Teaching Violin with G'DAE™

G’DAE!™  lesson materials are designed with pre-readers in mind! These younger children will probably find it difficult to begin learning the violin using lesson materials written and designed for elementary school students.  Usually the very first lessons in these instruction books introduce the entire treble clef staff and a note or two by letter-name and position on the staff. It is presupposed that the student will immediately grasp how to translate and decode visual symbols and notations into clear directions without much adult involvement.

Preschoolers and kindergarteners are just beginning to understand reading left-to-right and the concept of communication via visual symbols.  However, a 4 to 7 year old generally knows his/her primary colors, numbers at least up to 5, and can probably recite the alphabet. Colors, numbers and letters are where G’DAE!™  lessons begin, and building the treble clef staff is where they lead.

G’DAE!™ lessons and games are designed to be used and adapted by knowledgeable violin teachers as an aid to introducing the violin to young students. These materials are not designed for self-teaching or parent-teaching; rather, they provide a means for young violinists to get started via a fun, visually stimulating and effective means of learning. Lesson materials encourage guided facilitation by a parent during practice sessions. During lesson times, the teacher will still need to go “off the page” to show the physical handling of the violin and bow, proper posture, intonation etc. Younger students may need several weeks to cover one "lesson"; others may progress more quickly. Frequent review is recommended so your student can continue to build his/her understanding and application of the basic concepts presented through the lessons, games and flashcards. Teachers may wish to supplement these materials with illustrations, exercises and songs they have developed. With the color-coding materials provided, you can also adapt other beginner lesson materials to this method after the basic concepts have been grasped.

Lessons in the Primary Book include:

2  Plucking quarter-notes with quarter-rests on each open string; reinforcing string-color identification.

3  Making different rhythm patterns with quarters and two-eighths ("Make A Rhythm" Game); the 4-beat measure; plucking rhythm patterns and beginning bowing.

4  Open-string, 2nd-finger note combinations; directed repetition and counting skills.

5  Open, First and Second-finger songs; half notes; introducing simplified staff lines and bar lines, and following finger-numbered notes. 

6  More 0-1-2 songs on one string; tracking left-to-right notation; sing-clap-and-play

7  Function of the music staff lines and spaces ("Bird on a Wire" Game); simplified staff for each string by color. Adding 3rd finger; 3-beat measures; dotted half note.

8  Bow control and whole notes; ascending and descending fingers on strings.

9  0-1-2-3 fingers and one string crossing. Rhythmic bowing; extended song ("Twinkle, Twinkle").

10 The Music Alphabet; complete (color-coded) treble-clef staff and note-name identification; finding notes on the string by staff-position, not finger-numbers (Music Note House Game/worksheet).

11 Introducing dynamics, more music-reading without finger-numbers. Note Concentration flashcard game. Dotted-quarter with eighth-note combination rhythm.

12  Playing scales beginning on each open string. Reading notation of scales on colored staff, from lowest to highest first-position notes. Wrap-up review game (Joey's Boomer Bingo). Method Book Transition: Ideas for bridging G’DAE!™ concepts over to black-and-white elementary lesson materials are included in the introductory Parent/Teacher Guide in each Primary Book.

What Next? Suggested Resources for G'DAE Graduates

Your G'DAE Graduate should be ready to move on to "real" (a.k.a. black-and-white) music notation in many of the standard method books that are available for beginning violinists. But, many of these are written for older elementary and junior-high age students. Here are some of our favorites for younger students that keep the fun in learning the violin! Available through Sheet Music Plus.

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All For Strings - Book 1 (Violin) - sheet music at www.sheetmusicplus.com
All For Strings - Book 1 (Violin) (Comprehensive String Method) Written by Gerald E. Anderson, Robert S. Frost. Instructional book for violin. Elementary. 48 pages. Published by Neil A. Kjos Music Company. (KJ.78VN)
G'DAE NOTE: A gradually-paced beginner's method book. Teaches standard-notation music reading with familiar songs one concept at a time. Has an available theory workbook (see below).
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Look inside this title
All For Strings - Theory Workbook 1 (Violin) - sheet music at www.sheetmusicplus.com
All For Strings - Theory Workbook 1 (Violin) Written by Gerald E. Anderson, Robert S. Frost. Instructional book for violin. Elementary. 32 pages. Published by Neil A. Kjos Music Company. (KJ.84VN)
G'DAE NOTE: Workbook accompaniment to All For Strings. Paper-and-pencil exercises that reinforce music theory concepts introduced in the AFS method book.
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