Featured Resources

Using Body Language to Express the Music in Conducting
Most orchestra directors learn the basics of conducting in college classes. Often, however, the principles of projecting musical character through body language and meaningful gesture are glossed over or totally ignored...
The Dilemma of (and Solutions for) Trying to be Creative
One of the hurdles students sometimes face is coming up with fun or helpful ways to approach overall practicing, let alone just trying to manage a difficult spot in their music. As a teacher in an already "creative" field, it did not really occur to me that I would also need to be teaching students how to be creative...
The Art of Recruiting
It is critical for string teachers to master the art of recruiting and attracting students to the stringed instruments. Although instrumental recruitment in most districts officially takes place in the spring, recruitment for string teachers really must begin in September. It is imperative for string teachers to keep a high profile in their school all year long...
6 Stages of Tuning Stringed Instruments
Teaching students to tune their own instruments is one of the most important things string teachers do. The ability to tune an instrument is one of the most basic aspects of musical independence. The tuning process can be broken into six developmental stages with strategies teachers can use to help students (and themselves) at the various stages of learning to tune...
4 Free String Assessments   
Choose from:
Baseline: I Can Play with Correct Position
Developing:Tonal Development Rubric
Proficient: Perform or Improvise Simple and Complex Rhythm Patterns
Advanced: Advanced Bowing Checklist - Practice and Assessment
Developing the Bow Hand
Violinists frequently talk about the importance of free motions in the bow arm. It’s difficult to move the bow arm freely, however, if you’re afraid you’re going to drop the bow. The focus of this article is on concepts and exercises to help beginning students develop the way the fingers of the bow hand interact with the bow. These skills develop over time, through repetition and practice...
Studio Teaching Tips: The Finger Matrix Exercise
Successfully navigating the fingerboard requires a clear knowledge of the notes within each position and the deft ability to relate those positions to one another. Within the left arm there are generally two types of intonation challenges: structural intonation (the finger spacing within one position) and transpositional intonation (the spacing between positions)...
Improving Intonation
Intonation is one of the very most important aspects of playing a bowed string instrument well. It is useful to divide a discussion of intonation into three parts: the science of intonation, the various types of intonation problems, and ways to improve intonation...
Inheriting, Losing, and Rehabilitating Students
All teachers gain and lose students to either natural attrition or mutually agreed upon terms. Students float in and out of our lives, and this is the course of things. When inheriting new students, there are ways to make the transaction healthy...
Increasing Access to Strings Guide   
This step-by-step guide was developed by ASTA based on successful programs from around the country. Available as a brochure or flyer...
What Are We Looking for in the Score?
I remember well my first serious chamber music experience as a high school freshman where I was fortunate to be placed in an earnest group with upper-classmen playing works by Arriaga and Shostakovich. Part of this new experience concerned an entreaty by my excellent coach that we faithfully and assiduously study the complete score...
Collé Action: An Alternative Perspective on Right-hand Finger and Wrist Mobility    
We have all seen it—the dreaded claw-like bow-hand shape best characterized by straight and tense fingers. The image is unsettling because we, as string teachers, understand all too well that a lack of finger and wrist mobility will undoubtedly hinder the development of more advanced bow control...
Studio Teaching Tips: Are You Equipped?    
Dorothy DeLay was equipped with a couch, stuffed animals, a grand piano, and a big, comfy chair in her studio. Finding a balance between a clutter-free teaching environment and having all of your "teaching stuff" on hand are important considerations when organizing or setting up a private studio or classroom...
Incorporating Body Mapping in Music Instruction    
One problem for musicians is that an element is missing from our educational systems: an understanding of the kinesthetic sense. Kinesthesia is the sixth sense that is often ignored in our society. We learn of the five senses—taste, sight, smell, hearing, and touch—but are not often taught about body awareness, which is the sixth sense...
Teaching Improvisation for Greater Musical Expression    
How often do you hear your students comment on the richness of their musical experiences? Does it seem as if there’s a constant struggle to get your students to focus on and achieve their artistic and personal goals regarding musical expression?...

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