Reply To: How to teach orchestra?

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If you can continue your violin lessons that will help a lot! There are a lot of things that you don’t think may be challenging for string players until you’ve tried them yourself, plus the kids generally respect it to see that you are putting effort into what they are doing. Orchestra kids want to know that you want to teach orchestra. Also, familiarize yourself with all of the instruments you’re teaching. If you use a method book, get one out for each instrument and go through it with the instrument, take notes, familiarize yourself with the fingerings. Keep a book or a fingering chart on hand for quick references during class. Find someone in your district or surrounding area that is an experienced string teacher that can help with all of the quick repairs and fixes that comes through experience. BTW, finger tape… 1/8″ auto pin striping tape in the auto parts store… lots of pretty colors!

For choosing music, just try not to over program. If you’re unsure where they are at the beginning of the year do a lot of sight reading. It will give you a chance to play around with different skill levels of music and see what they know, plus gives them good sight reading practice. If I can recommend one thing, try to make their first concert as successful as possible, even if that means playing a grade easier music than you think they should be playing. You have the whole year to bump up the difficulty, but for that first concert whatever they play should be perfect… Choose a difficulty where they can achieve that.

Hope that helps!