Smart tips for teaching stringed instruments, in the private lesson or classroom setting.

 

Troubleshooting Peg Problems on Stringed Instruments

  It’s winter, it’s dry, and… it’s the season for slipping pegs.  Or it’s summer and humid, and pegs are stuck.  You try to start class, and you are regularly interrupted by peg problems.  It is such a time-waster!  So … Read More

How to Wind Strings Properly

  Have you been winding your strings properly on your violin, viola or cello?  It’s not just about aesthetics or neatness.  Properly wound strings create forces that can prevent pegs from slipping.  If a string is not wound properly, the … Read More

Hoodie-Free Zone!

Highschoolers…. They seem to live and sleep in their hoodies these days!  But they get in the way of holding the violin and viola properly. Finally, tired of reminding my violin and viola students to remove their hoodies, I made … Read More

Note-Reading for Strings Handout and Worksheets

This handy reference for note-reading on violin, viola, cello and bass is great to have to reinforce music-reading skills. Download it for free, or purchase it along with the worksheets. Worksheets help reinforce note-reading and fingering on all strings, and … Read More

Check your bow! – Posters

Tightening and Loosening the Bow Properly…. Tired of bows that are too tight and students who forget to loosen their bows?  These posters and handouts are great for teaching beginners, and will give your students a visual reminder every time … Read More

First Position Fingering Charts for Beginner Strings

Start your beginner strings playing in different keys right away with these easy-to-read first position fingering charts!  Fingering charts help students easily understand and memorize fingering for different keys, and should be an essential part of any strings classroom. Whether … Read More

Music Sign-Out Sheets and Music Collection

It took me a few years to streamline my system of signing out and collecting the many, many pieces of music that we go through every year.  My first few years of teaching, I didn’t even even bother signing out … Read More

Seating Plan Template for String Orchestra

  Time to get organized! It’s the beginning of the school year and it’s time to make up some new seating plans.  I thought I’d tweak my seating plan and share it with those of you who don’t have one, … Read More

String Orchestra Seating Plan Lesson

The set-up of a string orchestra can be a bit bewildering to beginners. One of the first things I do in September is use this handout with my beginning students to illustrate how a string orchestra is seated.  Through this … Read More

Smart Ideas for Teaching Strings in September

  It’s Back to School! The new school year is upon us and it’s back to classes and lessons!  Do you need some new ideas for teaching strings?  Here are four great strategies you can use to accelerate student learning.  … Read More

Smart Bowing Exercises for Strings

Have your students ever wondered why they should practice their scales, and what this has to do with mastering their instruments? Well, Smart Bowing Exercises for Strings will give them over 100 reasons why! This truly unique resource has well-organized … Read More

What Music Students Learn in Just Four Months

When people, as they often do, ask music teachers about how learning music benefits students, it is sometimes difficult to articulate. I often find myself tongue-tied because of the sheer magnitude of the subject. There are so many aspects to … Read More

Why Should String Players Practice Scales?

Why do we practice scales? Have you ever given more than a moment’s thought to this? Sure, we practice scales to learn fingering, some rhythms, and to practice shifting. But there must be more to it, or the most elite … Read More

Establishing a Routine for the String Classroom

As I posted at the beginning of the year, one of my New Year’s Resolutions was to work on honing my classroom management skills. String students are generally great students and tend to do whatever you ask them to, but … Read More

A New Year in the String Classroom

It’s a fresh new year and I am so excited to be back at school! The holidays actually dragged on for me this year, not only because it was an unusual -20C out almost every day so we were stuck … Read More

How to Fix the Screechy E-String Habit

  We’ve all done it. And done it repeatedly. Out of the blue, we hit that nasty spot on the E-string that gives that mysterious high-pitched screech, also known as the ‘squeaky E-string’ or the ‘whistling E-string’. It happens just … Read More

Christmas Kaleidoscope, arr. Robert J. Frost

  Christmas Carols for Violin, Viola, Cello and Bass Finally, the Winter Concert is done!  Now, what are you going to do with your string students for the last few classes???  What I do is send my students off with … Read More

Are You Using SmartMusicTeacher YouTube Videos?

  In case you haven’t noticed yet, SmartMusicTeacher has a YouTube Channel with (at this moment) over 50 videos that are free for you to use with your violin, viola, cello and bass students.  And boy, did the videos come … Read More

Why Music Education Matters: Words from a Student

Do you often wonder what students are really gaining from learning music?  I think many of us have a bit of an inferiority complex when it comes to music education because the benefits are less tangible compared to subjects such … Read More

Smart Scales for Strings

Smart Scales for Strings simplifies how we teach and learn scales for Violin, Viola, Cello and Double Bass.  It makes scales so easy, it practically teaches itself!  It is perfect for both the classroom and private teaching and is all … Read More

Why We Need New Scale Books for Strings

  We need new scale books for Violin, Viola, Cello and Bass…. I know I haven’t posted at all in the past while, but that’s because I have been working on finishing Smart Scales for Violin, Viola, Cello and Bass … Read More

Smart Fiddle Tunes for Strings

Looking for fiddle tunes to teach the class?  Need tunes transposed for viola, cello and bass? Did you know that there are many, many skills you can teach through fiddle tunes?  Read about all the great reasons to teach fiddle … Read More

How to Pack and Carry Your Cello – Video

I’ve watched many a student struggle with packing and unpacking their cello, and carrying them in awkward positions.  Packing a cello is actually very easy, and carrying it properly actually makes it feel really light.  After watching this video, you … Read More

Start Stringed Instruments Playing By Ear

It is very common for string teachers, whether they be classroom teachers or private violin, viola and cello teachers, to start their students off playing by ear.  This sets up a foundation for intonation and listening. Because playing a stringed … Read More

Irish Tunes are like Dim Sum

So, what’s an Asian chick doing posting on St. Patrick’s Day about Irish music? It’s a long story, but the short version is, I got lured away by Cape Breton and East Coast music many years ago, I abandoned classical … Read More

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