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Curriculum

First Grade

UNIT 1

Goals

  • Students will follow basic classroom instructions
  • Students will learn respect for and care of the violin
  • Students will learn preliminary violin set up
  • Students will sing and move together
  • Students will imitate simple rhythms
  • Students will sing and identify basic intervals
  • Students will play together and alone
  • Students will relate phonemic beginnings of words to string names and sounds

Objectives

  • To understand proper procedure upon entering the classroom
    1. Twinkle Entry
      Chapter 1: Students enter the room to music that has a steady beat (we like to use Twinkle with variations, but any rhythmic music will work). Students imitate the motions that the lead teacher makes at the front of the room. Motions start simple (clapping, tapping) and move to more complex (cross body). The teacher times the movements to change with the phrase structure of the piece.
    2. Find correct mat with name on it
      Picture: mat with name. Text for website: All students have a carpet square with a colored foam mat with their name on it as well as the size of their violin. There is a standing chart for the classroom that enables the teacher to strategically place students where they are able to learn best (children with attention or hearing problems closer to the teacher, and those who need extra assistance from the helpers near the sides).
  • To sing a scale with solfege syllables while demonstrating proper body motions

Chapter 2:  Sunflower Song: students sing a solfege scale with body motions that move from the “do” at the feet to the “do” on top of the head. Various musical terms are reinforced through this activity – staccato/legato, presto/adagio, forte/piano, crescendo/decrescendo, etc.

  • To sing an octave and a m2 using solfege syllables and body motions

Chapter 3:  Various intervals are sung by the teacher (“Show me on your body, what’s this interval?”) and echoed back by the students twice (“Minor second, minor second.”) The teacher starts with the body motions for each interval, and as the students become more comfortable, takes the motions away and only sings. The order of the intervals is minor 2nd, octave, perfect 5th, major 3rd, perfect 4th, major 6th and major 7th.

  • To know parts of the violin

Chapter 4:  The teacher sings the parts of the violin to the students using a major scale: “This is the scroll. Where is the scroll?” Students answer, “Here is the scroll,” while touching the appropriate place on the violin.

  • To demonstrate proper care of the instrument

Picture of broken violins.

  • To demonstrate correct rest position with the instrument

Picture of rest position.

  • To demonstrate proper body balance with the instrument
    1. Feet together
    2. Take a step
    3. Rock back and forth like a tree in the wind
    4. Echo tapped rhythms over the high dot (Twinkle rhythms) Picture of high dot. Text: The high dot is a piece of tape placed at the octave harmonic between the nut and bridge. The students place their hand there when in rest position and for many of the early exercises to shape the left hand correctly.
    5. Slide over the magic X. Picture of magic X. Text: The magic x is placed on the base of the left hand index finger where the crease in the skin occurs. This mark should be hidden by the side of the fingerboard when the hand is correctly set up. 
    6. Statue of Liberty (be creative in counting!) Text:  The student places the left hand over the high dot in rest position and then lifts the left arm diagonally from the body above the head. Students should not strain and should be able to comfortably look at the back of the instrument. This exercise is for strength and also to practice approaching the body from above with the instrument.
    7. Place violin on collarbone
    8. Check for good positions (no turtle necks or violin beards)

Chapter 5:  Set Up Song. Students sing song while doing procedure for set up. Put in link to music.

Chapter 6:  Longer set up procedure with more detail including echoing rhythmic taps, sliding over the magic x (get a close up of the magic x), Statue of Liberty, and shaving the violin beards (picture).  Probably best to do this as one video, as it flows from one thing to the other fairly fast.

  • To sing the Ants Song
  • To understand the relationship of the names of the strings to the primary words in the Ants Song
  • To play the Ants Song

Chapter 7:  Sing and play the Ants Song. Put in link to music.

UNIT 2

Goals

  • Students will follow basic classroom instructions
  • Students will learn respect for and care of the violin
  • Students will learn preliminary violin set up
  • Students will sing and move together
  • Students will imitate simple rhythms
  • Students will sing and identify basic intervals
  • Students will play together and alone

Objectives

  • To participate in the Twinkle entry (with variants)
  • To sing a scale with solfege syllables while demonstrating proper body motions
  • To sing an octave, m2 and P5 using solfege syllables and body motions
  • To identify an octave, m2 and P5 when played by the teacher
  • To demonstrate the correct set up procedure
    1. Rest position
    2. Feet together
    3. Take a step
    4. Rock back and forth like a tree in the wind
    5. Echo tapped rhythms over the high dot (Twinkle rhythms)
    6. Slide over the magic X
    7. Statue of Liberty (be creative in counting!)
    8. Place violin on collarbone
    9. Check for good positions (no turtle necks or violin beards)
  • To review the Ants Song and perform with good ensemble
  • To sing GDG, DAD, AEA (as individual pieces first, then together)
  • To pluck GDG, DAD and AEA (as individual pieces first, then together)

Chapter 8:  Sing and pluck GDG, DAD and AEA. Put in link to music.

