Starting a string program
April 29, 2013 at 11:39 am #23284
Currently we have beginning and intermediate band in our middle school. I recently had a conversation with an administrator who expressed the desire to add a string program…eventually. I would like to be prepared with answers in case “eventually” turns into next year.
I need to know what method books, brands of instruments and supply companies you prefer. We would start in the 6th grade. I would also need resources for sizing instruments. I played strings in elementary school and understand the basics…I’m not completely clueless. But I would need a refresher, so any other resources would be greatly appreciated.May 9, 2013 at 3:25 pm #23761
Hello! I’m so excited to hear that your district may be adding strings. For instruments, I would first find out which vendor your band program uses and consult with them to find out if they can supply stringed instruments as well. My recommendation is to purchase the large instruments first — basses then cellos. Students are more likely to be able to afford to rent violins and violas. Instrument retailers should have several resources for how to choose the correct size for students. Is it possible for you to attend a state, division or national conference in the near future? By visiting the exhibit booths and talking to colleagues, you can start to narrow down all the possibilities for method books, etc. If you would like to contact me directly, I’ll send you my phone number and would be happy to talk by phone about my personal preferences. LauraJReed@gmail.com. I hope this helps! Laura Reed, Gilbert AZMay 13, 2013 at 1:34 pm #23841
Essential Elements 2000 is the series I used when I had beginning strings at my previous school. I used it very successfully with 3 & 4th graders and like the sequencing of the skills in the books. Glad to hear you might be adding strings!October 23, 2013 at 12:24 am #30967
Get in contact with a good local music store, they should be able to help with instruments if you do not have an arsenal already. With strings it is beneficial to make sure you have an adequate technician around the area to resolve some of the problem you will encounter while teaching anyway. Though with method books, Essential Elements 2000 appears to be a staple in most programs. The series offers good sequencing throughout the series and provides a decent amount of repertoire, to keep them entertained.February 17, 2014 at 8:30 pm #34987
What method books are your bands using? Having a strong sense of cohesion with how all the classes are being taught can have a very positive impact. As long as the method books are being used efficiently it isn’t as crucial which book you use, but what have the students already been exposed to. Will the band kids also be able to participate in orchestra and vice-versa? If everyone is using the same method book it creates a very cohesive environment that can be incorporated into all of your classes.
Obviously, just an alternative to consider. Essential Elements 2000 is a wonderful method, though if that’s not what your band is using, it could possibly close off some doors that would’ve otherwise have been open.
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