional one, but if a pupil has the fingering written over most or even (heaven forbid) all of the notes, they are only going to look at that, and not the notation itself. This creates two issues. Firstly, the pupil will not be able to accurately read the rhythm and secondly, they will never learn to read without fingering.

As a result of this approach I am confident that, when presented with an appropriate standard of piece, my pupils will be able to work out notes and rhythm with a reasonable degree of accuracy on the very first time through. It won’t be fast, it won’t be 100% correct, but they will get a flavour of it and, furthermore, be equipped to learn it independently, with minimal guidance from me.

This leaves me time in their lessons to develop technique and to work on the “music” with them.


Kathy Young Classical Violin Teacher (Walsall)

About The Author

Hi, I'm Kathy. I am a very experienced teacher of violin and viola. I believe in encouraging my pupils to be all-round, independent musicians and to inspire them with my love of making music. Please contact me if you are interested in taking lessons.




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