  • To compose a piece patterned after GDG using different strings

UNIT 3

Goals

  • Students will follow basic classroom instructions
  • Students will learn respect for and care of the violin
  • Students will learn preliminary violin set up
  • Students will sing and move together
  • Students will imitate simple rhythms
  • Students will sing and identify basic intervals
  • Students will play together and alone

Objectives

  • To continue reviewing the objectives from Unit 2
  • To add the interval of M3 to the aural identification
  • To learn the parts and proper care of the bow

All bows at this level should have a pinky house (see link for instructions at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HPzJXxSWME8) and a middle tape to delineate the upper and lower halves of the bow.

  • To practice a correctly shaped bow hold with the tip in the air
  • To practice taps with right hand fingers using Twinkle rhythms (Can you tap your pinky? Now tap your first finger.  Middle fingers.)

Chapter 9:  Bow taps. Teacher uses rhythms from music that students are learning to reinforce rhythmic patterns. Use various fingers. This is good for students at all levels.

  • To practice bow games (Windshield wipers, stir the soup, rocket ship, alien, unicorn, pinochio, etc.)

Chapter 10:  Bow stories. Teacher and students can make up stories with actions to help students feel comfortable moving in space while maintaining bow hand.

  • To practice shoulder bowing – tiri tiri ti ti, grasshopper, Mississippi is a river (say and play it)

Chapter 11:  Shoulder bowing. Students place bow on left shoulder and isolate forearm motion using Twinkle rhythms. Students can place their left index finger on the inside of their elbow area to assist.

  • To bow tiri tiri ti ti on open A and E

Chapter 12:  I play, you play:  Teacher plays rhythm (or other rhythm) in upper half of the bow and students immediately imitate. 

UNIT 4

Goals

  • Students will follow basic classroom instructions
  • Students will learn respect for and care of the violin
  • Students will learn preliminary violin set up
  • Students will sing and move together
  • Students will imitate simple rhythms
  • Students will sing and identify basic intervals
  • Students will play together and alone

Objectives

  • To continue reviewing the objectives from Units 2 and 3
  • To add the interval of P4 to the aural identification
  • To bow tiri tiri ti ti on open A and E, imitating the teacher in echo patterns
  • To bow single martele notes on A and E in the upper half of the bow

Chapter 13:  I play, you play – Teacher plays quarter notes with martele bow strokes, four times each note in the upper half of the bow, then students immediately imitate.

  • To practice silent string crossings on A and E at middle and tip.

Chapter 14:  Silent String crossing at the middle and tip. Check for shoulder hinge and relaxed bow hand.

  • To play AEA with the bow using upper half only

Chapter 15:  AEA with the bow. Teacher begins with AEA as “I play, you play,” separating each phrase and repeating as necessary. Then students can put it all together.

UNIT 5

Goals

  • Students will follow basic classroom instructions
  • Students will learn respect for and care of the violin
  • Students will learn preliminary violin set up
  • Students will sing and move together
  • Students will imitate simple rhythms
  • Students will sing and identify basic intervals
  • Students will play together and alone

Objectives

  • To continue reviewing the objectives from Units 2, 3, and 4
  • To add the interval of M6 to the aural identification
  • To pluck GDG, DAD and AEA and play AEA with the bow

Chapter 16:  AEA complete. Performance of the plucking and bowing components together.

UNIT 6

Goals

  • Students will follow basic classroom instructions
  • Students will learn respect for and care of the violin
  • Students will learn preliminary violin set up
  • Students will sing and move together
  • Students will imitate simple rhythms
  • Students will sing and identify basic intervals
  • Students will play together and alone

Objectives

  • To continue reviewing the objectives from Units 2, 3, 4, and 5
  • To add the interval of M7 to the aural identification
  • To sing, pluck and play Fox Trot