You know those students who really aren’t listening? The ones who never adjust their finger patterns from string to string? The ones who are totally unaware of how they actually sound? How do you motivate these students to play the right finger patterns?
Well, yesterday in the middle of rehearsal, a whopping half of the 2nd violins were being unusually stubborn, and kept ignoring my reminders to play C natural. I was about to remind them again, when I was inspired to a new way to get the point across! I stopped the rehearsal, grabbed a student’s violin, took a deep breath, and announced in a very serious tone:
“Some of you have been suffering from something. Some of you have a serious addiction. It’s an addiction I’m going to call… the major pattern addiction.” As soon as I said that, most of them started to giggle because they already knew what I was getting at.
“I am going to demonstrate to you what someone with major pattern addiction sounds like.” I proceeded to play the 2nd violin passage we had just been working on, with all seriousness, all the while using the same finger pattern on every string. As I played it, it was clear from their reaction how awful it sounded.
“So, what did you think?” I asked when I was done.
“It was beautiful! Absolutely fantastic!” they obviously joked.
“Okay, so do you get the point now? Do you understand how important it is to play the right pattern? You don’t want to sound like that, right?” They nodded their heads, particularly those who knew they were the culprits.
We proceeded to play the offending passage again, and to my great relief, every single one of them played a decent C natural.
The next day I heard from their teacher that they remembered the admonishment, and felt guilty about it! So glad that the point stuck. I should have had them pledge that from that day forward, they will forever check and use the correct finger patterns on all their strings for every piece they play!
Of course, as soon as I got home I had to create this sign for you! Sign in or sign up to download it below. Then find a teachable moment to introduce it to your students!
Don’t know what the Major Pattern is? Learn more about my easy finger pattern method here.
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