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String Method Books

Discussion in 'Music [DB]' started by Ike Harris, Jan 10, 2006.


  1. Ike Harris

    Ike Harris

    May 16, 2001
    Nashville TN
    I was wondering if any of you teach or have taught a string class for music ed. majors or have current string programs in jr. high/high school. I'm doing a string method college level course for the first time and am looking at the Hal Leonard books(Essential Elements) because that's what is in widespread use in this area. The previous teacher used the teacher's manual for Book 1 which is still available. I noticed on the HL site that the newer version is the EE 2000 with DVD, etc. I'm not sure if it's the same as Book 1 because it doesn't have a level no. in the title. I've emailed HL to get the lowdown on it.

    What I had 30+ years ago was "The Strings" published by Alynn/Bacon and was a very comprehensive text going into much more detail about playing positions, bow technique, terminology, etc. Unfortunately, it's out of print and I haven't seen anything similar out there. I can see the merits of having an existing text that correlates to what's in the system now, but I wish they had a teacher's book with more than 1 level included. As for now, I may go with the newer 2000 book and just do a lecture on advance techniques.

    Let me know what you think.

    Thanks,

    Ike
     
  2. chaurett

    chaurett Supporting Member

    Sep 18, 2002
    Storrs Mansfield
    Hi Ike. Essential Elements and EE 2000 are basically the same. EE2000 is updated and some of the tunes are modified slightly but the sequence of concepts is the same. It's good. When I TA'd string methods at the University of Illinois that's the book we used.

    I haven't taught group lessons in a while but the last time I did I started experimenting with a book called "Artistry in Strings". I think it is also a nice method. It's very flashy which I don't like so much, but the sequencing is good and there are little movement and balance exercises incorporated into the book that are good to use in a heterogeneous setting. You also have the option of starting basses in what they call Middle Position (Rabbath 3rd pos.) which I really like.

    All these methods make compromises which can be frustrating but the have to be made to effectively teach groups of mixed instruments. One more thing, definitely use an up to date or at least commercially available method. String methods classes are populated mostly by band and voice specialists. The way things are right now in the teaching profession many of them will end up teaching strings at some point. It's really best that the have played through and are familiar with a method so, when they are thrust into this position they have something familiar which is available to the students. Good Luck!
     
  3. Heifetzbass

    Heifetzbass Commercial User

    Feb 6, 2004
    Upstate, SC
    Owner, Gencarelli Bass Works and Fine String Instruments, LLC.
    Hey Ike-

    I teach Middle School strings and use the EE 2000 series. I think it is better organized than the original version. There are a few things that I skip or work around, but I haven't found a single method book that works for me without modification. The second book is out in the 2000 format and is good also.

    You might want to look into a set of books and cd's called "Teaching orchestra through music" or something to that effect. I don't have them in front of me. They are really good and might help you with curriculum and programming for MS orchestra. They have a college orchestra playing through the rep.

    Good luck,
    Brian
     
  4. Ike Harris

    Ike Harris

    May 16, 2001
    Nashville TN
    Since I first posted, I'm seriously considering using "Teaching Strings" by Robert Klotman. I've just located it while searching and it closely resembles what I used in school. It's a little pricey listing at $65 but can be had for less if you look around Amazon, etc. It has 280 pages of much detail how to set up a program, maintenance, instrument construction, playing exercises, has lots of good photos, and goes into more advanced techniques. I went to a college library and looked at it last night and it's pretty much as advertised. Anyone familiar with this book?:
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0028645790/ref=pd_kar_1/002-6620391-8675222?n=283155
     
  5. chaurett

    chaurett Supporting Member

    Sep 18, 2002
    Storrs Mansfield
    Hi Ike. Teaching Strings is a good book. Lots of info. I would strongly recommend that you get the student familiar with one of the often-used method books as well. Also, in a two semester (one semester?) string methods course you probably won't get to advanced techniques. If you get through detache, staccato, legato, beginning spicatto, and keys of d, g, a, b flat, f, and relative minors you'll be lucky. Maybe you'll be able to get some of the students into shifting as well but that can be iffy too.

    Another good book to check out is "Strategies for Teaching Strings". http://www.oup.com/us/catalog/general/subject/Music/MusicEducation/?view=usa&ci=0195148878
     
  6. Heifetzbass

    Heifetzbass Commercial User

    Feb 6, 2004
    Upstate, SC
    Owner, Gencarelli Bass Works and Fine String Instruments, LLC.
    Ike-

    I think that those books will be wonderful resources for you and your students. Will you be teaching string players, or other majors (winds, brass, etc...) in the class? If you are teaching mainly string players I wouldn't go to great trouble teaching the advanced terminology, other than giving a list of terms and maybe a demonstration of them. They should have most of that covered in their applied lessons.

    If you are teaching winds, brass, and percussion- I would concentrate on the more basic techniques that Chaurett mentioned. Try to give them the basic vocabulary and rep of strokes that they would need for Grade III or IV music.

    I had the priviledge of going to one of the best music ed. programs in the country. USC (South Carolina) has the String Project, which has become the model for most string ed. programs in the country.

    If I ever teach string methods, this is my plan- and you may steal it if you want. It is a combo of my string methods and brass and woodwind method classes at USC. (These were no joke... I found them as tough as Calculus... which I had to take for an ed. degree there...but that is another story)

    1 Semester class:

    Lecture on string pedagogy: (First half of semester)

    Tuning
    Fingering systems
    Methods- classroom and suzuki, list of advanced studies
    Construction and maintenance
    How to run an orchestra program
    elementary, junior high (ms), high school.
    Recruiting

    Second half of semester:
    Pick a method book- EE 2000 for example:

    Have students choose instruments and play through the book. Have them prepare a lesson plan and do two pages per class. They will teach the class and you can critique them (the teacher) and check for proper positions (the students) while they teach. You can even grab a fiddle and play if you want.

    If it is a two semester class you can lecture them for one class and have them learn the method book in the next class. You could even have them switch from high strings to low strings in the middle or rotate them around.

    I know this post is a little long winded but I was WELL trained when I stepped into a class room for the first time. I was at ease. My chops are pretty good on all the instruments, and I know the literature. It really helped going through the method books. We even had a rep from Hal Leonard come out and give us each a copy and give us a demo on the books.

    Oh, and Pam Telejohn-Hayes was my 5th grade strings teacher.

    Brian
     
  7. Ike Harris

    Ike Harris

    May 16, 2001
    Nashville TN
    Well, I went ahead and ordered the Klotman books. Even though these aren't string majors(at least most, I'm sure)there's a lot of info contained in there for future use. I'll definitely bring in the EE2000 book at least for perusal to get a feel for what is being used out there.

    I'm sharing this class with the violin instructor, she's doing the high strings. We both felt with our busy schedule and limited knowledge of the other strings, we would be more at ease doing it this way. Strangely enough, we are between orchestra teachers this year and this was about the only way they could work it out. Makes it a little more worth the hour-15 minute trip out to the college for us, too. We each can go once a week and get the class taken care of. Now to get our collective ducks in a row . . .:help: