Dr. Shinichi Suzuki, the man behind the latest violin pedagogy Suzuki Violin Method was also a big believer of a violin masterclass. In a violin masterclass, kids of the same level or Suzuki Violin Book level are grouped together to play different rhythmic and melodic games on the violin. These musical playing activities are primarily to motivate them into seeing violin playing as easy and fun while truly aiming to improve the children’s technical mastery on the instrument.
A Suzuki Masterclass should ideally have 15 to 25 young violinists, one violin teacher and a piano accompanist.
How does a Suzuki Masterclass start?
1. Tuning – Suzuki Masterclasses always start with children lining up in front of the violin teacher and piano accompanist to have their violins tuned.
2. Formation – After tuning, children are then asked to form a semi-circle with each student at arm’s length from each other. This is to avoid hitting each other with the bow when playing. A semi-circle is also the ideal formation for violin students, allowing the teacher the best position and the best view to facilitate the whole class.
3. Bow Exercises – To warm up the right hand, violin students in a masterclass do bow exercises together for at least five minutes or until the teacher sees that everyone has gotten the exercise right. Children who are quick to finish their bow exercises may squat on the floor or sit down ahead of the others.
4. Rhythmic and Melodic Exercises – Rhythmic and melodic exercises should be done separately. This is also one way of warming up children’s fingers before playing pieces.
5. Review Of Pieces – Children play pieces together as a group. The teacher may do this creatively in the form of a game.
6. Mini Recital – Advanced players can play a portion of the piece that they are learning solo. This is to develop the child’s self-confidence and to prepare the child for performances. On the part of the other children or the audience, this is to encourage them to learn the next pieces, such as the one played by a peer or group member.
To read more tips and information on how to play the violin, how to conduct Suzuki Violin Masterclasses, how to meet Suzuki violinists in your area, tips on violin lessons, choosing and buying violins, methods in teaching and learning the violin, please log on to http://www.violinroom.com