violin string names

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said: May 5, 2010
 2 posts

Does anyone have a cute poem/song/story to help your child remember the string names?

Jennifer Visick said: May 5, 2010
Jennifer VisickForum Moderator
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Suzuki in the Schools, Violin
997 posts

For violinists, I use a ditty I got from Susan Kempter:

“Eek! Eek! Eek!” (gently pluck the E string 3 times while saying/singing this)

Sing down the scale, one syllable per note, starting on E and ending on A
“All the little Ants! Ants! Ants!” (gently pluck A string 3 times for the word “Ants!”)

Sing down the scale again, starting on A
“they are going Down! Down! Down!” (pluck D string 3 times for “Down!”)

Sing down the scale to G
“Down into the Ground! Ground! Ground!” (pizz. open G for “Ground!”)

For violists and cellists, omit the starting “Eek!” and at the end, add
“All the way to China! China! China!” (OK, admittedly this only makes a kind of sense if you’re on the opposite side of the world from China).

Offhand I don’t have anything for bass or guitar….

Connie Sunday said: May 6, 2010
Connie SundayViolin, Piano, Viola
667 posts

RaineJen

“Eek! Eek! Eek!” (gently pluck the E string 3 times while saying/singing this)

Just asking (not being critical), do you find that some children—probably a very small number—do not like and actually resent this sort of baby talk? I know as a child, I would have, and as a result I never do this sort of thing.

Free Handouts for Music Teachers & Students:
http://beststudentviolins.com/library.html#handouts

said: May 6, 2010
 2 posts

Thanks for the suggestion! Sometimes even silly little poems can help them remember.

Laura said: May 6, 2010
 
Suzuki Association Member
Piano
358 posts

I don’t think I would have liked that type of game, either, when I was a little kid. So I’m with you there, Connie!

However, many students do like that sort of thing, so I suppose I’ve had to learn to speak various “kid languages” and choose which one is most appropriate to use on a particular student. Wtih some more serious/cerebral types, you can just explain it like it is. With others, it’s a huge sales pitch—I reach deep into my bag of tricks which is constantly evolving by necessity!

I am curious about whether or not that string name song would work with a 3-year old who doesn’t know how to read yet i.e. doesn’t know enough what letters are used to begin “eek”, “ants”, “ground”, etc.

On a related note to piano teachers, how do you deal with the fact that the first note we focus on in piano is C, even though the alphabet starts wtih A? I usually just point out where the A is, and then the B, and then make a big deal about the C, which I call “the best note to start learning the piano alphabet”. But I’m always looking for other ideas.

Connie Sunday said: May 7, 2010
Connie SundayViolin, Piano, Viola
667 posts

Yeah, I just think teachers need to be sensitive to that and not apply the same methods to all children, which I’m sure they do here.

Free Handouts for Music Teachers & Students:
http://beststudentviolins.com/library.html#handouts

Barb said: May 8, 2010
Barb Ennis
Suzuki Association Member
Cello
678 posts

Hey—I even tell adults, “This is how I teach the little ones the string names,” and although we don’t play it and review it, I think just showing them once still helps them remember! :)

It does help to know how to deal with different age groups. I think if I had started teaching before raising my own children it would be much, much harder.

As for the ones who don’t yet know how to read, well, there’s an opportunity to teach them four letters! They may be a little slower to make the connections, but eventually. I have a 5 year old who doesn’t quite remember the Ants=A etc all the time, so we talk about it whenever we do the song, but he still enjoys reviewing it sometimes—it always makes him smile, and usually remembers the string names (having started 8 months ago). I did give him a little introductory phonics lesson about beginning letter sounds. I think cue cards with the letter and picture of the ant etc. would be a good idea to help make the letter-sound-word connections, too. I think the day that phonics clicks with him he’ll say, “Oh, like the Ants song!”

And I learned the words like this (for cello):

Ants, Ants, Ants
Digging in the Dirt, Dirt, Dirt
Going under Ground, Ground, Ground,
Clear the way to China, China, China.

But I say “all the way to China” because it fits our dialect here better, even if it doesn’t start with C. :)

Barb
Music Teachers Helper—for individual teachers
Studio Helper—for entire music studios or schools

Barb said: Sep 15, 2011
Barb Ennis
Suzuki Association Member
Cello
678 posts

Learned a new line for C this summer: Carrying their cellos, cellos, cellos!

Barb
Music Teachers Helper—for individual teachers
Studio Helper—for entire music studios or schools

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