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Ben Maynard

HAT Journal #3

 Is it common for teachers to have to go out of their way to get special permission to use pedagogical
touch to fix problems in students’ playing? This method is very prominent in String Techniques,
therefore it’s probable that many string teachers that graduate from Ball State will also implement this
teaching element in their classrooms. As an upcoming young teacher, I worry about these things
because after watching and reading the news, the boundaries can be extremely clouded in schools.
 Chapter two stresses that the first two years of teaching strings should consist of a lot of review and a
smaller amount of time teaching new concepts. How much time should the average string teacher be
reviewing previous concepts before they are hindering the students learning of new concepts? The
sample lesson plan on page 43 and 44 doesn’t specify how much of one class meeting should be
devoted to review.
 Can we take some class time to talk about the rote teaching strategies for teaching left hand position,
instrument position, and finger placement listed in chapter 2? As I am reading through some of the
descriptions of these activities, it is difficult to visualize these without having them explained.
 How well should we know the Roman Number left hand labeling system? I ask this because there is
always that chance that we will walk into a school as a string teacher and the teaching materials that
are already there might use this system.
 The book mentions that we can teach our beginning string players to movement the bow closer and
further from the bridge to assist them in achieving loud and soft dynamics. Should we be teaching this
concept if it changes the tone quality? In class, we talk about bowing in the “sweet spot,” so should we
be teaching students to move out of the “sweet spot” to achieve better dynamic contrast?
 Before reading chapter 2, I did not have a specific layout and seating configuration in my head for a
beginning string class. Let alone, I didn’t think of a reason to adapt a specific configuration to help with
the learning process. I honestly think that the seating layout listed on page 33 is crucial to laying a solid
foundation for young students. Having single rows of students allows for the teacher to implement
pedagogical touch. As a rookie string player, pedagogical touch has increasingly helped my playing
simply because sometimes I have no idea that I am making a mistake while playing.
 Page 44 offers fantastic insight on how to have students complete activities by wrote to help solidify
instrument position. The exercises that stood out to me was the “Grow an Inch” exercises. This
exercises requires students to pretend that they are pulling an imaginary string from their heads. This
method might appeal to the tactile learning style and improve bowing position all around.
 Explaining the 1-2 and 2-3 fingering patterns to young violin and viola students can be very beneficial,
and I didn’t think about simplifying this technique this way before I read chapter 2. This teaching
method simplifies things and gives young players two options when playing tetra chords. Additionally,
this method will also assist the students in thinking about scales in fingering patters compared to
thinking about the formation of a scale when playing one.
 The concept of the teacher tuning instruments for the students before class is still extremely new to
me. Since I began and grew up in a band setting and the directors dedicated a portion of class for the
students to teach their own instruments. Therefore, it’s interesting to me that string teachers should
wait until the students can produce good tone and appropriately play their instruments before they
tune their instruments on their own.
Ben Maynard

 The book provides an interesting take on fixing common problems of beginning string players in
chapter 2. It explains that if students are having trouble and if there is problem, don’t go straight to
problem. Rather, look for tension from the center of the body out. If students have tension in their
neck or shoulders, this could lead to bigger problems with left-hand placement or collapsed hands.
 After reading chapter 2, I can transfer and use the principle of taking appropriate time to establish a
solid foundation during the first or second year of teaching students. I can not only apply this to
teaching strings, but to teaching any instrumental class. Chapter two lays out several steps to
successfully laying a solid foundation for young string players such as separating left hand from right
hand skills, teaching by rote, and laying out appropriate goals for students to achieve in their playing
during the first or second year. Having this sequence laid out is important for me as far as transferring
it, because my middle school band director took the approach of racing through a book during the first
and second year of band.
 Pages 44 and 45 are filled with fun and engaging activities that string teachers can use to help solidify
proper instrument position in young string players. These activities would transfer well to middle
school classes. In my experience from teaching in middle school classrooms in Secondary Music
Methods, they operate and are motivated best when the teacher turns a lesson into a competition,
activity, or a game. The activities listed serve as great alternatives to simply just modeling and
explaining in detail how students are supposed to be holding their instruments.
 As somebody who struggles with string crossings, the pedagogical strategies that are listed in chapter 2
can be transferred to my playing and then later in my teaching. Specifically, I never thought of doing an
exercises where I would put a rest in between each note. This exercise would allow students the time
to switch their bow angle to string cross. This can be an important pedagogy tool when teaching string
crossings to younger students.
 The majority of chapter 2 provides specific pedagogical strategies for teaching détaché bowings, aural
skills, string crossings, staccato and hooked bowings, slurs, bow hand shape, finger placement,
pizzicato, left-hand shape, and instrument position. This chapter is a fantastic tool that I can use and
look back on whenever I need ideas on creative ways to teach these basic fundamentals of playing
string instruments.
 Chapter 2 is additionally a great resource for finding and fixing common issues in beginning string
players. It’s important that I have the table on pages 68 and 69 as a reference because starting
students with good fundamentals and breaking bad habits early on in their playing career is vital.
Moreover, the table on these pages is categorized by common issues that happen to students that play
each different instrument. Here is an example of how I might transfer the information on this table to a
classroom setting: If I am aware that one of the sections in my string class is struggling, I can refer back
to this table and find the instrument so that I can re-familiarize myself with the common problems that
beginners have and ways to fix them.