Games/Activities for Group Class book2

Arianne Shimanoff said: Oct 1, 2011
Arianne ShimanoffViolin
Portland, OR
1 posts

Hi Everyone,

I am a new suzuki violin teacher and so far I am loving it!
But I could use a lot of help!
My first question is activities and games to do for a violin group class for students in book 2.

Thank you all for your help!


Ruth Brons said: Oct 2, 2011
Ruth Brons
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
Livingston, NJ
148 posts

The opportunities for skills, fun and imagination are ENDLESS—but here are a few categories of thoughts for starters:

Book Two classes can trend toward serious polishing of technical skills [the harmonic opportunities in Musette and the Boccherini, vibrato on Waltz…], and musicianship [short notes short!, echos and crescendos!].

With a little research you can share a lot of wonderful history with your students.
For example, students love to hear about the instrument the shepherd children of France made called the musette; the opera Hunter’s Chorus came from; Paganini’s virtuosity and eccentricities; Boccherini’s story; the intertwining background of Brahms and Schuman; how Two Grenadiers came from the tragic French invasion of Russia of 1812, international compassion and Heinrich Heine’s moving poem…

And movement and dance! Waltz, Bourree, Gavotte, Minuets and Witches’ Dance beg for getting bodies moving!

Also, as reading are skills emerging, high interest supplemental pieces can be lots of fun. In recent years we have enjoyed Hedwig’s Theme from Harry Potter, Over the Rainbow, and selections from the Mark O’Connor books, such as Boogie Woogie and Rock ‘n Roll.

Enjoy your class of young musicians!

Best Wishes,

Sue Hunt said: Oct 3, 2011
Sue Hunt
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Violin
390 posts
When teaching new material, I find Mind Maps very useful. I just stick it up on a music stand and let things flow. You can always edit it and save for the next time. This is one I made on You can try them out free.

Music in Practice

Ruth Brons said: Sep 17, 2012
Ruth Brons
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
Livingston, NJ
148 posts

Posted below is my reply to Gretchen, who recently contacted me in response to this thread. She was looking online for body movements to Waltz from Book 2, and is interested in using a dance to get the students to understand the piece more.

“Here’s probably waaaaay more than you want to know about I do prior to and including Waltz:

Several years ago I tried actual extremely simple stage choreography with a young but large Book 2 class on easy “Old Joe Clark” [inspired by a Barrage video ],
and it was a stunning failure. It was like herding chickens! Best to leave that to the older, more advanced students—if they want to do it.

But moving while playing, in a way that supports the music and enhances bow tone and ease of posture, is an important part of my curriculum.
I pick away at it in the early levels, and by the time the kids get advanced it is old news, and they are fairly adept at finding their own flow.

Movement is introduced as early as pre-Twinkle: “lean tall on you heavy violin foot!”; “Hello!” [lean forward on vln foot]; “Good Bye” [relax back]
Song of the Wind: “Lean “Hello!” tall into those circles, so violin hugs the bow and the bow hugs the strings!”
O Come LIttle Children: “Lean into the “love notes”!” [I draw hearts over the down beats]
Long, Long Ago: “Lean into the “love notes” at the top of every crescendo or diminuendo!”
Allegro: “Lean into those circle bows at the end of each line!”
Perpetual Motion: “Magic Puzzle Game”—feet must perpetually walk around the room during the the song, yet magically find their way back to their exact starting position by the end of the song.
Before the Minuets: I sing and dance the little teaching waltz from the old Mary Martin [live action] movie of “Peter Pan”, while holding each of the student’s hands and we step from one side to the other on beat one. I use this song because the tune is simple and the words are idiot proof: “ONE two three One two three….”
This makes it clear that the feet need to move on ONE, and leads to a discussion and demonstration of pulse, and how the DOWN—up—up bowing pattern supports that pulse.
then the students repeat the first measure of Minuet #1, with a strong pulse, while I play the A section…..
I continue to draw hearts and ask for leaning tall on the violin and hugging in with the bow on important down beats for the minuets and Gossec Gavotte.
We often all take a step on the strong beats of these dances, a la “Magic Puzzle Game.”

I also weave the Mark O’Connor books into our core Suzuki repertoire.
MOC Book One and Two closely follow the Suzuki skill sequence, but with American music that is often more relevant to my students and their families, AND the books have wonderful imagination sparkers in the lovely pictures and historical note side bars.
One particlularly lovely piece, called “Peek-a-Boo Waltz” has a beautiful classic art masterpiece illustration of a man and women, obviously in love, dancing. We talk about the fashions of the period when the waltz was invented, the feeling of being in love, the fact that the waltz was considered a bit scandalous at the time because of how close the couples held each other…..
Again, a fun group activity is to take a step on the strong beats of these dances, a la “Magic Puzzle Game.”

At one concert, I got a local college dance major to dance a waltz with one of our student’s father’s while we played.
I have also, in the past, had ballet students dance to Minuet #3 and Gossec Gavotte, and an Irish Step Dancing student dance to “Swallowtail Jig.”
A lot of fun, and great for the kids to see!

There -More than you probably wanted to know!

Best Wishes,

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