Favorite Lessons, Favorite Classes

Jennifer Visick said: Apr 5, 2007
Jennifer VisickForum Moderator
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Suzuki in the Schools, Violin
997 posts

Hi everyone. I thought I’d start a topic about favorite lessons. Teachers, post your favorite lessons that you’ve taught or observed another teacher teaching (topics, main teaching points, or techniques) Students and parents, could you describe an individual lesson or group class that you particularly enjoyed learning or watching? For reference, include the approximate age and/or book level of the students.

I’ll start.

One of my favorite group classes dealt with musical character or mood. It was a book 2/3 or class, and we used a lot of Book 1 pieces and brainstormed different words that might describe their character—(OTHER than “sad” or “happy”). We played pieces (or a sections of them) that could be labelled with the words we’d brainstormed. My favorite part came when we chose a piece to transform to it’s polar opposite— May Song. I challenged the students to identify specific techniques to make it into something sorrowful. After each technique was discovered, we tried it …. first slowing it down, making sure articulation was all legato, then changing keys to a lower register, then changing modes to minor, then playing everything very softly…. I finally had the students sit down and listen to two more changes that they weren’t able to do themselves (yet): adding appropriately wide & slow vibrato, and changing from violin to viola (for an even lower register and different tone quality).

Everyone agreed it now sounded incredibly sorrowful but, of course, everyone was also rolling on the floor laughing. Which allowed me to end by adding one more word to the list of possibl moods we had come up with at the beginning: Funny. I pointed out that, in order to be “get” the joke, you had to know what it was originally supposed to sound like—Now if I can only come up with a similarly insightful group class on figuring out how something is supposed to sound!

What made it particularly enjoyable was the fact that nearly all the students were engaged and interested—they truly seemed to be learning something new—and we all ended up with smiles on our faces. I know that factors change, and every student and every class is different, but I wonder how I can reproduce the enjoyment I had teaching this class with a different lesson plan?

I hope this thread might shed light on possible answers.

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