My newest and greatest idea
by: m. moser
So, I have a little violinist who has been playing for 1.5 yrs, and a young cellist who has had five lessons. And they both play piano. How was I going to get this practice in? Well, I haven't had a brilliant idea for the piano, but I did come up with a pretty good one for the strings. They share their practice time. What! I know! But I was about to loose my mind, trying to get them both to practice. Now, what makes it great is that they're enjoying themselves and they're learning a lot too.
So, they both get their instruments out. One has to sit and the other cannot be left out, so out comes a chair for the other to "rest" on. Now, we take turns while doing review. The less advanced selects a piece and will go through the following when taking turns (1st turn pizzicato, Next turn air bow, next turn bow one phrase, etc). Here not only are they reviewing and refining (because afterall , they are performing) but they are also learning concert etiquette, how to be silent, pay attention, clap and praise the performance and performer.
Now since their songs are in different keys they can't really play their songs together right? No! Wrong! They CAN play duets! It turns out this is their most fun part of their practice, when they play their twinkles! The violin will play the rhythm on D, while the cello plays twinkle. They reverse, cello will play rhythm on A while violin plays twinkle. We work through all the rhythms AND all the while they get to work on their ensemble playing (starting together, staying together, listening to the articulation).
And in the end... I've retained my sanity.