Sunday, June 28, 2009

Giant Steps--Baby Steps

Here is a violin game (an adaptation of the classic game "Giant Steps") that can help little fiddlers' fingers feel the difference between half steps and whole steps.

Teacher: Molly, take two giant steps on the A string.

Molly: Mother may I?

Teacher: Yes you may.

(Molly plays two whole steps on the A string: a first finger B, followed by a C sharp and a D sharp)

Teacher: Molly, take two baby steps on the D string.

(Molly plays two half steps on the D string: a first finger E flat, second finger E natural, and a third finger F)

Teacher: You forgot to say "Mother may I."

. . . and we try again. It is far easier to remember what a half step feels like compared to a whole step than to remember to say "Mother may I."

Teacher: Molly, take one giant step and one baby step on the G string.

Molly: Mother may I?

Teacher: Yes, you may.

(and Molly plays a open G, followed by an A natural and a B flat.)

This game would probably work well for a group of children. You could even devise a way for the ultimate reward to be a recognizable tune--made of half steps and whole steps.

(Jump rope is good for rhythm, but the room where I teach is, sadly, far too dangerous for a jump rope. And it works best when you have "turners" and a person who can jump in.)

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